The basics
France: Applying to University - Must read

Applying to a French University

Have you been dreaming of studying abroad in France? Here’s what you need to know about applying to a French university...


What will you need to apply?

  • A passport that will be valid for the entirety of your stay in France
  • Transcripts from previous institutions, certifying your level of education
  • A passing grade in a French language exam, if your programme requires it


How to Apply

EU Citizens

If you have completed a French baccalaureate and are applying to the first year of a programme, you will use the online admission post-baccalaureat (APB) system that is used by French students.


For other students, either with a different high school qualification or applying to a more advanced programme, you will apply directly to the university you have chosen. Many universities request you apply through their specific system, including grandes ecoles and grands etablissements, which almost always require students to complete their applications.


EU citizens will not need a visa, but will most likely have to prove sufficiency in the French language if your programme does not teach classes in English. This is done through an exam, so check with your university to see if it is required in your application.


Non-EU Citizens

If you are a citizen of one of the 35 countries included in CampusFrance’s CEF programme, you are required to file a request for preliminary admission (DAP) with the French embassy in their country. The DAP is included within the mandatory online application for those living within the 35 CEF countries.


For those that do not live in one of these countries, you will have to file a DAP directly with the French embassy or consulate in your country. For all non-EU citizens, the DAP application window begins in January and must be completed before the posted deadline.


Before you apply, make contact with the international office at your university to make sure you complete all of their requirements. Applications can differ between universities, so always check with you desired programme.


Non-EU citizens will also need a visa to study in France. Read more about how to get a visa here!


When should you apply?

Applications for public universities are usually available mid-April, after French students are finished with their exams. Because applications open in the spring, be sure to apply as early as possible so you can finish your paperwork over the summer and be able to attend classes when they begin in September.  


Helpful tips

  • Apply Early. French applications have strict deadlines, so don’t put anything off until the last minute! Make sure you complete requirements as soon as you can.
  • Apply to more than one university if you think you may not get into one. While French universities usually require you to pay an application fee, it may be worth it to apply to more than one programme if you are worried about being accepted.
  • Ask questions. The international office at any university is there to help you! Contact them if you have any questions or are unsure about something in your application.

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About Author

Ella Frazer is a student at the University of Puget Sound studying English Literature and Religion. She is currently studying abroad in London and is busy enjoying the collection of museums, constantly losing her way, and being of legal drinking age. When she is not writing for Hotcourses Abroad, you can usually find her searching for manuscripts at the British Library.