France's 75 public universities offer academic, technical, and professional degree programs in all disciplines, preparing students for careers in research and professional practice in every imaginable field. They are well distributed throughout the nation, from the Sorbonne in Paris (founded in 1257) to the high-tech campus of Nice-Sophia-Antipolis. The French national and local governments strongly subsidize these institutions to keep them affordable.

Of the 2.4 million students in the French higher education system, 80 percent attend the country’s public universities. France's universities are public institutions, funded by the government. This system allows the universities to offer students an excellent education at a very affordable price. The same tuition fees apply to both domestic and international students, which range from €184 for Licence programs to €391 for doctoral programs (2015-2016 academic year).

The universities offer programs in all disciplines, and award degrees at every level, from the Licence (three years), to the Master’s (five years), to the Doctorate (eight years).

In addition to traditional academic degrees, the public university system also offers degrees in engineering, business, journalism and communication. Programs in medicine, pharmacy and dentistry are also provided exclusively by the public universities.

The Campus France global site holds short profile descriptions of every public university in France.

France’s research powerhouses

Most publicly funded research in France is carried out at the universities, which accounts in part for the high quality of teaching there. There are roughly 300 doctoral departments and a combined teaching and research faculty, who work in close cooperation with more than 1,200 research laboratories and centers. France has also built up a particularly strong network for international research collaboration.