France’s long tradition of excellence and innovation in art, design and architecture makes it an ideal place to start or advance a career in these exciting fields.

Schools of art and design

France has more than 120 schools of fine and applied arts, known as écoles supérieures. These are outstanding public institutions that confer nationally regulated diplomas after three or five years of study. Students can specialize in fine art, design, or visual communication. Private schools of art and those affiliated with chambers of commerce and industry (known as écoles consulaires) confer certificates or professional titles.


Campus France has created CampusArt, an online system that allows prospective students to apply simultaneously to 120 carefully selected French schools of art and applied arts. The CampusArt network offers a choice of some 200 art programs at the Licence and Master's levels.


Schools of architecture

French degree programs in architecture follow the European system of degrees based on the Bachelor’s (Licence), Master’s, and doctoral degrees.

  • The first cycle of postsecondary study lasts three years and results in the diplôme d’études en architecture, equivalent to a Licence or Bachelor’s degree.
  • The second cycle lasts two years and leads to the diplôme d’état d’architecte, equivalent to a Master’s degree.
  • The HMONP (habilitation à la maîtrise d’oeuvre en nom propre) is the professional credential that entitles an architect to apply for a building permit. It requires a sixth year of study and an internship.
  • The third cycle includes a variety of specialized Master’s degrees, as well as doctoral programs in university-affiliated research laboratories.

All 20 national schools of architecture regulated by the French Ministry of Culture confer the above degrees and diplomas. Two other types of schools, which are not regulated by the French Ministry of Culture, deliver degrees that are considered equivalent:



Singaporean Film maker, Jow Zhi Wei, attended Le Fresnoy. He kindly accepted to describe his experience in France: 

Why have you been to France to study ?

Culturally, France is a place with a strong history of the cinema and a deep appreciation for the many different forms of the arts. Of course, when we speak about cinema, we cannot miss out the films of many great French filmmakers, Robert Bresson, Maurice Pialat, for example, filmmakers who hold great importance for me. 

What about your school and the quality of the program?

They endorse an open, practical approach. We come with projects that we hope to make, be it in the form of installations, films, photographs,  etc. 

Have you been able to valorize your experience in France?

Working together with passionate, like-minded people who appreciate the same kind of cinema that I feel deeply for was something that I cherished. It was a very fulfilling experience and we hope to find opportunities to collaborate again in the future. 

What were the main positive points with this experience?

Personally, it was the possibility to make my film (After The Winter/ Au-delà de l'hiver). As filmmakers, we are always looking for our next project and to accomplish it at Le Fresnoy, and then having it selected for the 66th Cannes Film Festival - Cinéfondation selection in 2013 was very rewarding. To be able to present my new short film at the Cannes Film Festival was a very special and marvellous moment. 

Do you have an advice for students who want to study in France?

If you intend to study cinema in France, go explore. There is as much to learn outside the classrooms. For anyone interested in art or cinema, there are amazing places where you can make many discoveries, like the Cinémathèque Française which is just one example. 


Thanks to La Femis who kindly accepted us to use her images. 

Copyright Jean-Jacques Bouhon

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