Here are some fast facts about the French higher education system:

Higher education institutions in France

There are three main categories of higher education institutions in France: the public universities, the grandes écoles (which include France’s prestigious schools of business and engineering) and schools of art and architecture.

  • Public Universities

Of the 2.2 million students in the French higher education system, 80 percent attend the country’s public universities, which are funded by the national government and well distributed across the nation. These universities include some of France’s oldest and most prestigious institutions, and offer academic, technical and professional degree programs in all disciplines and at all levels.

France's renowned grandes écoles are very selective, specialized schools, which are much smaller than the large public universities. They train students for careers in engineering, management, higher education and research, and public administration, among other fields. The two largest groups of grandes écoles are schools of engineering and schools of management, but there are also the écoles normales supérieures (ENS), the institutes of political studies (IEP), veterinary schools, and other schools in a variety of fields.

  • Schools of Art, Design and Architecture

France has been home to many of the world’s greatest international artists, designers, and architects, and its 60 public art schools and 20 schools of architecture offer many exciting opportunities to take courses or earn a degree in art or architecture in France.

  • Specialized Schools

France has more than 3,000 public and private specialized schools that offer training and degrees in fields such as nursing, journalism, social work, fashion, design, tourism, culinary arts, hotel management and more.


The global CampusFrance site holds a catalogue of detailed PDF documents describing each kind of higher education institution

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