France is a country located in Western and South-Western Europe, also having several overseas territories.
It ranks third in Europe in terms of area, following Russia and Ukraine, its population exceeding 67 mil.
Its capital and most populous city is Paris (over 2,2 mil. residents).


France boasts EU founding member status. Its economy ranks 5th globally and 2nd in Europe in terms of GDP. It is awarded many distinctions, such as: the richest European nation, per average household; it takes up leading global positions in terms of quality of living and education; French healthcare is considered the best in the world; it is also the most visited destination worldwide, being visited annually by some 82 million people.


There are over 3 500 tertiary education institutions in France and over 2 million students. The main tertiary educational establishments are universities, Grand etablissements publics (the main public institution), Grand Ecoles (the most elite schools), and private universities.
France is also referred to as Cinderella of education due to the fact that it is one of the most developed country, which nevertheless invests too little in education.
Grandes Ecoles, however, are generously sponsored educational establishments, where classes are small and the instructing staff is among the most esteemed in the country. Les Grandes Ecoles have very strict student admission policies to provide them with education of the highest international grade. The best known among the Grandes Ecoles is the École Polytechnique, or the so-called „X“, which was established in 1794 as a technical university.


Bachelor’s programs: 3-4 yrs.
Master’s programs: 1-2 yrs.
The teaching methods in France combine theory (classes) and practice, as well as work under individual or group projects. The government is increasingly motivating the universities to seek contacts with local and international companies and organizations, in order to provide internships for their students. The policy of most state universities in France is based on large classes and is not individualized.


For yet another year France ranked last in the European rankings of “student satisfaction“. To put it in other words – students choosing to study in France are the least satisfied with the education they receive there compared to the students studying in other European countries. Nevertheless, France is one of the most popular destinations for international would-be students, after USA, UK, and Germany. In 2015 over 310 000 students enrolled to study in France.
Most students hail from former French colonies, such as Morocco and Algeria, followed by China (28 000). Among European countries, France is a prime choice for would-be students from Italy, Germany, and Spain. A large number of students also hail from USA and Australia – over 30 000. Students from the UK, however, are no more than 4 000.
The biggest campuses drawing the main flow of international students are in Paris, Versailles, and Lyon (the three having over 100 000 international students in total).
It is important to also note other big campuses, such as Creteil, Lille, and Toulouse. On the other hand, Nice, in Southern France, has registered the biggest growth in recent years, the number of international students having grown by nearly 30% since 2012.
In turn, Grenoble was awarded the prize of best student city in France in 2015.
Other better known campuses are in Rennes, Nantes, Bordeaux, Strasbourg, and Montpellier.


The specialties most desired by would-be students in France are philologies, arts, and humanities, followed by sports specialties, law, and medicine. Unlike other European countries, where most international students study for master’s and doctoral degrees, nearly half of the international students come to France to acquire their Bachelor’s degree, with just 11% studying in doctoral programs there.


The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development ranks France 19th out of 26 countries in terms of quality of higher education. Nevertheless, there are tertiary educational establishments in the country, which take leading positions in global rankings, such as the QS University Ranking for Europe 2018. ENS (43) and the Ecole Polytechnique(59) out of the Grandes Ecoles make the top 100 of the QS World University Ranking 2018. INSEAD, on the other hand, is known as 3 of the global ranking for business and management, while HEC Paris School of Management ranks 12th in the latter ranking.
Here is a list of some of the most esteemed universities in France:

  • Ecole Polytechnique
  • Ecole Normale d’Administration, the ENA
  • Ecole des Mines, Ecole Normale Supérieure (топ училище по изкуства)
  • HEC
  • Sciences Po, the Institut des Etudes Politiques de Paris
  • Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne
  • Université Paris Dauphine