There are around 700 English-taught master’s courses in France, which are provided by 83 public universities, 250 grandes ecoles (elite schools) and numerous private universities and art schools. Some universities and specialised institutions are organised into research clusters called PRES. These clusters pool their resources and research to compete internationally.

The typical master’s degree at a French university combines two individual diplomas and takes two years of full-time study to complete. The first year of the Master is commonly known as "Master 1" (M1), whereas the second year is called a "Master 2" (M2) and more specialised. In particular, in their M2, students who want to begin their careers directly after graduation often elect a Master Professionnel (professional master), and students who intend to go on to earn a doctorate normally choose a Master Recherche(research master).

Within the grandes ecoles system, a Master’s degree generally takes five years to complete. Typically, students spend two years at “preparatoires aux grandes ecoles” (preparatory schools) then complete a competitive entrance exam to get into grandes ecoles, where they complete three more years of increasingly specialised study. Graduates from these schools are awarded Master of Science (MSc) and Master of Business Administration (MBA). Many grandes ecoles now offer alternative admission procedures that allow international students to apply at different stages of their academic careers without attending preparatory schools. However, they are still extremely selective and hence not a popular option for international students.

Each year more than 278,000 international students choose France for their higher education.

The quality of the French HE system is widely recognized internationally. The Financial Times ranked 6 French schools among the world’s top 20 Master’s programmes in Management (2014): HEC Paris (2), Essec Business School (3), ESCPC Europe (7), Grenoble Graduate School of Business (15), Edhec Business School (16), EMLyon Business School (20). Moreover, according to WHO, France has the best healthcare system, and international students can access this at an affordable cost.

Studying an English-taught Master’s in France is also a good opportunity to learn or improve your French.

Accreditation & Recognition

The Ministry of National Education gives Master’s degree accreditation to all public universities, while the accreditation authority for private schools are Commission d'evaluation des formations et diplomes de gestion (for business schools) and Commission des Titres d'Ingenieur (for engineering schools).

The Conference des Grandes ecoles issues accreditations for grandes ecoles.

No predetermined set of equivalences between French and foreign degrees is officially recognized in France.

However, French institutions of higher education now employ the European Credit Transfer System, which enables students to easily progress to other institutions within the EU and around the world.

Universities in France