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Why Study in France | France Universities | PG Courses


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The Country


France is the largest state in the European Union by area and the third largest in Europe behind Russia and Ukraine. It would be second if its extra-European territories like French Guiana were included. France has been a major power for many centuries with strong economic, cultural, military and political influence. During the 17th and 18th centuries, France colonised great parts of North America; during the 19th and early 20th centuries, France built the second largest empire of the time, including large portions of North, West and Central Africa, Southeast Asia, and many Pacific islands.

France is a developed country and possesses the fifth largest economy by nominal GDP and eighth largest economy by purchasing power parity. It is the most visited country in the world, receiving 82 million foreign tourists annually.France is one of the founding members of the European Union, and has the largest land area of all members. It is also a founding member of the United Nations, and a member of the Francophonie, the G8, G20, NATO, OECD, WTO and the Latin Union. It is one of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, possesses the third largest number of nuclear weapons in the world and the largest number of nuclear power plants in the European Union.

Geography & Climate

France is primarily located in the southern part of the temperate zone. The country is affected by oceanic influences. The North Atlantic Drift on the west and the Mediterranean Sea in the south moderate these oceanic influences. There are four climatic types in France.

In the west, a true temperate maritime climate can de found. At Brest, winters are mild. Brest experiences cool summers and frequent rainfall. Interior of France sees a mid-latitude continental climate that includes hotter summers and rigorous winters. Rainfall is not very frequent. For example, Paris sees a July temperature of 18 degrees Celcius and January temperatures of 2 degrees Celcius.

On high elevations, you'll experience a mountain climate. Altitude influences the climate, where the winters are bitterly cold and prolongued. The precipitation is more on higher altitudes. In winter, the precipitation is in the form of snow. Most of the villages on high valleys receive more than 50 days of snow every year.

Currency

The currency of France is Euro. Euro, the official currency of the European Union is the single currency for more than 300 people in Europe. The currency sign of Euro is the symbol ?. The banking code is EUR. Euro was introduced in the world financial markets as a non-cash monetary unit in 1999. The currency and coins appeared in participating countries in 2002.

Education

Education in France is divided between mostly-private grandes écoles and public universities. Grandes écoles are considered more prestigious than universities (tellingly, the term literally means "great schools", "elite schools"), and they are generally much more selective than other higher education institutions. Universities considered as Grand_Établissement are also very well recognized. They belong to the public system, and carry out a large part of French academic research.

A striking trait of French higher education, compared with other countries, is the small size and multiplicity of establishments, each specialized in a more or less broad spectrum of areas. A middle-sized French city, such as Grenoble or Nancy, may have 2 or 3 universities (focused on science or sociological studies), and also a number of engineering and other specialized higher education establishments. In Paris and its suburbs there are 13 universities, none of which is specialized in one area or another, and a large number of smaller institutions which are highly specialised.

It is not uncommon for graduate teaching programmes (master's degrees, the course part of PhD programmes etc.) to be operated in common by several institutions, allowing the institutions to present a larger variety of courses.

In engineering schools, a large share of the teaching staff is often made up of non-permanent professors; instead, part-time professors are hired to teach one specific point only. These part-time professors are generally hired from neighbouring universities, research institutes, or industries.

Another original feature of the French higher education system is that a large share of the scientific research is not done by universities, but by research establishments such as CNRS or INSERM. In many cases, the research units of those establishments are installed inside universities (or other higher education establishments), and jointly operated by the research establishment and the university.

Since higher education is funded by the state, the fees are very low; the tuition varies from 150€ to 700€ depending on the university and the different levels of education. (licence, master, doctorate). One can therefore get a Master's degree (in 5 years) for about 750-3,500€. Additionally, students from low-income families can apply for scholarships, paying nominal sums for tuition or textbooks, and can receive a monthly stipend of up to 450€/month.

The tuition in public engineering schools is comparable to universities, albeit a little higher (around 700€). However it can reach 7000€ a year for private engineering schools, and some business schools, which are all private or partially private, charge up to 8900€ a year.

Health insurance for students is free until the age of 21, so only the living costs and books expenses have to be added.
Although this is the case in many schools, some public schools have other ways of gaining money. Some do not receive sufficient funds from the government to hold many trips, and so these schools may ask for a small (optional) entrance fee for new students.