Higher Education in France

How to continue your studies after school

Higher Education in France

France has many private colleges and other university-level institutions, some affiliated to foreign universities. These include business and commercial colleges, hotel and restaurant schools, language schools and finishing schools.


Like in other European countries, higher education in France is divided into three levels: bachelor's, master's and doctorate degrees. Many students preparing for an ambitious career pursue a master's degree directly after having completed their bachelor's.

Business students striving for management positions often go for an MBA (Master of Business Administration). Most MBAs demand high academic performance and previous working experience. Nowadays many programs are taught in English and have an international orientation. For example, the International MBA  at emlyon business school is fully in English and prepares students from all over the world.

Distance learning

Many further education courses are of the ‘open learning’ variety, where students study mostly at home. These include literally hundreds of academic, professional and vocational correspondence courses offered by private colleges. There are several universities that offer correspondence courses to students who want to study for a degree but are unable to attend a university due to their circumstances, e.g. health, distance, job or family commitments. These courses are particularly targeted at mature students. Over 30,000 students take part in correspondence courses taught through universities with distance learning centres, and through the Centre National d’Enseignement à Distance, which prepares students for competitive exams and provides specific training.

Evening courses

Another type of course offered by universities and schools allows those in employment to enrol in evening courses and take advantage of specially planned timetables. The Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers (CNAM) and its regional centres admit students without any formal qualifications to a wide range of courses, many leading to a degree.

General information about local further education and training is available from town halls and libraries, and the French Ministry of Education provides a free information service through departmental Centre d’Information et d’Orientation (CIO) offices.

Further reading

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