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Studying in France

What You Should Know About Studying in France

To help you make an informed decision when considering to apply for the Master of Nanoscale Engineering, we have compiled a summary of the most important issues related to studying in France and links to resources with further information.

Sources of Information

We can only give you a brief overview of the most important facts and issues related to studying in France. A number of useful resources are available on the web to provide detailed information on all the topics that we cover on this page:


CampusFrance is the national agency that promotes French higher education abroad; it can help you with looking for financial assistance and preparing your stay in France. The CampusFrance website provides a lot of useful information about living and studying in France (in 27 different languages); see also this map of CampusFrance offices around the world.

Université de Lyon and LyonCampus

The website of the University of Lyon (French or English) and the dedicated LyonCampus site deal with both specifics related to Lyon and general issues. Most of the information on these two site is in French; LyonCampus has an English section for international students.

Obtaining a Residence Permit

If you are a citizen of one of the countries belonging to the European Economic Area or of Switzerland then you do not need a residence permit to study in France; having a valid passport or identity card of your country of origin is sufficient.
Foreigners from other countries have to apply for a residence permit once they are enrolled in a French establishment of higher education. The residence permit is issued by the Préfecture (the local administration of the department of residence). Our institutions have entered into an administrative partnership with the Préfecture, which means that a large part of the formalities to obtain the residence permit can be handled during your enrollment as a student. The receipt of your complete application form will serve as a provisional residence permit (valid for three months) until you receive the final one. The residence permit will have to be renewed when you are accepted for your second master year. The administrative cost for the permit is about 80€.
Note that if you need a visa to enter France then you have to use a student visa, not a tourist one, in order to be eligible for a residence permit. If you obtain an extended-stay student visa with residence permit (VLS-TS) then you will only have to follow a simplified validation procedure once you are enrolled as a student.
More information on this topic can be found in the corresponding sections of the CampusFrance and the LyonCampus websites.

Health Insurance and Social Security

As a student (under 28 years of age) in France you will be enrolled in the French public health care system; this is mandatory with your inscription at an academic institution. This medical insurance will cover the major part of all costs of medical treatment,  pharmaceutical drugs and hospitalization. You have the option to sign up for supplementary insurance (about 10-30€ per month) to obtain additional coverage for up to 100% of all medical costs.
Please refer to the booklet on student health insurance in France (PDF, 2.9 MB) compiled by La Mutuelle des Étudiants (a non-profit health insurance agency for students) for further information on this issue.

Financing Your Studies

If you come to Lyon as a student, you have to be prepared for minimum monthly costs of living of about 600€. You also should allow for additional one-time expenses in the first month (paying housing agency fees, signing up for utilities, opening a bank account, etc).
Accommodation in a students' residence will be around 250-350€ per month, renting on the general housing market in Lyon will be more expensive. We try to provide all our students with accommodation in the dormitories of the participating institutions, but we cannot guarantee this.
All holders of a student's residence permit are allowed to work for up to 964 hours per year; the minimum wage in France is 9.22€ per hour (before taxes). Please note, however, that it can be very difficult to find a job that is compatible with pursuing your studies, especially if you do not speak French very well. We therefore strongly recommend that you secure the major part of your expected costs before you arrive in France, for example by obtaining a government grant. Please see our page on scholarships for further information.