5 best public universities in France with English-language programmes

english universities in france
From historical landmarks to world-class universities with English-language programmes, France has plenty to offer for international students around the globe. Source: Ludovic Marin/AFP

There are no English universities in France, but there are many great French universities that offer programmes taught in English.

This is a key factor that’s made France a popular international student hub in recent years.

For the 2021-22 academic year, Campus France reported there were more than 400,000 international students within the country — marking the highest growth in over 15 years. 

It’s no surprise, considering that there are plenty of reasons why international students clamour to study and live in the City of Love.

Top of the list is prestige. Four institutions in the country are listed among the top 100 in the QS World University Rankings 2023

“When you look at the ranking in the Financial Times, France has the top 10 business schools,” says Zaid Zafar Farooqui, who is studying at EDHEC Business School in France.

“It was a no-brainer for me because I wanted to study in the best schools and take the best opportunity for myself.”

Lucrative scholarships to study in the city for free or at a low cost makes France one of the more affordable study abroad destinations too.

The best part? You get quality and affordability in addition to a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to live in one of the greatest cities in human civilisations.

Forget Italy. The home of the Palace of Versailles, the Eiffel Tower and seemingly countless other examples of cool and beauty, France is where the true “la dolce vita” (Italian for the sweet life) is.

At this point, you likely can’t wait to go but wait, don’t we need to be able to speak, read and write French to study in France?

Here we have good news for you. Some of the best public unis in the country offer English-language programmes. Below are our top picks:

english universities in France

If you want to study at English universities in France, stick to cities such as Paris or Lyon, where English-speaking people abound. Source: Joel Saget/AFP

English universities in France: 5 best public universities in France with English-language programmes

1. Université PSL

Université PSL (PSL) offers research-led education that encourages discussion and interdisciplinary learning.

Students are guaranteed individual mentoring, small class sizes and personalised academic pathways.

What PSL one of the best English universities in France is the fact that one out of five students here is from abroad.

Hence why you’ll have plenty of company and support in the following English-taught programmes:

2. École Polytechnique

École Polytechnique (EP) is a higher learning institution under the supervision of the French Ministry of Defence. 

It is also part of the Institut Polytechnique de Paris, a public institution of higher education and research.

Where better to learn than in a school with ties to the national military? Some of the English programmes you can find here include:

3. Université Paris Cité

Established in 2018 from the merger of the universities of Paris Diderot, Paris Descartes and Institut de physique du globe de Paris, Université Paris Cité is France’s leading multidisciplinary university

It offers students state-of-the-art, innovative courses in the fields such as Arts, Humanities and Languages; Human, Economic and Social Sciences; Science and Technology; and Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmacy and Nursing.

With campuses and research sites across the city, this uni has an exceptional heritage within Paris and its inner suburbs.

The English-taught programmes available at Université Paris Cité include: 

english universities in France

If you’ve been Googling “English universities in France,” Sorbonne University is one of the unis you can consider. Source: Joel Saget/AFP

4. Sorbonne University

In the heart of Paris, you’ll find Sorbonne University — a multidisciplinary, research-intensive, world-class institution. 

Like other public unis, they do offer English-language programmes and are more than ready to provide international students with a warm welcome. 

For 12 years, Parismus — the international student association of Sorbonne University — has helped this group of learners to sort out their moves and integrate them into Parisian life. 

There’s also the Buddy System, an online platform that matches international students with local students or “buddies.”

Do note that the uni does offer undergraduate programmes in English. Some of the postgraduate programmes that are delivered in English include:

  • Paris Physics Master 
  • Master in Computational Mechanics
  • Master of Computer Science – Quantum Information 

5. Sciences Po

Sciences Po, a public university in France, is ranked among the finest institutions in humanities and social sciences in the world. Research conducted here often enriches public debate. 

It also boasts a diverse student body — 50% of students are international, representing nearly 150 countries.

If you’re interested in the field of social science or humanities, here are some English language programmes that you can consider: