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Important information

Target audience

AudienceAsylum seekers, Statutory refugees, Beneficiaries of subsidiary protection, Beneficiaries of temporary protection, Stateless people, French citizens
Level of FrenchB2, C1, C2


Have a end of high school level

Where is it?

Applying to university

Updated on il y a 9 mois

What is it?

Registration at the university allows you to start or continue studies in France.

There are around 80 public universities on French territory, in all fields (sciences, letters, languages, arts, humanities, health, sport, etc.).

All public universities are part of " higher education ". They are financed by the French State and issue national diplomas (Bachelor, Master, Doctorate).

The main conditions for enrolling at the university are:

  • have the baccalaureate level or an equivalence (secondary school leaving certificate);
  • have a sufficient level of French: it is important to check that you meet the criteria (see step 1).

The registration periods and the procedures for sending an application are different depending on the universities and courses: it is essential to inquire before starting (step 2).

There are 3 types of higher education institutions in France:
- public universities (discussed here)
- private universities
- large public or private schools.

How to do it?

⇒ You must have passed an equivalent of the baccalaureate or have completed high school (12 years of school) in your country of origin.

If you have a foreign diploma, you can request a certificate of comparability of your diploma from the ENIC-NARIC center (national information center on the academic recognition of foreign diplomas in France). You need to show the official documents (diploma, transcripts, training certificate, etc.).

> To read: the Réfugié sheet "Have a foreign diploma recognized in France"

This certificate is official, but has no legal value and is not mandatory. Each university is free to request, accept or refuse this certificate to register.

If you do not have proof of your diplomas or your marks, because you could not take them before leaving your country or because they were lost, you can apply for a European Qualifications Passport for Refugees (EQPR).

> To read: the sheet "Apply for a European Qualifications Passport for Refugees (EQPR)"

You can also request a specific procedure directly from the universities (interview, test or other).

If you have not completed high school, you can register for the diploma of access to university studies (DAEU).

> To read: the sheet "Having the Diploma of Access to University Studies (DAEU)"

⇒ You must have a minimum level of French B2.

You must have at least the B2 level in French to register at the university. Some courses, such as law, social sciences and in general all Masters, require level C1 in French.

There are several methods to certify the level of French:

Official tests : French evaluation test (TEF), French knowledge test (TCF), valid for two years.

Diplomas : Diploma in French language studies (DELF), Advanced diploma in French language (DALF), valid throughout your life.

There is no easier or more complicated certification to pass, each one has its particularities.

> To read: the Réfugié sheet “Having an official certification of the level of French”

If you do not have the possibility of taking a language test, you can contact the university and ask that they assess your level of French (assessment interview, written test, etc.).

If you do not yet have level B2 or C1, you can apply for a course called "DU Passerelle": it allows refugees, beneficiaries of subsidiary and temporary protection, stateless persons and asylum seekers to reach the level of French to resume studies at university. The names, duration, program and criteria are different depending on the university.

> To read: the Réfugié sheet “Do a DU passerelle training”

⇒ Choose university

To help you find a university, the Campus France site allows you to search for courses by field of study and by region:

You can also go:

Another solution for finding out about training: the advisers from Onisep (National Office for Information on Education and Professions) answer your questions about guidance and training. You can contact them for free from Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. by phone, chat or email .

Refugee students can also be accompanied by a dedicated CROUS referent after their registration.

You can also ask for help from an association near you or contact UniR - Universities Refugees or the Union of Exiled Students (UEE).

⇒ Respect the university calendar

Unlike asylum seekers, beneficiaries of international protection (refugees, beneficiaries of subsidiary or temporary protection, and stateless persons) do not need to make a prior admission request (DAP) to apply for university.

> For registrations in first year of higher education

  • Between January and March , registration requests must be made on "Parcoursup", a website that groups and distributes future students in French higher education. Each student chooses several universities and several courses (“formulation of wishes”).
  • Between March and April, each student confirms their wishes.
  • Between June and July, Parcoursup makes the distribution between the students and the chosen universities (“main admission phase”).

> For registrations from the second year of higher education OR in a DU Passerelle course

  • It is not necessary to go through Parcoursup, you can contact the university directly or go through e-candidate. To do this, you must go to the page of the training in question, there you will find the registration procedure and the contacts of the training manager.
  • Between September and October, classes start at most universities. However, the duration and the program vary according to the universities: it is advisable to contact the education department or the international relations department of the university to find out the timetable.
If the enrolment dates have passed, it may still be possible to enrol: you should contact the university directly (Registrar's Office, course leader, student mobility office, etc.).

The documents requested for the registration file are often:

Other documents may be requested depending on your situation (letters of recommendation, academic work carried out, level of English, etc.).

If you need to send your file by email or upload it to the website of the university you are interested in, you must have all the documents in electronic version.

> To read: the sheet “Scan a document”

A - To register for the first year:

 You must withdraw, complete and submit a file to the university. You have to phone or contact the education department or the international relations service of the university _ by email _ to find out where to collect the file to complete.

B - For other years:

 The file must be completed online on the university website.


 Good to know : A CV, cover letters, copy of your diploma(s) obtained and a French level certificate are generally required.

What happens next?

If you have not been able to register in time for the year, you can take courses online while waiting for the next registrations:

France has a MOOC (Massive Online Open Courses) platform: it is called FUN for “France Université Numérique” and offers more than 300 online courses, free and open to all.

The Interuniversity Federation for Distance Education (Fédération Interuniversitaire de l'Enseignement à Distance, FIED): you can find training by searching by field, discipline or diploma.

L'Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie (AUF) has encouraged the development of online (MOOC) and distance (FOAD) training for higher education institutions in French-speaking countries. Its network offers more than 100 degrees (from bachelor's degrees to masters 2 degrees) and a wide range of online courses open to all. You can find them on the AUF website dedicated to ODL and MOOC .

You can also register for a support programme for graduate refugees in an association (see the device sheets )

If the registration dates have passed, it is sometimes still possible to register: you must contact the university directly (registration service, training manager, reception office for mobile students, etc.).

If you are unable to register for a training course or if your file has not been accepted, you can take online courses while waiting for the next registrations:

Please note: not all training on these platforms necessarily leads to a diploma. But it is possible to have a certificate confirming that you have done the distance learning. Finally, some courses are chargeable.
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