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Studying Remotely in a French University: Practical Guide

An increasing number of international students are opting for remote study in French universities.

In 2022, over 365,000 foreign students were enrolled in higher education institutions in France, solidifying its position as the 6th most appealing destination globally for international students. Notably, around 20% of these students were pursuing distance learning programs, drawn by the opportunity to obtain a French degree from overseas.


Reasons for the success of distance learning programs in France

diplome à distance france


Distance learning programs allow students to study at their own pace and convenience, wherever they are in the world. This is a major advantage for students who have professional or family obligations, or who live in remote regions far from higher education centers.

In general, distance learning programs rely on the following teaching systems:

  • Live sessions:
    • Webinars
    • Video conferences
    • Virtual classes


  • Recorded sessions:
    • Video modules
    • Podcasts
    • Downloadable texts



Accessibility and Costs

Distance learning programs are often less expensive than on-campus programs. Registration fees, accommodation, and transportation costs are reduced, making French higher education accessible to a larger number of students around the world.

On average, the monthly budget for a student varies from €600 to €1000, or approximately €8000 to €12000 per year, with the main expenses as follows:

  • Rent: €300 to €500 for a studio apartment. In university residences, room rates vary between €150 and €400 per month depending on the size, residence, and city (Paris being the most expensive city in France).
  • Transportation: €15 to €50, depending on the locality.
  • Food shopping: €200 to €300 per month on average.
  • Tuition fees: approximately €170 depending on the level of study and degree.
  • Leisure: around €90.
  • Phone and internet: around €50 for accommodation and mobile.
  • Health insurance: around €12.75.



Quality of Education and Reputation

French universities offer quality distance learning programs with rigorous pedagogical content and internationally recognized diplomas. Students benefit from personalized support and access to high-quality educational resources.

Here are some French higher education institutions that are particularly recognized internationally:

  • Grandes écoles
    • École Polytechnique
    • École Normale Supérieure (ENS)
    • HEC Paris


  • Universities
    • Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne
    • Université Sorbonne Nouvelle – Paris 3
    • Université Grenoble Alpes


  • Institutes and specialized schools
    • Sciences Po Paris
    • Institut National des Sciences et Techniques Nucléaires (INSTN)
    • École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts (ENSBA)



French Universities and Schools Offering Distance Learning Programs

La Sorbonne

Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne

Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne is a multidisciplinary university of international renown. It offers distance learning programs, particularly in the fields of law, economics, and management.


Top Distance Learning Programs:

  • Bachelor’s in Law
  • Master’s in Economics and Finance
  • Master’s in Management
  • Ph.D. in Political Science


Indicative Fees:

  • Bachelor’s: €470 per year
  • Master’s: €600 per year
  • Ph.D.: €380 per year



Université Grenoble Alpes

Université Grenoble Alpes (UGA) is one of the largest universities in France, with over 60,000 students. It offers a wide range of distance learning programs in all fields of knowledge.


Top Distance Learning Programs:

  • Bachelor’s in Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Master’s in Innovation Management
  • Master’s in Computer Engineering
  • Ph.D.


Example Fees:

  • Bachelor’s: €170 per year
  • Master’s: €260 per year
  • Ph.D.: €380 per year



Université Sorbonne Nouvelle – Paris 3

Université Sorbonne Nouvelle – Paris 3 specializes in humanities and social sciences. It offers a wide range of distance learning programs, particularly in languages, literature, and history.


Top Distance Learning Programs:

  • Bachelor’s in Applied Foreign Languages
  • Master’s in French Literature
  • Master’s in History
  • Ph.D. in Education Sciences


Indicative Fees:

  • Bachelor’s: €470 per year
  • Master’s: €600 per year
  • Ph.D.: €380 per year



Télécom ParisTech – Paris

Télécom ParisTech is a major French engineering school. It offers a selection of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), particularly in computer science, telecommunications, and electronics.


Top Distance Learning Programs:

  • Specialized Master’s in Network and Telecoms Engineering
  • Specialized Master’s in Big Data and Artificial Intelligence
  • Specialized Master’s in Cybersecurity


Indicative Fees:

  • Specialized Master’s: €10,000 per year



CNED (Centre National d’Enseignement à Distance)

CNED is the French national distance learning center. It offers nearly 150 distance learning programs for students (in addition to traditional programs for students).


Top Distance Learning Programs:

  • Preparation for administrative exams
  • Training for secretarial professions
  • Training for accounting professions
  • Training for sales professions


Indicative Fees:

  • Preparation for administrative exams: from €300
  • Training for secretarial professions: from €1,000
  • Training for accounting professions: from €1,500
  • Training for sales professions: from €2,000



Finding other French institutions for distance learning

To find other 100% online programs, you can consult the following websites:


Practical Advice for Students Wishing to Benefit from a French Distance Learning Program



  • Schedule: Outside of a classroom or lecture hall, it can be challenging to get into a learning mindset. Ensure you have enough discipline and organization to accomplish your goals. It’s important to stick to a regular work schedule and adhere to fixed working hours.
  • Study Environment: Choose a quiet and conducive study location.
  • Goals and Expectations: Set realistic and achievable goals. Don’t hesitate to seek help from advisors, tutors, or professors if you have questions or difficulties.



  • Tuition Fees: Inquire about all tuition fees from the chosen program.
  • Financing: Compare different financing options (scholarships, student loans, etc.). Prepare a scholarship application if necessary. You can inquire with your state, the French state, or directly with the targeted institution to see if they have specific partnerships or scholarships.


Administrative Procedures

  • Admission and Teaching Conditions: Learn about the admission conditions for the chosen program and make sure that if your desire is for it to be 100% distance learning to avoid any surprises (e.g., mandatory attendance at an in-person exam). Also, participate in forums and social networks dedicated to foreign students in France.
  • Student File: Compile a complete application file and validate your foreign diplomas: this may require procedures with embassies and payment of fees for translation and authentication of documents.
  • Student Visa: Even if theoretically you will be undertaking a distance learning program, determine if it is necessary to obtain a student visa (see here for the list of countries with EEF – Etudes En France procedure).


French Language and Culture

  • Mastery of French: Ensure you have a sufficient level of comprehension to assimilate the knowledge provided, and a level of expression that allows you to confidently pass written or oral exams.
  • French Culture: Learn about French culture: this will help you better understand the expectations of professors and other students.


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