Study in Lyon
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Updated 6 months ago

Located halfway between the sea and the mountains and famous for its two thousand years of history and rich gastronomic landscape, Lyon is a city with an international influence, welcoming over 150,000 students. Lyon is not only a place where two rivers meet; it is also at the confluence of knowledge with higher education institutions of international recognition.

Public universities in France

Pursuing your studies in France's higher education system can be done in two different ways. One is the so-called "Grandes écoles", which are expensive but extremely renowned. To be admitted to these schools, you have to pass a competitive examination after two years of preparatory classes. The second option is to attend a public university, offering very diverse courses and degrees. These institutions provide excellent opportunities for research and, above all, enrolment fees are very affordable with the average cost being just â¬250 per year. French universities operate using credits, via the European Credit System (ECTS). Free education in France is a common peculiarity, which certainly explains the popularity of the country among international students.

Main academic institutions of Lyon

école Normale Supérieure of Lyon (ENS)

ENS is one of the four French écoles Normales Supérieures, the other three being based in Paris and Rennes. Currently, the ENS ranks 153rd among the world's best universities. ENS Lyon is a very high-calibre institution, offering excellent and competitive programs in the following areas: biosciences, computer science, mathematics, earth sciences, languages, humanities, and social sciences at PhD level. However, note that law and medicine are not provided at ENS Lyon.

Students from all over the world are, of course, welcome at ENS Lyon if they manage to pass the entrance exams or if they already have an exceptional higher education record. Admissions are possible in Licence 3 (equivalent to a Bachelors), Masters, and PhD via either exchange agreements with the universities from the country of origin or via an enrolment commission which will look at the student's academic record but also at their motivations and their selected subject.

ENS Lyon and its partners also offer scholarship opportunities to international Masters and PhD students, and also provides information about other possibilities to finance their studies at ENS Lyon.

International students can also take an extremely competitive entrance examination. Once this is completed, the student can enjoy the same rights as their fellow French students, namely a guaranteed salary (â¬1500/month, granted for four years for students from the European Union or the European Economic Area, and â¬1000/month for three years for students from other countries), and the obligation to serve the French state for ten years. Given the undeniable quality of the education provided in this school, applicants are numerous, but the number of places is limited.

At Masters level, the science programs of ENS Lyon can be taken in English, but as far as arts, social sciences, and humanities programs are concerned, a B1 level of French is required.

Find out more about ENS Lyon here.

Institut National des Sciences Appliquées de Lyon (INSA)

INSA (National Institute of Applied Sciences of Lyon) is a school that trains future engineers for five years. Five years is the time needed, in addition to dedicated scientific training, to learn new languages, philosophy, culture, and business and management. In the end, students will leave the INSA with an excellent scientific and cultural background.

INSA currently ranks between the 451st and 460th position in the QS Worldwide Top Universities ranking. Besides the science-oriented aspect, this institution stands out mainly in the field of civil and structural engineering, a discipline in which it reaches the top 200 of the best universities in the world.

INSA welcomes international students on several levels: Licence 3, Masters, Specialized Masters, Dual degree, PhD. Note that some courses are taught in English. The INSA campus is located 15 minutes from the centre of Lyon and includes classrooms, restaurants, accommodation, sports facilities, and its student residences.

Check out the INSA website for more information.

Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1

Lyon 1 provides courses in science and technology, sports, health, education, engineering, and management... It currently ranks between the 501th-550th position in the QS Top Universities 2018 ranking with a special mention for its programs in pharmacy and pharmacology. It has 36,000 French students, most of whom study until they reach the Masters level, while international students dominate the PhD level (55%).

It is a university that heartily prioritises the assistance of its students in their field, by setting up meetings with professionals during the weekly "professional moments" and developing a strong network between current and former students. Lyon 1 also counts among its former students the mathematician Cédric Villani, a teacher in this same university.

Lyon 1 is very open to foreigners, with 10% of its students being international students. Lyon 1 offers several exchange programs, but it is also possible to study there if you're not part of an exchange program. Some programs are taught in English. During the two-months period, the Students Welcome Desk remains available to welcome students from all over the world.

Moreover, Lyon 1 is one of the largest universities in France with its three main campuses in Lyon and Villeurbanne, as well as other small colleges scattered around.

Find more information about Lyon 1 here.

Université Lumière Lyon 2

Specialised in humanities and social sciences but also offering courses in arts, literature, languages, sports, economics, management, science and health, Lyon 2 stands out, especially in languages.

Lumière Lyon 2 University counts 28,000 French students and opens its doors to 4,700 international students. The institution is perfect for students wishing to take traditional exchange programs, and those seeking to obtain a diploma from Lyon 2.

Its two main campuses are located on the banks of the Rhone and Porte des Alpes, but Lyon 2 has other small satellites universities scattered all around. Find out more about Université Lumière Lyon 2 here.

Université Jean Moulin Lyon 3

Like Lyon 2, Lyon 3 specialises in humanities and social sciences while offering a wide range of other courses. The University takes particular pride in supporting students during their studies and professional integration. Being part of the Erasmus program, it offers the opportunity to take courses in French or English. In the first case, a test of your French language skills will have to be carried out.

The university welcomes 27,000 students on its three campuses, two located in the heart of Lyon and the third in Bourg en Bresse.

Administrative formalities and paperwork

No visa is required for students from one of the countries of the European Union or EFTA (European Free Trade Association). For other international students, a student visa will be required to study in France. Find out more information here. If the study stay exceeds six months, a resident card will also be required.

Funding your studies in France

Financing your studies in France as an international student can be done in several ways: either by getting a scholarship from your home university, or by being awarded a 'subvention' from the French university concerned, or through specific organisations. Check out the full list on the Finance your studies section of the France Diplomatie website.

International students also have the right to work in France as long as they have a social security health coverage and a residence permit if they do not come from the European Union.

Housing in Lyon

The International section of the Lyon CROUS (Social assistance for students) helps international students to find accommodation. Other dedicated websites like Studea or Live-study (Habitez-étudiez) are worth checking out as well. For those who are more interested in flat-sharing, websites like Adèle, Appartager, Loc service, and La carte des colocs, can help you find the accommodation that suits you. Another option for international students wishing to improve their French skills is homestay accommodations, such as those with Chambre à louer.com

Internships in France

Regulations regarding internships in France are the same for international students (whether they are European nationals or not) as for French students. If you are not a part of the European Union, your student visa will allow you to do an internship, under some conditions.

Working in France after graduation

Students from the European Union can stay in France without any restrictions after graduation. For other international students, some conditions apply, like the degree of studies, the amount of salary received, etc.

The cost of living in Lyon

According to many articles, Lyon is one of the cities in France where living costs, particularly for students, keep increasing. Lyon offers a wide range of student meals and menus 'à points'. When it comes to public transportation, it takes â¬31 per month for a student and about â¬16,50 per year for the Vélo'v subscription. For more information, Lyon 2 helps you to get an idea of ''the required budget, but you should budget about â¬850 monthly. It is possible for international students under 28 years old studying for more than four months in France to be covered by the French health social security for a special annual fee. Therefore, they will not have to pay social security.

The best place to live in as a student in Lyon

If you are looking forward to living in Lyon, the peninsula might be the ideal place to be. Located in the city centre, everything is within walking distance. Old Lyon is only five minutes' walk from the city centre; La Guillotière, a lively student area, is located between the major universities and the city's waterfront. And last but not least, La Croix Rousse is famous for its magnificent view and its more affordable rents.

Leisure in Lyon

Do you long to take a walk along the Rhône and Saône? Stroll through the historic districts? Climb to the top of the Fourvière hill? Relax at the Parc de la tête d'Or? See films at the Institut Lumière? Visit the famous 'Demeure du chaos' or celebrate the festival of lights? Lyon has it all so boredom won't be an option!

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