Studying in Montpellier

Study in Montpellier
Updated 2019-08-15 09:13

Cathedral, medieval streets, a historic pedestrian centre, 13th-century universities, and on top of that, a Mediterranean climate with mild temperatures and sandy beaches only 10 km away. Montpellier holds huge appeal to students and has a lot of stories to tell. With 257,000 inhabitants, including 70,000 students, Montpellier is a vibrant, dynamic city with a lot to offer.

If you are thinking of continuing your studies in France and you are ready to live in Montpellier, you will find a wealth of useful information below, but don't hesitate to continue your search by asking your questions on the Montpellier forum or by checking the expat guide to France.

Public universities in France

Pursuing your studies in France's higher education system can proceed in two different ways. One is the so-called private "Grandes écoles", which are expensive but extremely well-regarded both in France and abroad. To be admitted to these schools, you have to pass a competitive examination after two years of preparatory class. The second option is to attend Public Universities, which offer very diverse and broad-based courses and degrees. French universities operate according to credits acquired called European Credit System (ECTS). Free education in France is common, which explains France's popularity among international students.

Main academic institutions in Montpellier

Université de Montpellier

Founded in 1220, the University of Montpellier (UM) is one of the oldest universities in the world, juggling history and modernity. The Faculty of Medicine is still currently located at the former episcopal palace and labelled as a historical monument, the former convent is home to the College of Law, but the UM upgraded over time and is now a network of campuses in the heart of the city.

Ranked 381st among the best universities of 2018, UM offers courses in law, economics, political science, and sports. It also draws a distinction in courses such as Earth and Ocean Sciences. Moreover, it is specialised in the field of technological research and sciences (medicine, pharmacy, odontology, biology, etc.). Many researchers are currently working in the 77 research structures of the UM, especially in the fields of algorithms, robotics, and ecology.

Good to know:

Did you know that Nostradamus and Rabelais were students of the medical school of Montpellier before becoming the brilliant astrologer and writer that we know today?

Out of 45,000 students, about 5,000 are international students, with slightly more than half at a PhD level.

Moreover, the UM also includes six institutes and two schools, and the campus network even reaches beyond the city, being attached to the UM cities like Beziers, Nîmes, Perpignan, Sète, Mende, Narbonne, and Carcassonne.

UM offers support and assistance to students who have a business project by offering the opportunity to replace the mandatory internship in a company with 'free' hours devoted to the development and progress of the student's project.

The university has developed Erasmus exchanges all around the world, but it is worth noting that it has a partnership with Quebec via the BCI. As an international student, several possibilities exist if you wish to study at UM, including the university's agreement.

Check the UM website for more information.

Université Paul Valéry-Montpellier 3

The Paul Valéry University, also built in the 13th century, is spread over five different sites (four in Montpellier and one in Béziers) according to the chosen courses. The campus that houses the university headquarters and main campus is also home to a historical heritage site of the twentieth century. There is also a library, a theatre, a museum, and La Maison des étudiants (House of Students), where the heart of the UPVM beats.

This university is focused on the arts, letters, languages, law, economics, management and the humanities, and social sciences. If it appears between the 800 and 1000th place in the QS top universities 2018 rankings, it can nonetheless boast of being at the forefront regarding distance education since it is the French university that offers the largest number of degrees in AED (distance learning).

The UPVM is open internationally with the now-famous Erasmus program or English-language programs. It also maintains privileged ties with Quebec, the Middle East, and many institutions around the world. It is also possible to study at UPMV on a 'Licence' (equivalent to a Bachelor's degree), Masters, and PhD level. Depending on the chosen courses by international students, French or English proficiency tests should be taken.

Visit the UPVM website for more information.

Administrative formalities and paperwork

For students belonging to one of the countries among the European Union or EFTA (European Free Trade Association), no visa will be requested if you plan to study in France. On the other hand, for international students who do not belong to the countries mentioned above, a student visa is mandatory to stay in France. Check this link to see the list of available visas. If your 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 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 social security health coverage and a residence permit if they do not come from the European Union.

Working in France

If you want to undertake an internship in France while studying, know that the regulations regarding internships are the same for international students (whether they are European Union citizens or not) as for French students. If you are not a national of the European Union, your student visa will allow you to do an internship, but under certain conditions.

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

To find a job in Montpellier, you can check some job offers available on or interact with the expat's network in Montpellier.

Student accommodation in Montpellier

The Montpellier CROUS lists several housing solutions: accommodation at U-city, which will cost between â¬154 to â¬380 each month; student residence, for â¬300 to â¬600 per month; as well as alternative solutions such as accommodation in private homes, one-off accommodation, or annual housing. The Montpellier CROUS also provides personalised assistance to those searching for lodging, thanks to the Phare system. It also offers a method of sponsorship, through which a student of the university welcomes and helps an international student. For those who are interested in flat-sharing, there are websites like Adèle, Appartager and Loc service, that can help you find accommodation that suits your needs. Homestay accommodation is also an idea to consider for quick progress in learning French.

The cost of living in Montpellier

Concerning food, the University restaurant (â¬3,20/meal), cafeterias of the CROUS (â¬3,25/formula on the spot or take away) or food trucks of CROUS, offer meals at low prices.

When it comes to public transportation, youngsters under 26 have unlimited access to the TAM network (bus, tramway, four car parks) by subscribing to the â¬196/per annual pass (a little more than â¬16 per month). For â¬10 extra (year-round), access to bicycles is included.

As far as cultural activities are concerned, Montpellier knows how to welcome its student population. The city offers 'Pass'culture', and membership to this pass is â¬9 per year - a good investment given the access it affords to all kinds of activities at low prices: cinemas, museums, and concerts with a guaranteed amount of â¬10 maximum. A bargain!

According to the CROUS guide, a student needs, on average, a budget of â¬800 per month. Budgeting is necessary but don't forget to have fun along the way!

It will also be necessary to include the cost of mandatory social security health coverage in France. It is possible for international students under 28, studying for more than four months in France, to be covered by the French social security for a special annual fee.

Where to live as a student in Montpellier

Living around the university or hospital areas allows students to stay close to academic institutions. The district of the Central station is a great choice for partying and nightlife; the area of l'école des Beaux-Arts should be considered if you are looking for a lively and cultural atmosphere.

Leisure in Montpellier

There is a wide range of activities to enjoy in Montpellier: you can stroll through its historical pedestrian center (the Ecusson), relax under the greenhouses for an exotic touch, visit the many historical buildings and museums of the city, or enjoy the various festivals and concerts at the legendary Rockstore. Around Montpellier, you will find cathedrals, caves, and sandy beaches accessible by tram (Palavas-les flots, La Grande Motte, etc.). One thing is for sure, sun and sand should be part of your plans if you choose to study in Montpellier!

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.