Study Medicine in France – The 2024 Ultimate Guide

Indeed, medicine study in France is an important opportunity for all students of this specialty. Obviously, France represents a real destination for more than 18,000 students annually and from different nationalities.

Moreover, the study of medicine in the French universities is characterized by practical application as well as theoretical study.

Therefore, we will show you many details to study medicine and dentistry in this ancient country. Just follow this complete guide with us …

How long is medical school in France?

For France, it takes 9 years for medical professionals to study general medicine. On the other hand, it takes 10 to 12 years for other specialists, such as surgeons or pediatricians.

Medical Study System in France

Basically, medical studies in France are divided into three courses (PCEM, DCEM and General Medicine or other specialties). It ends with obtaining the country’s PhD certificate in medicine.

First Cycle (PCEM)

The first cycle is two academic preparatory years, with the same course of study for all medical, pharmacy, dentistry, nursing as well as physiotherapy students.

It is worth noting that students have only two chances to pass the first year. In order to pass for the second year, you must pass a competitive exam at the end of the first year.

Moreover, the maximum number of foreign students admitted from outside the European Union is limited to 8% of the total number of students.

This is on the condition that the student’s degree is equal to or higher than the last accepted French student.

Second Cycle (DCEM)

The second cycle lasts four years. In order to reach the third stage, students of the fourth year must have successfully completed the second cycle and passed theoretical exams. In addition to validating all internship periods in the hospitals and participating in seminars.

After their success and depending on their grades, students are entitled to follow the specialty they desire.

Third Cycle (DES)

The third cycle includes two study programs: General Medicine or other specialties, both of which enable you to obtain a Diploma of Specialized Studies DES.

Furthermore, you may complete some specialties in order to obtain the complementary specialized studies certificate DESC, which takes two years of study. Afterward, the student can prepare and discuss a thesis for obtaining the country’s PhD in medicine.

After reviewing the duration and cycles of the medical study in France, it is necessary to know the acceptance conditions.

What are the requirements to study medicine in France?

Do you have the necessary requirements to complete your medical studies in France?

Check it yourself…

The procedure for applying to medical university studies in France depends on the country from which the student came.

As an illustration, no person from a country which is member in EU / EEA will need a visa to study. He can apply directly to the university or graduate school of his choice.

Otherwise, students from non-EU countries need a student visa that requires them to pass through the Campus France Institution.

During the first school year, the international student only needs to show his visa as evidence of his residency.

However, he must register with the Immigration Office within 30 days of his arrival and perform a medical examination to complete the administrative procedures for his visa. Starting from his second year of studies, he must apply for a residence permit.

Moreover, keep in mind that the student must have a high school diploma and be fluent in the French language. Indeed, this can be achieved by joining French language courses offered by private centers.

Besides, it is preferable that the student wishing to complete his studies in France starts planning to learn the French language well in advance.

Tests you should pass to register in French Universities

Then the student applies to take one of the following two tests, which allows him to register in French universities:

French Language Diploma DELF & DALF

These are the French Language Diploma, DELF and focused Diploma in the French language (DALF). These diplomas reflect the student’s skills in the French language. Moreover, they are valid for life and recognized in the whole world.

Indeed, they are also necessary in order to search for a job in France or in any French-speaking country (B2, for example, is the level generally required in French universities).

French TCF / TFE tests

Basically, these tests assess the candidate’s proficiency level in the French language. Unlike the lifetime valid DELF and DALF diplomas, TCF certification is only valid for two years.

Now let’s get to know the most important medical universities in France and how to register.

The 6 best medical universities in France

Now that you know the conditions of study, it is time to search for the best universities you can register in.

Here you will find a list of the best medical colleges in France with their official websites.

Paris Descartes University

As a matter of fact, Paris Descartes College of Medicine isone of the first units of training and medical research in France in terms ofthe number of students, professors as well as research units & results.

The primary mission of the Paris Medical College Descartes is to train, research, spread and exchange knowledge. This is due to the fact that each teacher encourages the emergence of students’ curiosity, critical and creative thinking throughout their classes in order to improve their knowledge.

Registration at the University of Paris Descartes.

Sorbonne University

On the other hand, this medical school aims to respond to health issues by encouraging research in various disciplines. In addition to training future physicians and many health professionals.

Registration at the Sorbonne University.

Western Brittany University

Basically, its role is to train health professionals, of course, doctors as well as biologists.

Registration at the University of Western Brittany.

Montpellier Nimes College of Medicine

The Faculty of Medicine of Montpellier was established in the twelfth century and is the oldest medical school practicing medicine in the world.

It offers its students a wide range of medical study divisions from orthopedics to speech therapy, as well as other disciplines.

Moreover, studies continue in Montpellier or Nîmes, on the fully equipped campus, which combines tradition and modernity.

About 177 certificates are awarded in different specialties(surgery, psychiatry …),

Registration at the Faculty of Medicine of Montpellier.

Strasbourg Medical School

Basically, it includes more than 40,000 students and more than 4000 researchers in several fields. The percentage of foreign students at the university is about 19.4% of the total students.

Registration at the Strasbourg Medical School.

Marseille Medical School

Since October 2018, it has become the Faculty of Medical and Paramedical Sciences (SMPM). She gives classes in medicine, medical science, rehabilitation sciences as well as nursing sciences.

Research is also a strong hub for the Medical College of Marseille, with 16 research teams in various fields.

These fields include infectious diseases through the University’s Hospital Institute (IHU), genetics and oncology/immunology and humanities and social sciences, public health, medical imaging or anthropology.

By the end of 2019, the Faculty of Medicine will also bring together research teams in the field of neuroscience. Thus, it creates a unique structure in one place and near hospitals. As it’s equipped with modern infrastructure, the college aims to be the best in France.

Registration at the College of Medicine Marseille.

Is it possible to study medicine in France in English?

Unfortunately, studying medicine in public universities in France is in the French language only. Hence, mastering this language is one of the most important obstacles against foreign students applying to study in France.

On the other hand, and in order to attract foreign students from all over the world, a group of universities and private medical colleges offer their educational programs in the English language.

This is done with a study cost that varies from one university and college to another, depending on the specialty or educational stage.

Among these universities, we find, for example:

Tor Medical College

How much does it cost to study medicine in France for international students?

According to a study by the National Association of Medical Students of France (ANEMF), students enrolling in PACES pay an average of €6,000 for college registration fees as well as private courses.

ANEMF estimated the expenditures to be more than 5,000 euros for first-year medicine (PACES) and 4,000 euros for third-year students.

Add to that the study requirements of approximately 260 euros. This budget includes books and all materials approved for medical study. In addition to these costs, social security contributions are around 500 euros per year. Student need to take account of the accommodation costs and other expenses.

Learn more about the costs of studying and living in France

Get to know also about how to obtain student housing in France

Scholarships for medicine study in France

Do you need financial support to fund your study in France?

Most students will answer yes …

You can then apply for a scholarship to study medicine in France, such as the accrual scholarship granted by medical schools. Basically, it is an offer for merit scholarships dedicated to postgraduate studies.

This is due to the fact that scholarships are awarded on the basis of merit for full-time students after applications are reviewed by the Evaluation Committee.

Again, you need to do this well in advance for your study. Be aware that this is difficult, especially for international students. However, the higher your level of education, the more likely you are to obtain it.

Find out about other scholarships in France that can help you.

Student Visa

After registering at a French university, you must apply for a study visa in France.

Find out how on this topic: Study Visa in France

Dentistry Study in France

Want to become a dentist?

The duration of the study of dentistry in France takes 6 years. On the other hand, it takes 9 years for those who want to specialize more (for example in orthodontics).

The course to study dental surgery in France (or dentistry) begins with PACES (first-year common in health studies). On average, 30% of students are accepted into the competition.

First Cycle: Second and third year

The training program focuses on the first cycle of the study of dentistry on the basic knowledge necessary for the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of mouth, dental and jaw diseases: dental anatomy and infectious dental diseases. In addition, there are lessons such as public health, hygiene, prevention or medical imaging.

During hands-on exercises, students develop their manual skills. 4-week nursing training allows students to learn about care techniques and others.

At the end of the third year, students receive the DFGSO (General Training Diploma in Dental Sciences).

Second cycle: Fourth and fifth year

In the fourth year, along with basic courses, students learn other topics such as general dental hygiene, forensic dentistry, and anesthesia.

Basically, the student spends most of the training period in courses, most of which are in the health center or in the dental departments of the university hospital center to which the university is a partner.

At the end of the fifth year, students receive the DFASO (Advanced Training Diploma in Dental Sciences).

Third Cycle: After the fifth year

At the end of fifth grade, students have two options:

  • To continue in a short preparatory course for one year. About 90% of students join this course to obtain the country’s diploma in Dental Surgery DE.
  • Continuing in a long course that can be reached through competition at the national level. Those enrolled have access to 3 elective specialties according to their classification: orthodontic surgery, within 3 years; oral medicine in 3 years; oral surgery within 4 years.

This long course enables, in addition to the country’s diploma in dental surgery, to obtain a DES (Diploma of Specialized Studies).

Obviously, medicine study in France is one of the best specialties that many students wish to join. Given the privileges that the country offers, and even educational institutions and universities alike.

Finally, keep also in mind that only about 15 to 20% of first-year students pass into the second year. To achieve and complete your study, you need perseverance and hard work above anything else!

About Alya


  1. when Scholarship are available?

    • Hello Saifane,

      Please check this article about scholarships in France, where you will find in-depth information.
      Wish you good luck.

      • Fiangueu Nguedjui Paulin Delors

        I’m from Cameroon studying biomedical sciences, moving to year 2. I wish to study Médecine in France and wants to know if my one year experience in biomedical sciences could be an advantage for me during my application?
        Thank you!

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