Top 20 Universities in France for 2020 - Postgraduate |
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2020 French University Rankings - Top Choices for Postgraduate Study

France is Europe's second most popular destination for international postgraduate study (after the UK). It's also the most popular non-anglophone country (though many Masters programs in France are actually taught in English).

All of this is a testament to the quality of France's higher education system, which is home to some of Europe's most historic and innovative institutions.

But how does France do in academic ranking tables? And which French universities are the 'best' for Masters study?

This page summarises the performance of French universities in different global rankings.

Top Ranked French Universities

The following table lists the best universities in France in 2020 according to global rankings.

This information is based on the latest rankings tables, researched and published by Times Higher Education, QS and the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU).

Each ranking system uses its own methodology, with different factors having more or less influence on a university's result.

For more information on using international rankings as a postgraduate, see our guide.

Top 20 French Universities in 2019
University THE 2020 QS 2020 ARWU 2019
Paris Sciences et Lettres – PSL Research University Paris =45 53 -
Sorbonne University =80 77 44
École Polytechnique 93 =60 301-400
University of Paris 130 =253 -
Télécom Paris 188 =224 -
École Normale Supérieure de Lyon 201-250 =160 301-400
Paris-Sud University 201-250 =262 37
École des Ponts ParisTech 251-300 250 301-400
Aix-Marseille University 301-350 =491 101-150
Grenoble Alpes University 301-350 =351 101-150
Montpellier University 301-350 =498 151-200
IMT Atlantique 351-400 - -
Université de Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines 351-400 - 401-500
University of Bordeaux 401-500 =458 201-300
Centrales Nantes 401-500 - -
University of Côte d’Azur 401-500 591-600 -
École des Mines de Saint-Étienne 401-500 - -
Federal University of Toulouse Midi-Pyrénées 401-500 - -
Sciences Po 401-500 242 -
University of Strasbourg 401-500 =379 101-150
Information in this table is based on the latest Times Higher Education World University Rankings, QS World University Rankings and Academic Ranking of World Universities. Visit their websites for more information.

How do rankings work for Masters study?

International rankings use all sorts of metrics to assess universities and they aren't all equally relevant to postgraduate study. That's why we've put together a guide to university rankings for Masters students.

So, how good are French universities for Masters study?

With a cluster of institutions in the world top 200 and many others across the full global rankings, France can be proud of its place in international league tables.

But rankings alone don't necessarily reflect the quality of French postgraduate education - and you shouldn't assume that France is worse than another country simply because it appears to have less top-ranked institutions.

Unlike other countries, French universities tend to be smaller and more specialised. In fact, many of them were originally part of larger institutions before being broken up into separate units.

This is why many French universities have a number in their name, indicating that they were once part of a regional institution. For example, the Paris Diderot University (Paris 7) is 'descended' from the historical University of Paris (as are other 'numbered' Paris universities).

You can read more about French higher education in our guide to Masters study in France.

Smaller universities can be more specialised, with real expertise in specific fields. Many of them also network to share resources and facilities. But, individually, they may struggle for visibility in the 'zoomed out' world of global rankings.

One way to get around this is to zoom back in and look at rankings in specific subjects, an option included in THE’s league table.

Search for a Masters in France

Our database includes plenty of French Masters degrees and our listings provide lots of helpful information about specific programs. Why not take a look?

Last updated 01/10/2019

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