Erudera's Complete Guide to Studying Medicine in France
Medicine in France has come a long way. From the discovery of the genetic cause of Down Syndrome in 1958 to human autotransfusion of red corpuscles from stem cells in 2011, France has created an internationally recognized medical history. Studying medicine in France will ensure a promising future for everyone that chooses to study in the country. Apart from this, prospective medical students will be offered the opportunity to complete internships, enjoy the great student experience offered by French universities, all with more than an affordable price.
Reasons to Study Medicine in France
One of the most important reasons why thousands of international students choose to study in France is its universities. These institutions have and continue to work with the aim of establishing themselves among the top universities in the world. Researchers of these universities have brought home Nobel prizes with around 80 medical breakthroughs done in the country. So, it is sure that you will learn from professionals that excel in the field of medicine.
France has one of the most Efficient Healthcare Systems in the World
The healthcare system in France has a reputation for being one of the best healthcare systems in the world. This system includes a network of both public and private hospitals and people that offer medical services. In addition to this, the healthcare system in France provides universal cover for each citizen regardless of their age, wealth, and social status. The good reputation of France’s healthcare system is an additional factor that should help you understand the excellence of the field of medicine in France.
A Rewarding Experience
France is a multicultural country with developed cities that offer thousands of adventures for international students. In addition to this, France is in close proximity to other European countries which means that you will not only get to see the beauties of France itself but of the countries around it as well. Even though medicine is a field that requires a lot of studying and dedication, make sure you spare some time to do some exploring and have fun.
Medical School Structure in France
Medical school in France is divided into the three following cycles:
In France, the first cycle is called Premier Cycle d’études Médicales or PCEM. PCEM covers the first two years of your medical studies and its curriculum is the same for students of the medical, dental, pharmacy, physiotherapy, and nursing field. At the end of the first year of your studies, you will undertake PACES - a very competitive exam which only 15% - 20% of the students manage to pass. Note that you must pass this exam in order to be allowed to continue to the second year.
The second cycle of your studies is the DCEM. This cycle takes four years to complete and during this period you will have to work on seminars, meet all the academic requirements of your university, and finish your internship in a hospital. By the end of the fourth year, you will take another round of theoretical exams in order to be allowed to continue with the third cycle of your medical studies.
The third cycle is called DES. This cycle consists of two study programs: you can choose General Medicine or Specialized Medicine. After completing this cycle you will be awarded a Diploma of Specialized Studies.
After completing the above-mentioned cycles, you can continue your studies for two more years where you receive subspecialty training and be awarded the certificate for complementary specialized studies or DESC. And, lastly, if you wish to further your studies you must defend your research thesis and then register with the Conseil National de l’Ordre des Médecins so you can have your license and start practicing.
If you are an international student planning to finance your medical studies, the first thing you should do is make sure you have enough financial funds to support yourself throughout your studies. The main requirement that you must meet in order to study medicine in France is being fluent in French. Having French language skills is essential for anyone who wishes to study medicine in France due to the fact that you will be in constant contact with people who may speak the French language only.
Other documents that you must submit together with the application form are:
- High school certificate (or equivalent)
- Copy of your passport
- Proof of French language proficiency
- Application fee
- Letters of recommendation
- Letters of motivation
- Work experience (if applicable)
Once you receive your acceptance letter you can apply for a visa. As an international student obtaining a study visa is the main requirement since you will not be able to commence your studies without obtaining one.
The application process in French universities is not quite complicated. In order to apply for a degree in medicine, the first thing you need to do is choose the university to which you would like to apply. There are many universities that offer courses in the field of medicine so you will not have difficulties in choosing a university. French universities’ websites usually have all the necessary information that international students need to know in order to apply for a degree in medicine.
If you are applying for the first year of your studies in medicine you must apply through the centralized application portal of France - ParcoursUp. Though, if you come from a non-European country, or live in Europe but do not have the nationality of a European country you will have to file a request for admission prior to the academic year in which you wish to begin your studies. In France, this request is called “Demande d’Admission Prealable or DAP”, and it must be sent to the French embassy in your country of residence.
Degree Duration: How Long Does It Take to Study Medicine in France?
The duration of a medical degree in France depends on the field you would like to study. Studying the field of Dentistry will take you 5 to 6 years of full-time study to complete. Veterinary studies will take you around 6 years of full-time study to complete. Studying Pharmacy will take you 5 to 6 years of full-time study. While Nursing and Physiotherapy take 3 to 4 years to complete. If you decide to further your studies, medical specializations take from 3 to 6 years to complete.
Tuition Fees: How Much Does It Cost to Study Medicine in France?
In many countries, students that choose to study medicine pay the highest tuition fees. However, that is not the case with France where tuition fees are quite low considering the development of the country over the years. Here, international students that pursue their studies in the field of medicine pay an average of EUR 420 ($512) per year. An additional cost to tuition fees are application fees. These depend on the university you choose to apply to, but, generally they are affordable fees.
Note that apart from the cost of tuition you should also consider the living costs during your studies. When you apply for a visa after receiving an offer from a French university you should prove that you have sufficient resources to support yourself through your studies. The estimated bare minimum to support yourself in France is around EUR 615 ($750) per month.
Medicine Career Prospects in France
The medical profession is highly respected, not only in France but everywhere around the world. In France being a doctor allows you to have a great deal of autonomy. However, as an international student, in order to become a doctor in France, you have to go through a long complex process. It is also essential that you speak fluent French in order to be able to communicate with your patients or collaborate with your colleagues.
But, all that hard work will finally pay off. After graduation, you can work in a number of professions including:
- Research scientist
In France, the salary of a person working in the medical field ranges from EUR 42,500 to EUR 197,000 ($51,796 to $240,086) per year.