France has about 400 higher education and research institutions, including universities, institutes of technology, grandes ecoles and other specialised schools, between them offering some 6,000 degree programmes.
The two-semester academic year starts in September. Each establishment sets its own admission requirements. All students with the French baccalauréat or foreign equivalent can apply to the universities, which are increasingly introducing the European higher education structure known in France as LMD - licence (bachelors), masters, doctorat - and European credit transfer system. Grandes écoles and other public and private specialised schools are selective, training students for careers in areas such as engineering, management, art and architecture. Foreign and French students get equal treatment.
Registration fees range from the minimum of €141 (£94) a year to several hundred euros, depending on course and establishment. Grants or scholarships are available, mostly for postgraduates, and students are allowed to work half-time.
As European Union citizens, British students do not need visas, though resident's permits are required for stays of more than three months.
Adequate French and evidence of access to minimum financial resources of €4,584 are required.
First stop for information is the French embassy's cultural section in the UK.