Masters in Architecture in France

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Standyou Team
Standyou Team

Feb 10, 2024 10:57:13

Masters in Architecture in France for International Students

Why Study Architecture in France?

  • Cultural Heritage: France is home to some of the world’s most iconic architecture, from medieval structures to modernist designs, offering students a living laboratory of architectural history and theory.

  • Innovative Education: French architecture schools are known for their innovative approaches, combining theoretical knowledge with practical skills, and often involving students in real-world projects and competitions.

  • Global Perspective: Many programs offer a global perspective on architectural design and sustainability, preparing students for careers in an increasingly interconnected world.

  • Language and Professional Development: Studying in France is also an opportunity to improve your French language skills, which can be an asset in the global job market. Additionally, France's emphasis on arts and culture provides a unique context for architectural study.

Top Architecture Schools in France

Several French institutions offer reputable Master's programs in Architecture, accredited by the French Ministry of Culture and Communication. Some of the notable schools include:

  • École Nationale Supérieure d'Architecture de Paris-Belleville (ENSAPB)

  • École Nationale Supérieure d'Architecture de Paris-La Villette (ENSAPLV)

  • École Nationale Supérieure d'Architecture de Versailles (ENSA-V)

  • École Spéciale d’Architecture (ESA) in Paris

  • École Nationale Supérieure d'Architecture de Lyon (ENSAL)

Admission Requirements

The admission requirements can vary between institutions, but generally include:

  • Bachelor’s Degree: A Bachelor’s degree in Architecture or a closely related field is typically required. Some programs may accept students from other backgrounds, provided they can demonstrate strong potential.

  • Portfolio: A portfolio showcasing your architectural work and projects is crucial for admission into most programs.

  • Language Proficiency:

    • For programs taught in French, non-native speakers will need to demonstrate proficiency in French, often through tests like the TCF or DELF/DALF, at a B2 level or higher.

    • For English-taught programs, proof of English proficiency through TOEFL or IELTS scores may be required.

  • Letters of Recommendation and Statement of Purpose: Most programs require letters of recommendation and a statement of purpose that outlines your academic interests, professional goals, and reasons for choosing the specific program.

Application Process

  • Prepare Your Application: Gather all necessary documents, including your academic transcripts, portfolio, language test scores, letters of recommendation, and statement of purpose.

  • Submit Your Application: Follow the specific application procedures set by each institution. This may involve submitting your application through an online portal and paying any applicable application fees.

  • Interviews: Some programs may require an interview as part of the admission process, either in person or via video conference.

Tuition Fees and Scholarships

  • Tuition Fees: Public institutions in France charge relatively low tuition fees, even for international students, compared to private schools. Fees can vary widely, so it's important to check with the specific institution.

  • Scholarships and Financial Aid: Various scholarships are available for international students, including those offered by the French government, individual institutions, and external organizations. Research and apply early for these opportunities.

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M.Arch (Master of Architecture) in France

Universities Offering Masters in Architecture in France

1. École Nationale Supérieure d'Architecture de Paris-Belleville (ENSAPB)

  • Location: Paris

  • Overview: Known for its dynamic approach to architectural education, ENSAPB encourages a creative and critical engagement with contemporary architectural challenges.

2. École Nationale Supérieure d'Architecture de Paris-La Villette (ENSAPLV)

  • Location: Paris

  • Overview: ENSAPLV is one of the largest architecture schools in France, offering a diverse range of programs that explore the social, urban, and environmental aspects of architecture.

3. École Nationale Supérieure d'Architecture de Versailles (ENSA-V)

  • Location: Versailles

  • Overview: Situated near the historic Palace of Versailles, ENSA-V combines architectural study with the exploration of heritage, landscape, and urbanism.

4. École Spéciale d’Architecture (ESA)

  • Location: Paris

  • Overview: ESA is a private architecture school known for its innovative curriculum that integrates technical skill with critical thinking and design creativity.

5. École Nationale Supérieure d'Architecture de Lyon (ENSAL)

  • Location: Lyon

  • Overview: ENSAL emphasizes the relationship between architecture and the social sciences, preparing students to address complex urban and environmental challenges.

6. École Nationale Supérieure d'Architecture de Marseille (ENSA-M)

  • Location: Marseille

  • Overview: ENSA-M focuses on Mediterranean architecture, offering programs that explore the region's unique urban and environmental contexts.

7. École Nationale Supérieure d'Architecture de Grenoble (ENSAG)

  • Location: Grenoble

  • Overview: ENSAG is recognized for its research and teaching in sustainable architecture, energy efficiency, and mountain architecture.

Admission Requirements

Admission requirements for Master's programs in architecture in France typically include:

  • A Bachelor’s degree in Architecture or a related field.

  • A portfolio showcasing previous architectural work.

  • Proof of language proficiency (French for programs taught in French, English for programs offered in English).

  • Letters of recommendation and a statement of purpose.

Application Process

  • Check each school's specific application deadlines and requirements.

  • Prepare and submit a portfolio of your work.

  • Demonstrate language proficiency through standardized tests (e.g., TCF, DELF/DALF for French; TOEFL, IELTS for English).

  • Complete and submit the online application form along with required documents.

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Eligibility Criteria for Masters in Architecture in France

Academic Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s Degree: Applicants must hold a Bachelor's degree in Architecture or a closely related field. Some institutions may consider applicants from other backgrounds if they demonstrate strong potential and relevant experience.

  • Transcripts: You'll need to provide transcripts from your undergraduate studies, which may need to be translated into French or English, depending on the program's language.


  • A portfolio showcasing your architectural work is critical for admission. It should reflect your design skills, creativity, and understanding of architectural principles.

Language Proficiency

  • French-taught programs: Proficiency in French is typically required. Non-native speakers must usually demonstrate their language skills through tests such as the TCF, DELF, or DALF, with most programs requiring a B2 level or higher.

  • English-taught programs: For programs offered in English, non-native speakers need to provide evidence of English proficiency, usually through TOEFL or IELTS scores. The required score can vary by institution but generally aligns with international standards for graduate-level study.

Letters of Recommendation

  • Most programs require two to three letters of recommendation from academic or professional referees who can attest to your qualifications, potential for success in a Master's program, and architectural abilities.

Statement of Purpose

  • A statement of purpose (or motivation letter) is required, outlining your academic interests, professional goals, reasons for choosing the program, and why you're a good fit for the institution.

Work Experience

  • While not always mandatory, some programs value relevant professional experience in architecture or related fields, viewing it as an asset that enriches the student's learning and contributions to the program.

Application Form and Fees

  • Applicants must complete an application form, usually available on the institution's website, and pay any applicable application fees.


  • Some schools may conduct interviews (in-person or virtual) as part of the admissions process to further assess the applicant's qualifications and motivation for studying architecture.

Preparing Your Application

  • Start Early: Begin gathering your materials and preparing your application well in advance of the deadline.

  • Language Preparation: If you need to improve your French or English language skills to meet the program's requirements, consider enrolling in language courses or taking additional language tests.

  • Research: Thoroughly research the programs and institutions to tailor your application, especially your portfolio and statement of purpose, to align with their specific focus and expectations.

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Course Duration of Masters in Architecture in France

Standard Duration

  • Two Years (4 Semesters): The most common structure for a Master's in Architecture in France is a two-year program, consisting of four semesters. This timeframe allows for an in-depth exploration of architectural theory, design, technology, and often includes opportunities for specialization, research, and practical projects.

Variations and Specializations

  • Some programs may offer or require an additional semester or year for internships, thesis research, or specialized tracks, which could extend the duration slightly.

  • Specializations within the field of architecture, such as urban design, landscape architecture, sustainable architecture, or heritage conservation, may influence the program structure and duration based on specific curriculum requirements.

Accelerated Programs

  • While less common, there may be accelerated Master's programs in Architecture designed to be completed in a shorter timeframe, such as 18 months. These programs are intensive and require a higher course load per semester.

Part-Time and Flexible Study Options

  • For students working or with other commitments, some institutions may offer part-time or flexible study options, extending the duration of the program beyond the standard two years. These options allow students to balance their studies with professional or personal responsibilities.

Academic Year Structure

  • The academic year in France typically starts in September or October and ends in May or June, with a break in between semesters. Some programs may include summer sessions for internships, workshops, or international study opportunities.

Degree Requirements

  • Completion of the Master's program usually requires a combination of coursework, design studios, seminars, and a final thesis or capstone project. The thesis is an opportunity for students to conduct in-depth research on a topic of their choice, culminating in a written document and/or architectural design project.

Professional Recognition

  • In France, the path to becoming a licensed architect includes obtaining a Master's degree recognized by the French Ministry of Culture and Communication. After completing their studies, graduates must also register with the French Order of Architects (Ordre des Architectes) and fulfill any additional requirements for professional practice.

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Online Masters in Architecture in France

Potential Offerings and Alternatives

  • Blended Learning Programs: Some French institutions may offer Master's programs in Architecture or related fields that combine online coursework with on-campus sessions, workshops, or intensive studio periods. These hybrid models aim to provide the flexibility of online learning while retaining the essential hands-on experience of architectural study.

  • Online Courses and Certificates: While full Master's programs might be scarce, there are online courses, certificate programs, and MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) offered by French institutions or platforms in areas related to architecture, such as sustainable design, urban planning, and heritage conservation. These can be valuable for professionals looking to specialize or update their skills.

Considerations for Online Study

  • Accreditation: For those considering any online or blended learning opportunities, it's crucial to verify the accreditation of the program and its recognition by professional architectural bodies, especially if you intend to practice as an architect.

  • Practical Experience: Given the practical nature of architectural education, prospective students should consider how online or blended programs provide opportunities for hands-on learning, access to studio spaces, and interaction with physical sites and materials.

  • Professional Licensure: For students aiming to become licensed architects, it's important to understand how a program—especially an online one—fits into the licensure requirements in the country where they wish to practice. In many places, licensure requires completing a degree from an accredited program and accumulating a certain amount of practical experience.

Looking Forward

  • Innovation in Digital Education: The architecture education community continues to explore innovative ways to incorporate digital tools and online learning platforms into architectural education. This includes virtual reality (VR) for immersive design experiences, digital fabrication techniques, and online collaboration tools for remote studio projects.

  • International Opportunities: Students interested in online education may also consider programs offered by institutions outside of France, including those in countries with more established online architectural education offerings. Some international programs may offer content in English and be designed with global architectural practices in mind.

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Intakes & Application Deadlines for Masters in Architecture in France

General Intake Periods

  1. Fall Intake (Rentrée de septembre/octobre)

    • The primary intake for Master's programs in France, including those in Architecture, is in the fall, aligning with the start of the academic year.

    • Application Deadlines: Typically, applications for the fall intake need to be submitted in the spring or early summer of the same year. Deadlines can range from January to April for early rounds, with some programs offering later deadlines until June or July.

  2. Spring Intake (Rentrée de janvier/février)

    • A spring intake is less common for Master's programs in Architecture but may be available for some courses or institutions.

    • Application Deadlines: For programs offering a spring intake, application deadlines usually fall in the preceding autumn, around September to November.

Application Process Overview

  • Research: Begin by identifying the architecture programs that match your interests and career goals. Pay attention to the specific focus of each program, as well as the faculty and available resources.

  • Check Requirements and Deadlines: Each institution will have its own set of application requirements and deadlines. Common requirements include a Bachelor’s degree in architecture or a related field, a portfolio of work, letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, and proof of language proficiency (French or English, depending on the program).

  • Prepare Your Application: Compile your application materials well in advance. Your portfolio, in particular, will require significant time to prepare and should effectively showcase your architectural projects and skills.

  • Submit Your Application: Follow the institution's application instructions carefully. Some schools may use their own application portals, while others may require applications to be submitted through centralized platforms like Parcoursup or Campus France.

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Tuition Fees for Masters in Architecture in France

Public Universities and Architecture Schools

  • EU/EEA Students: For students from the EU/EEA, tuition fees at public universities and government-accredited architecture schools are relatively low due to subsidies from the French government. The annual tuition for Master's programs can range from approximately €243 to €601.

  • Non-EU/EEA Students: Non-EU/EEA students generally face higher tuition fees at public institutions compared to their EU/EEA counterparts. As of the latest updates, the fees could be around €3,770 per academic year for Master's programs. However, this rate is subject to change, and students should check the latest information provided by their chosen institution or Campus France.

Private Institutions

  • Private architecture schools or universities may charge significantly higher tuition fees, which can vary widely. For Master's programs in architecture, fees can range from approximately €10,000 to €20,000 per academic year, or even higher depending on the school's prestige and the program's resources.

Additional Costs

Beyond tuition fees, students should also budget for other expenses, including:

  • Living Expenses: Costs for accommodation, food, transportation, and personal expenses vary by location, with cities like Paris being more expensive. Students should budget between €800 and €1,200 per month.

  • Books and Supplies: Depending on the course requirements, students may need to purchase books, materials, and supplies for design projects.

  • Health Insurance: Mandatory for all students. EU/EEA students can typically use their European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), while non-EU/EEA students may need to purchase health insurance, which can cost around €300 per year.

  • CVEC Fee: All students enrolled in higher education in France must pay the Contribution to Student and Campus Life (CVEC), approximately €95 per year.

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Cost of doing Masters in Architecture in France

Tuition Fees

  • Public Institutions: For EU/EEA students, tuition fees are relatively low, typically around €243 to €601 per academic year. Non-EU/EEA students can expect higher fees, around €3,770 per year, although these rates can vary based on recent changes to tuition policies for international students.

  • Private Institutions: Tuition fees can range significantly, from about €10,000 to more than €20,000 per academic year, depending on the prestige of the school and the resources available.

Living Expenses

Living expenses in France can vary widely depending on the city, with Paris being the most expensive. On average, international students should budget between €800 and €1,200 per month, which includes:

  • Accommodation: Rent for a single room in a shared apartment can range from €300 to €600 in smaller cities and from €500 to over €800 in Paris.

  • Food and Groceries: Expect to spend around €200 to €300 per month.

  • Transportation: A monthly public transport pass can cost around €20 to €75, depending on the city.

  • Miscellaneous: Including leisure, books, and supplies, budget approximately €100 to €200 per month.

Health Insurance

  • Mandatory Health Insurance: All students must have health insurance coverage. EU/EEA students can use their European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). Non-EU/EEA students under 28 years old can register for French student social security, which costs about €300 per year. Those over 28 or preferring private insurance should budget for higher costs.

Additional Costs

  • CVEC Fee: The Contribution to Student and Campus Life (CVEC) fee is required for enrollment in French higher education institutions and costs about €95.

  • Materials and Supplies: Architecture students often need to purchase materials for models, drawing supplies, and software, which can add several hundred euros to annual expenses.

  • Travel: If your program includes field trips, international workshops, or semesters abroad, budget for additional travel costs.

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Admission Process for Masters in Architecture in France

1. Research and Selection

  • Identify Programs: Start by researching institutions that offer Master's programs in Architecture in France. Consider factors such as the program's focus, faculty expertise, facilities, and potential opportunities for practical experience or internships.

  • Understand Requirements: Each program has its own set of admission requirements. Common criteria include a relevant Bachelor’s degree, language proficiency, a portfolio, and sometimes work experience.

2. Prepare Application Materials

  • Bachelor’s Degree: You'll need a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture or a closely related field. Ensure your degree is recognized by the French higher education system.

  • Portfolio: A key component of your application, the portfolio should showcase your best architectural projects, designs, and any relevant work.

  • Language Proficiency:

    • For French-taught programs: Non-native speakers typically need to demonstrate proficiency through tests like TCF, DELF, or DALF. B2 level is commonly required.

    • For English-taught programs: Proof of English proficiency through TOEFL or IELTS scores is required if you’re a non-native speaker.

  • Letters of Recommendation: Usually, two to three letters from academic or professional referees who can attest to your abilities and potential for graduate study.

  • Statement of Purpose: This should articulate your academic interests, career goals, and reasons for choosing the program.

  • CV/Resume: Include your educational background, work experience, internships, and any other activities relevant to the field of architecture.

3. Submit Your Application

  • Follow the institution's specific guidelines for submitting your application, which may involve an online application portal. Pay attention to deadlines, as these can vary by program and institution.

  • Some schools may charge an application fee.

4. Interviews

  • Some programs may invite you for an interview as part of the admissions process. Interviews can be conducted in person, by phone, or via video conferencing.

5. Acceptance and Enrollment

  • If your application is successful, you’ll receive an offer of admission. Carefully review the offer and any conditions attached before accepting.

  • Confirm your acceptance by the specified deadline, which may involve paying a deposit or completing additional administrative steps.

6. Visa Application

  • International students from outside the EU/EEA will need to apply for a student visa. Start this process early to ensure you have your visa in time for the start of your program. You'll need to provide proof of acceptance into the program, financial means, health insurance, and accommodation arrangements.

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Scholarships for doing Masters in Architecture in France

French Government Scholarships

  • Eiffel Excellence Scholarship Program: Aimed at attracting top international students to French master’s programs, this scholarship covers monthly allowances, travel costs, health insurance, and cultural activities. It's highly competitive and is open to candidates in architecture among other fields.

  • Campus France: Offers a comprehensive list of scholarships available to international students pursuing higher education in France, including those specifically for architecture students.

Institutional Scholarships

Many architecture schools and universities in France offer their own scholarships or financial aid packages for international students based on merit, financial need, or specific criteria such as country of origin. Examples include:

  • The Paris School of Architecture: Offers a limited number of scholarships to international students based on merit and financial need.

  • Ecole Spéciale d’Architecture: Occasionally has scholarships or reduced fees available for international students.

External Scholarships

  • Fulbright Program: For U.S. students, the Fulbright Program offers scholarships for studying abroad, including France. These can cover tuition, living expenses, and travel.

  • Erasmus+: While primarily known for exchange programs within Europe, Erasmus+ also offers scholarships for master’s degrees that can include architecture programs. These scholarships cover tuition, living expenses, and travel.

Regional and Country-Specific Scholarships

  • Some regions or countries have specific scholarship programs designed to support their residents in studying abroad. For example, the DAAD in Germany offers scholarships for German students studying internationally, including in France.

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Career after Masters in Architecture in France

Architectural Design and Practice

  • Design Architect: Working in architectural firms, designing residential, commercial, or public buildings, and participating in all phases of architectural projects from concept to construction.

  • Project Architect: Leading projects, coordinating with clients, consultants, and construction teams, and ensuring projects meet deadlines, budgets, and regulatory requirements.

Specializations within Architecture

  • Sustainable and Green Architecture: Specializing in designing energy-efficient buildings and structures that minimize environmental impact.

  • Urban Design and Planning: Focusing on the design and development of urban spaces, considering social, economic, and environmental aspects.

  • Heritage Conservation: Working on the preservation, restoration, and adaptive reuse of historic buildings and sites.

  • Landscape Architecture: Designing outdoor public areas, landmarks, and structures to achieve environmental, social-behavioral, or aesthetic outcomes.

Academia and Research

  • Pursuing a career in teaching and research within universities and architectural schools, contributing to the advancement of architectural knowledge and practices.

International Career Opportunities

  • With a Master's in Architecture from France, graduates are well-prepared for careers in various international contexts, thanks to the global perspective and skills acquired during their studies. This can lead to opportunities in multinational architectural firms, international organizations, or projects abroad.


  • Starting an architectural firm or a startup focused on innovative architectural solutions, technology in architecture, or sustainable design practices.

Related Fields and Interdisciplinary Roles

  • Construction Management: Overseeing construction projects from start to finish, ensuring they are completed on time, within budget, and according to specifications.

  • Real Estate Development: Working with developers on the planning, financing, and development of construction projects.

  • Architectural Journalism and Media: Writing and reporting on architecture, design trends, and related topics for publications, websites, and other media outlets.

  • Public Sector and Policy: Working in government or non-profit organizations on urban planning, housing policy, environmental regulations, and community development projects.

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