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Top universities in France

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Keshala Jayawickrama

Updated Mar 27, 2024
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France boasts 35 entrants in the QS World University Rankings 2024, with four entrants ranked within the global top 100. 

The QS World University Rankings are based on nine indicators: academic reputation, employer reputation, faculty student ratio, citations per faculty, international faculty ratio, international students ratio, international research network, employment outcomes and sustainability. You can find more details about the methodology behind the subject rankings here.    

Think you’d like to study in the land of croissants, champagne and camembert? Here’s a closer look at the country’s top 10 universities. 

QS World University Rankings 2024: Top universities in France 

France rank 

Global rank 

University 

24 

Université PSL (Paris Sciences & Lettres) 

=38 

Institut Polytechnique de Paris 

59 

Sorbonne University 

71 

Université Paris-Saclay 

=184 

Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon 

=192 

Ecole des Ponts ParisTech 

236 

Université Paris Cité 

294 

Université Grenoble Alpes 

=319 

Sciences Po 

10 

=328  

Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne 

 

10. Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne

 

Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne

Flickr: tathibodeau

Ranked 10th in the list of top global universities in France and sharing 328th position globally this year is the Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne. The highest score achieved by the university is for the academic reputation indicator, where it’s ranked 104th in the world. 

The university was founded in 1971 by two faculties of the University of Paris. Today the school specialises in economic and management sciences, human sciences and legal and political sciences. 

9. Sciences Po 

The ninth best university in France this year is Sciences Po Paris which holds a global rank of joint 319th. The highest score achieved is for the international students’ ratio and the university is also ranked 55th globally for the employment outcomes indicator.  

Sciences Po Paris is a university that specialises in law, economics, social science, politics, history and related fields. It has around 14,000 students, of which almost half are international, with more than 150 nationalities represented on campus. 

8. Université Grenoble Alpes

Moving up two places from last year’s rankings, Université Grenoble Alpes is ranked eighth in the list of top global universities in France this year and has surged to 294th place globally, marking a significant climb of 23 spots. The university has achieved their highest score in the international research network indicator, for which it’s ranked 64th globally. 

Founded in the year 1339, the University of Grenoble Alpes is located mainly in the Grenoble metropolitan area and in the city of Valence. The university primarily specialises in a wide range of disciplines, including but not limited to: science, technology, engineering, social sciences, humanities, and business. 

7. Université Paris Cité

Université Paris Cité

While maintaining the previous year’s seventh position in France, Université Paris Cité has climbed up 12 spots to be ranked 236th globally this year. The highest score achieved is for the international research network indicator, for which the university is ranked 11th in the world. 

Université Paris Cité is an intensive research university that contributes to French and European scientific power and the national economy.  The university's dedicated research units in health, science, and humanities subject areas make it a compelling choice for students passionate about these fields. 

6. École des Ponts ParisTech

École des Ponts ParisTech

Ranked sixth in France for the fourth consecutive year, École des Ponts ParisTech is ranked joint 192nd globally in 2024. The highest score achieved is for the faculty:student ratio, for which the university is ranked 45th in the world. 

Established in 1747, the university has a rich history of producing high-level engineers, future leaders, and researchers equipped to tackle society's challenges. As a founding member of ParisTech, it upholds a tradition of excellence in education and innovation.  

Despite its smaller size, with just over 2,000 students, it offers a dynamic learning environment and personalised attention to each student. 

5. École Normale Supérieure de Lyon

École Normale Supérieure de Lyon

With a global rank of joint 184th, École Normale Supérieure de Lyon is the fifth best university in France this year. The university has scored excellently in the citations per faculty, ranking 27th in the world. 

Another of the Grande écoles, École Normale Supérieure de Lyon is an elite public university in France which trains researchers and teachers in the humanities and sciences. With its strong emphasis on research and academic excellence, the university attracts students interested in fields such as mathematics, physics, computer science, philosophy, literature, linguistics, economics, and political science, among several others. 

4. ENS Paris-Saclay

ENS Paris-Saclay

Université Paris-Saclay is ranked fourth in France for the third consecutive year while securing 71st rank globally. Having secured several near-perfect scores across indicators, the highest score achieved is for the faculty:student ratio. The university is also ranked 13th globally for the employer reputation indicator, showcasing the employability of their graduates. 

Being one of the major European and global universities, Université Paris-Saclay provides education in the areas of science and engineering, life sciences and health, and humanities and social sciences.  

3. Sorbonne University

Sorbonne University

Sorbonne University is ranked 59th in the world in 2024 while maintaining their position as the third best university in France. The university has achieved a perfect score for the international research network indicator, ranking fourth in the world. 

This university was established in 2018 as a result of a merger between Paris-Sorbonne University and Pierre et Marie Curie University and is one of the top public universities in France. The study areas that the university specialises in are mainly humanities, languages and social sciences, science and engineering, and health sciences. 

2. Institut Polytechnique de Paris

Institut Polytechnique de Paris

Institut Polytechnique de Paris has climbed up 10 places to rank joint 38th in the world while maintaining their position as the second-best university in France for the third consecutive year. Having scored excellently across all indicators, the highest score attained is for the employer reputation indicator, for which the university is ranked 10th in the world. 

Located 30km outside the Paris city centre, the campus offers 120 hectares of green space for its 4,600 students to enjoy. Institut Polytechnique de Paris unites five prestigious French engineering schools offering world-class education and research opportunities in various fields of engineering, technology and applied sciences. 

1. Université PSL (Paris Sciences & Lettres)

Paris Sciences et Lettres Research University (PSL)

Finally, ranked 24th in the world and first among the top universities in France, Université PSL (Paris Sciences & Lettres) is a collegiate university which was formed in 2010 and is made up of nine constituent colleges, including the highly selective École normale supérieure (ENS Paris). 

Université PSL has demonstrated exceptional performance across all indicators, particularly excelling in the international research network category, where it has achieved a perfect score, ranking third globally. Additionally, the university has earned high scores for the faculty-student ratio and employer reputation, further solidifying its reputation as a top-tier institution. 

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