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How to get into an architecture school in France?

How to get into an architecture school in France?

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You dream to become an architect… and we understand you! Combining technical and artistic skills, architecture is a very interesting and useful discipline. And where else could you want to study it but in the most beautiful country in the world? France has indeed a lot to offer! Besides beautiful girls, wine and cheese, you’ll find outstanding landscapes, dynamic cities and renowned architecture schools!

admission french architecture school

What studies do I have to do to become an architect in France?

Where to begin?

France has 22 architecture schools that deliver the Diplôme d’Etat d’Architecte after five years of study.

20 of them are ENSA, which means Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture or National Higher Schools of Architecture. They are managed by the Ministry of Higher Education. About 20 000 persons are currently studying in these public schools. You’ll find six of them in Île-de-France, and the rest of them are spread across the country.

Two more schools deliver a formation in architecture that is recognised by the French State:

  • INSA Strasbourg : this is the Institute of Sciences and Applied Arts, a public school of engineers ;
  • ESA : the Special School of Architecture, which is the only private school whose diploma is equivalent to the one awarded by the ENSAs.

How do I get into those schools?

We won’t lie to you. Getting into those architecture schools can be quite hard. But don’t worry! We are here to help you achieve your goals!

Most of the time, to get into an ENSA, the recruitment process is done on file. You have to send several documents to support your application, like:

  • Secondary transcripts and diplomas
  • A personal statement explaining your background, your goals and your motivation
  • A French language certificate
  • In some cases, a book filled with personal work and artistic creations.

If your file is accepted, it is likely that you’ll be invited to an interview to talk about you and your professional career goals.

Note that the whole process depends on the country you are from!

However, the admission process is completely different for INSA Strasbourg: it is a competitive examination, and you cannot take it unless you have already completed one year of study.

In either case, you should be fluent in French! It may seem silly to say, but in French architectural schools, courses are taught in French… Your level should be good enough so that you can understand, speak, write and read. Don’t forget that you’ll be competing against French students!

How can I choose the right school for me?

As we already stated, there are 22 architecture schools in France. That might seem a lot! Don’t be confused, here are some criteria that you should consider to pick the school that fits you:

  • Location location location! Your experience in France won’t be the same if you study in the middle of the countryside or in Paris, for example. You should think about where you want to leave. Do you prefer a small province town or the capital? Or maybe you’d like to live in a cultural city, like Versailles? If you want to enjoy nice weather all year long, you might consider going to the South of the country.
  • The way of teaching: all schools have different approaches, and don’t teach class the same way. For example, Belleville is particularly renowned for its courses focused on drawing.
  • The rankings: basically all architecture schools in France have the same level, and their diplomas are quite equivalent to each other. But you might want to see if some of them have better reputations than others.


Getting into a French architecture school is quite competitive, especially since you’ll be running against French people! You should speak the language fluently and demonstrate a real interest both for architecture and France. Don’t worry! Architektôn’s best teachers are here to help you out with your application!

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