French Embassy Master’s and PhD Full Scholarship 2023

The French embassy in South Africa is inviting qualified individuals who would be interested in pursuing their PhD or Master’s degree (school year 2023-24) through its France-South Africa Scholarship Programme. The programme accepts applications from students intending to pursue post-graduate studies in any field at higher tertiary institutions or universities in France.

This programme is made possible through the cooperation of South African and French governments in an effort to create and promote gainful relationships between their universities.

Students from Lesotho and Malawi are also eligible to apply for the scholarship.

French Embassy scholarship programme

French Embassy PhD and Master’s Scholarship Programme SY 2023-2024

The French Embassy is offering a scholarship programme that will allow students to pursue postgraduate studies (Master’s or PhD) at a university located in France. Students who have completed a three-year course are eligible to apply for an M1 level Master’s degree. Applicants who have finished a four-year/honours degree study are qualified to apply for an M2 level Master’s degree.

The scholarship award will cover 10 to 22 months of Master’s degree studies and upon completion of the first academic year, the French embassy will check the scholars’ academic progress to determine scholarship eligibility for the succeeding school year.

PhD scholarships offer maximum coverage of up to three (3) years. Renewal of the scholarship will depend on the student’s ability to substantiate the progress of his/her research work.

There are two scholarship schemes currently being offered, and are as follows:

A full scholarship will cover the following:

  • Tuition fee for the whole school year ( must not exceed 5,000 euros)
  • Social security
  • Return flight to France
  • Priority for student housing access
  • Visa fee exemption
  • Monthly allowance up to 1,400 euros for PhD students; master’s degree students may receive  up to 700 euros
  • Accommodation aid amounting to about 150 euros

The second type is called a cost-sharing scholarship – this is where a partner (e.g. a company, a higher education institution, or any funding agency) provides a full or partial monthly allowance while the rest of the benefits of a full scholarship are provided by the French Embassy

It is important to note that the programme may be awarded as much as possible to be able to accommodate more students in need of funding opportunities. A student who has access to another funding programme and openly declares it so has more chances of being chosen for the programme; thus it is highly recommended that applicants look for extra sources of funds to augment their primary scholarship fund.   For the 2017 to 2018 school year, 45 students received support from the programme as they pursue their Master’s or PhD degree.

Some of the scholars will push forward with their  studies in the following year in French higher education institutions, while there are others who will return home as France Alumni ambassadors to use their acquired skills for the benefit of South Africa. 

During the application process, Master’s and PhD degree applicants must declare coursework requirements that need to be accomplished outside of France

Who should apply?

The general minimum requirements to be considered eligible for the scholarship opportunity include:

  • Must have been born on or before 1 January 1992
  • A citizen of South Africa, Malawi, or Basotho
  • Gained admission to a higher education institution in France

For master’s degree students:

  • A South African or Lesotho citizen
  • Admission to any of the three French universities prescribed by the programme
  • Applicant must present proof of admission to any of the prescribed by the programme
  • Excellent English speaking skills
  • All academic disciplines are supported although preference  will be given to science and technology (environment and biodiversity, transport, energy, political and social sciences, among others)    

For PhD scholars:

  • Registered for PhD studies in a South African university
  • Must have obtained a hosting arrangement from the French institution
  • Letters from French co-supervisor and South African supervisor indicating support for the proposed research project
  • Applications from all studies are accepted
  • Although being able to speak French is not a requirement, the student must be able to carry out the research in English
  • Holds a professional or an academic recommendation     


What is the selection process?

The Advisory board will shortlist applicants based on:

  • Skills, professional background, and academic record
  • Quality of the research project and its relevance to the applicant’s background
  • PhD applicants covered by South African and French commitment and joint supervision will be given preference
  • High level of fluency in foreign languages, including its adequacy with the proposed curriculum

Note that Committee discourages all applicants from making queries regarding the status of their application as candidates will only be contacted on a need-only basis.

The final list of confirmed laureates, including a waiting list, will be released by November or December 2022.

Reminders for confirmed laureates

  • Finalize enrollment to the study programme indicated in their application
  • Participate in thorough French online courses to be provided by the Programme between February and June 2023
  • Internship in a French company/organization may be offered based on current opportunities and the laureate’s profile
  • Successful candidates must commit to their study programme; any changes to the study programme are subject to the approval of the French embassy
  • Must stay in France for the duration of the study

Reminders for wait-listed applicants

Depending on availability, there is a good chance for candidates on the waiting list to move up the list – and will be notified accordingly if the opportunity does come up. Thus, it is advisable to carry on with their enrollment and join the internships and online French courses. Failure to do so will result in removal from the list.


How to Apply

All applications are to be done online by accomplishing an online application form. It is recommended to use a desktop computer when applying. Be sure to have the following ready during the application process:

  • Copy of passport
  • A comprehensive resume highlighting the applicant’s entire academic record
  • Cover letter indicating the applicant’s interest and motivation in the intended academic project
  • Copies of academic qualifications (master’s or undergraduate studies only)
  • University records within the last two years

For Master’s level applicants

  • Proof of acceptance/admission at a study programme specified in their application
  • Email communication with the French higher education institution during the application process is preferred
  • List of study programmes the applicant seeks to pursue, including respective application dates and tuition fees

For PhD applicants

  • For PhD scholars, an outline of the research project
  • Website links to your chosen three academic institutions showing the fees (for master’s degree scholars)
  • Letter of support/attestation from two (2) supervisors (South African and French)
  • In a co-supervision setup, the attestation must show cotutelle agreement will be accepted i.e. enrollment at both universities and the French institution will award a degree
    • A detailed outline of the periods to be spent in France for the duration of the research project
    • A duly signed cotutelle agreement is a must

Optional documents

  • A letter of cost-sharing commitment from the corresponding organization
  • Professional and/or academic recommendations
  • French language proficiency certificates e.g. DELF, TCF, DALF, academic degree

All applicants will need to register their profile on the official website to be able to submit their application online. Make sure to verify all the information submitted are correct for the final application before the deadline as further modifications will no longer be possible after the final submission.

Click the link below to start the application process:

Apply online for the French Embassy PhD and Master’s Scholarship Programme SY 2023-2024.


Application Deadline?

The deadline for submission of applications is on 16 October 2022 at 23:59 South Africa time


Contact Information

For more details about the study programmes, educational institutions, and relevant opportunities in France, visit the Campus France South Africa website or go to straight to the FAQ section.

Click the link to view a PDF copy of the French Embassy PhD and Master’s Scholarship Programme SY 2023-2024 advert page.

If this scholarship has already been closed, please do not make any queries. View our other open scholarships or international scholarships for application.

Don’t miss out on the latest learnership updates. Like us on Facebook and follow @GoCareersSA for more information OR leave a comment below for further inquiries.

We are here to provide you an overview of all the latest internships, bursaries, apprenticeships, graduate programmes, learnerships and jobs opportunities that are available for application in South Africa.

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