France South Africa Scholarship Programme 2023

The France – South Africa Scholarship Programme is directed to South African students who intend to study in universities or higher education institutions in France for their Master’s degree or PhD.

The programme is also open to students from Lesotho and Malawi.

The call for applications is launched every year in April/May. The upcoming call for application will open on 12 April 2022 for students who intend to start their studies in France in September 2023. The list of the laureates and the waiting list are announced in November/December each year. Due to the differences between the Southern and Northern hemisphere calendars, laureates will follow a specific track in South Africa from January to July. This track will include online French courses organised by the network of the Alliances Françaises. It may also include an internship in French Companies based in South Africa, depending on the opportunities and the profile of each laureate.

This call for applications is open to all fields of study. Science, engineering and technology fields and niche courses not available in South Africa may be prioritised.

The France – South Africa Scholarship Programme of the French Embassy in South Africa is based on a highly selective call for candidates in order to strengthen high level exchanges between France and South Africa. An Advisory Board Committee, set by the French Embassy, will monitor the programme and the selection process. The Advisory Board involves representatives from the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET), the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI), the National Research Foundation (NRF), the French South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FSACCI), the joint office of CNRS, IRD and CIRAD in South Africa as well as well-known and high level academics from France and South Africa.

Deliberations and final decisions are beyond dispute.

Eligible study programmes

The study programmes eligible for the France South Africa scholarship programmes are the following:

  • Any master or PhD programme in a French higher education institution located in France.
  • Master and PhD programmes in few higher education institutions on the African continent are eligible as well. The list of these eligible institutions can be found here.
  • The particular case of Master programmes (M2 – second year) at the University of la Réunion (France), should be considered as they benefit from additional fundings provided by the University of la Réunion itself.

Eligibility requirements

To be eligible for the France – South Africa Scholarship Progralle, applicants must be:

  • Born on or after 1st January 1992.
  • A South African, Basotho or Malawian national.
  • Enrolled in a French Higher Education institution (in due time) to pursue a Master’s degree or PhD.

The scholarship is granted for a given period to be spent in France, matching the necessary time required to obtain the degree:

  • For Master’s degree, the scholarship will be granted for a duration between 10 and 22 months. Master degree programmes are two years long. In some specific cases (Bachelor degree with Honours, for example), students may consider applying directly to M2 (second-year of the Master Programme). Only the hosting higher education institution is responsible for the admission. At the end of the first academic year, the Embassy of France will verify the success of the student to continue her/his studies in the second year of the Master’s programme.
  • For PhDs, the scholarship will be granted for a maximum duration of 3 years. However, at the end of each academic year, in order to get the renewal of his/her grant, the recipient will have to justify the progress of their research work.
  • In case of a PhD under co-supervision/cotutelle, periods of stay in France should be specified. The scholarship will only be granted for the periods spent in France.
  • For PhD and Master Degrees, if the curriculum requires course work which will take place outside France, then applicant must specify all the details and his/her intentions, in the application process.

Scholarship types

Two schemes are possible under the France South Africa Scholarship Programme:

full scholarship by the Embassy of France. It includes:

  • The status of scholarship-holder of the French Government which includes social security, priority for accessing student housing, visa fee exemption and assistance offered by Campus France Paris.
  • The payment of tuition fees, not exceeding 5000€ per year.
  • A return flight ticket to France.
  • A monthly allowance (approximately 700 euros for master students and 1400 euros for PhD students).
  • An additional individualized accommodation aid (approximately 150 euros/month) can be obtained from the French Government.

In the second scheme of a cost sharing scholarship, the monthly allowance will be provided fully or partially by a partner (a partner among the Advisory Board, a company, a higher education institution or any other funding agency). All the other benefits of a full scholarship will still be provided by the Embassy of France. This scheme can be proposed by the candidate during the application process or by the Advisory Board for some of the laureates. In this last case, preselected applicants must comply with the instructions by the French Embassy in order to secure the co-funding.

Applicants are advised that the University of la Réunion, is providing additional fundings and that their applications, if selected, will benefit from a cost-sharing scheme.

Applicants are highly encouraged to look for other sources of financing from his/her own local or French higher education institution but also from private sector companies. Specific attention will be given to applicants who have found other sources of financing for their academic project. Nevertheless, the commitment of the parents or a family business is not considered as a co-funding.

At all times, applicants or laureates must inform the Embassy of France in case they have obtained any additional funding.

Online application

The application file is to be submitted online only and must include:

For all applicants

  • A complete application form (online).
  • A copy of passport.
  • An up-to-date résumé that also states the candidate’s entire academic record.
  • A cover letter explaining motivations and interests in the planned academic project.
  • Copies of academic degree certificates (Bachelor or Master only).
  • University transcripts of the last two years of studies.

For Master level candidates

  • Candidates will need to provide proof of acceptance at one of the study programme indicated during their application, between February and May/June 2023. During the application process, candidates are encouraged to submit their email exchanges with the host higher education institutions in France.
  • List of identified study programmes that the student intends on applying to, including the application dates for these courses and the tuition fees.

For PhD applicants

  • An attestation, signed by your supervisor, indicating her/his commitment to supervise your thesis; or, in case of co-supervision, an attestation signed by the two supervisors (South African and French) indicating their commitment to supervise in France and in South Africa. In the case of co-supervision, this attestation needs to indicate that a cotutelle agreement will be established, that enrolment will be at both universities and that a degree will be awarded by the French higher education institution.
  • A detailed description of the research project (2/3 pages) including a detailed work plan.
  • In case of co-supervision, a detailed plan of the various periods to be spent in France during the research work. A signed cotutelle agreement is also necessary.

Optional documents

  • Cost-sharing commitment letter from the corresponding organisation.
  • Academic and/or professional recommendation.
  • Language proficiency certificates: French (TCF, DELF, DALF, academic degree…).

All candidates will need to register on the website to apply online. They can connect any time before the deadline. It is compulsory to validate the final application online before the deadline. After the final submission, it will not be possible to modify the application anymore. A delivery status notification will be sent by e-mail to the applicants after the final online submission of application. Incomplete applications or applications which would fail to meet the deadline will be automatically rejected.

Selection process

Applicants will be shortlisted on the basis of their files. Candidates whose applications have been preselected will be interviewed. In order to identify grant recipients, the Advisory board will consider:

  • The candidate’s skills and merit as indicated by his/her academic record and professional background.
  • The quality of his/her studies project and its coherence with his/her background.
  • For PhD applicants, the Advisory Board will favour PhDs under joint supervision and commitment of South African and French supervisors will be decisive;
  • The level of proficiency in foreign languages and its adequacy with the suggested curriculum.

Deliberations and final decisions are beyond dispute.


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