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. The upcoming call for applications will open on 25 May 2023 for students who intend to start their studies in France in September 2024.
This call for applications is open to all fields of study.
The France - South Africa Scholarship Programme of the French Embassy to 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) as well as well-known and high level academics from France and South Africa.
Eligible study programmes
The study programmes eligible for the France South Africa scholarship programme are masters or PhD programmes in a French higher education institution located in France.
To be eligible for the France - South Africa Scholarship Programme, applicants must be:
- Born on or after 1st January 1994.
- A citizen of South Africa, Lesotho or Malawi.
- 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 in a timeline. 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 of France, then applicants must specify all the details and his/her intentions, during the application process.
Two schemes are possible under the France - South Africa Scholarship Programme:
A full scholarship by the Embassy of France. It includes:
- The status of a France Excellence scholarship holder which includes social security, priority for accessing student housing, visa fee exemption and assistance offered by Campus France Paris.
- A return flight ticket to France.
- A monthly allowance (approximately 850 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 via the CAF.
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 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 if they obtain any additional funding.
The application file is to be submitted online only and must include:
For all applicants
- A complete application form (online).
- A passport copy.
- An up-to-date résumé that also states the candidate’s entire academic history.
- A cover letter explaining motivations and interests in the planned academic project.
- Copies of academic degree certificates (Bachelor or Master only).
- University transcripts (academic marks) of at least two years of studies.
For Master's level candidates
- Candidates will need to provide proof of acceptance at one of the study programmes indicated during their application. Proof of acceptance must be provided between February and May/June 2024. During the application process, candidates are encouraged to submit their email exchanges with their chosen higher education institutions in France in place of the acceptance letter.
- List of identified study programmes that the student intends on applying to, including link to the programmes webpages, the application dates for these courses and the tuition fees. A maximum of 3 study programmes is permitted, and should be entered by order of preference.
For PhD applicants
- A supervisor commitment letter (or by the two supervisors, South African and French in case of a co-tutelle) 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 (unless it has already been signed) 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 and, if it is already signed, a co-tutelle agreement.
- 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 review and select "final submission" 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.
Applicants will be shortlisted on the basis of their files. Candidates whose applications have been pre-selected 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 co-supervision and commitment of South African and French supervisors will be decisive;
- The level of proficiency in foreign languages and its adequacy with the chosen study programmes.
Deliberations and final decisions are beyond dispute.
Publication of the results
Applicants must not take the initiative to make follow-up contacts regarding the status of their application. Candidates and laureates will be contacted individually if needed. Final results will be announced in November/December 2023.
The results announced in November/December will consist of a "main list" with the potential laureates of the France - South Africa Scholarship Programme. The final awarding of a scholarship, will be confirmed in 3 waves announced between April and July 2024, and will depend on the acceptance in the chosen study programmes by the French Higher Education Institutions and the priorities as determened by the Advisory Board.
No ranking on any of the lists is communicated to the applicants. Candidates on the main list need to comply with all the administrative requirements and rules of the scholarship programme.
For the candidates on the main list
- They must finalize their enrolment in the study programme that they indicated during their application to the scholarship.
- They must attend the intensive online French courses that will be provided for them between February 2024 and June 2024.
- Depending on the opportunities and the profiles of the laureates, an internship may be proposed in a French company or organisation based in South Africa.
- After their departure to France, the student needs to commit to the study project that he or she has been selected for. Any changes in the study programme of the grant holder must be submitted to the French Embassy for approval.
- They must be in France for the whole period of his/her studies.