Studying in Toulouse – A Guide for Postgraduate Students
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Studying in Toulouse – A Guide for Postgraduate Students

Written by Taru Medha

A student-friendly city in the south of France, Toulouse is steeped in culture and must be on your radar if you’re thinking of doing a postgraduate course in France.

This guide contains everything you need to know about studying your PhD in Toulouse as an international student covering top universities, living costs, employment opportunities and more.

Why study your PhD in Toulouse?

Here is an overview on what’s on offer for PhD students in Toulouse

  • Location: Toulouse is a prime location in France, blessed with the southern French sun. It’s close enough to both the Pyrènèes for hiking and skiing and the beaches for when you need a break from studying. You can also easily travel to other places in Europe (Barcelona is just a six-hour train ride away!).
  • Just the right size: It’s home to one of the biggest student populations in the country but is just the right size to accommodate everyone. The city has a number of parks, museums, café’s and bars to visit and yet nowhere takes too long to get to. Places in Toulouse are all easily accessible by foot and bike.
  • Affordable: Toulouse is considered to be one of the more affordable places to study in France. Rent, utilities and food costs are all cheaper than the national average making it the perfect place for students, especially if you’re on a budget.

Top universities in Toulouse for postgraduate study

The Times Higher Education World Ranking clubs a few different universities in Toulouse under the umbrella of The University of Toulouse. The University of Toulouse is an association of 14 different higher education institutions in the Mid-Pyrènèes region. It’s split into specialised institutions, and we’ve picked out some of the best ones for postgraduate students.

Universite Paul Sabatier Toulouse III

The Universite Paul Sabatier offers comprehensive programmes in Health, Technology and Sports, establishing itself as one of the top-ranked university in France. With its expansive campus and influential scientific research, the university has earned a well-deserved reputation for excellence.

Universite Toulouse 1 Capitole

Specialising in social sciences, University Toulouse 1 Capitole focuses on courses in Economics, Law and Political Science. Owing to its quality contribution in research, the university has developed many exchange programmes across universities in Europe and outside that students can benefit from.

University of Toulouse – Jean Jaures

Focusing on humanities studies, the University Toulouse – Jean Jaures has great appeal for international students. The university hosts thousands of international students every year and has developed a number of student exchanges with European universities (under the ERASMUS+ programme) and nine universities in Quebec.

Living costs for students in Toulouse

Despite being the fourth largest city in the country, Toulouse is considered one of the more affordable student cities to live in.

The French government estimates that international students should budget €615 per month to cover living costs but how much you spend depends on where in the city you live and your lifestyle.

We’ve put together some typical costs for students in Toulouse, based on crowdsourced data from Numbeo.


Student Cost of Living in Toulouse - 2024
Monthly rent (1 bedroom apartment, city centre) €678.57
Monthly rent (1 bedroom apartment, outside city centre) €537.50
Restaurant meal €13.50
Cinema ticket €12
Monthly travel pass €54.50
Monthly utilities €147.75
Based on crowdsourced data published by Numbeo.

Even though prices in Toulouse are lower than the national average, you can opt to live in student halls or hostels to save on rent. Student residences in France are usually priced between €250-300 per month. Places at student halls are very competitive so it is a good idea to start applying as soon as possible.

Read more about accommodation in France

Our French accommodation guide covers everything you need to know about the different places you can rent during your degree.

Working during your degree in Toulouse

Whether you can work during your degree or not depends on your nationality. If you’re an EU/EEA national, you have the same rights as French students and can work as much as you want (provided university does not have a recommended hour cap). If you’re a non-EU/EEA national, you can work up to 964 hours per year or equivalent to 60% of a full-time job. Algerian students, however, are only allowed to work 50% of a full-time job.

As a student, you can get both on campus and off campus jobs. Some common on-campus jobs include tutoring, organising events or running student amenities like bars. PhD students can also take on research and teaching assistants in their departments. If you opt for an off-campus, part-time job, you can work at restaurants, bars or even give city tours.

Read more about working in France

Our guide covers everything you need to know about working in France during and after your studies.

Things to see in Toulouse

Toulouse is also called La Villa Rose, meaning the pink city, because of the pink bricks used in a lot of its architecture. There is so much to see and do in the city when you’re looking for a break from your studies.

For the more inquisitive, Toulouse has a number of museums for you to see. It is home to the Museum of Natural History, the Musee de Augustins and the Fondation Bemberg.

If you’re looking to soak up the sun outdoors, you can head to the Jardin Japonais, Toulouse’s very own Japanese themed garden complete with a zen garden.

When you’re in Toulouse, you cannot miss Le Capitol, the city hall and theatre house that dominates the central city square.

Toulouse is also home to the Canal Du Midi, an UNESCO World Heritage site, which starts from the city and runs for 250 km all the way to the Mediterranean Sea. You can now see the old barges that have been converted to houseboats where people actually live!

Careers in Toulouse

Toulouse is the home of the aeronautics and aerospace industry in France. Airbus, one of the world’s biggest aeronautics companies is headquartered in the city. You could find yourself working at one of the many engineering and manufacturing firms in the city after your course.

As an international graduate, you can avail a 12-month extension on your visa to stay and look for a job. You can convert to a fully fledged working visa once you have the promise of employment and with Toulouse’s bustling job market, it should not be difficult.

Find a PhD in Toulouse

Use our course search to browse the many PhD opportunities in Toulouse.




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Last Updated: 17 November 2023