The Université Grenoble Alpes (UGA) seeks to embody the values of the French research and higher education system. Chief among these are equality, accessibility, and excellence. The university also seeks to instill key values in its students, and to embody them in its research and community engagement: independence and freedom of expression and conscience.


France prioritizes research and higher education, devoting enormous resources to these key activities.

France’s investment in higher education pays off. France is a world leader in research and higher education, maintaining a high-performing system. France appears in the top ten countries on numerous rankings based on scientific publications, scientific impact, patents, and earned doctoral degrees. Grenoble ranks high within this system, appearing among the top ten French universities and the top 200 and top 250 universities world-wide.


French employees in the public sector, which includes higher education, are obligated by law to respect the principle of égalité de traitement. This means that two students in the same situation must be treated equally, regardless of race, religion, native language, nationality, sex/gender identity, or personal beliefs. The goal of these policies is to ensure an atmosphere free from discrimination and providing equity, and in that sense it is beneficial to all students, and especially to international students.


The French public higher education system, which is supported by the French government and by public, tax-payer money, is designed to support full-time study for all of its students. Low tuition costs and a system of bourses (need-based financial aid) for students with fewer financial resources mean that anyone can study full-time at the university level without taking on paying work during the regular school year. The government also maintains a housing subsidy for students designed to reduce their expenses while studying.

The UGA also provides targeted services to populations with specific needs. Specific resources allow handicapped students and personnel to pursue their studies or their work in equitable conditions, as well as to take part in community activities, such as sports. Special programs are also maintained for student athletes competing at the national or international level, and for international students and scholars who may require additional help integrating into French culture and the French university system, or need language support.


One of the goals of a French university education is to develop the capacity for independent thought. Much of the emphasis of the training offered, therefore, is on developing skills and acquiring methodological tools which will allow the student to express his or her own point of view and to support it with appropriate evidence.

Students, faculty and staff also participate in the UGA’s democratic processes. The university also does not answer to a board of trustees; French universities run as democracies, electing their leadership every five years. Every five years, the university community votes for a new CA (conseil d’aministration), and that body then elects a university president, much as a parliament elects a prime minister. This spirit of participative democracy is also alive and well in the strong role played by unions in university life.

Freedom of conscience and expression

The UGA embraces the larger French values of freedom of conscience and freedom of expression. Students, faculty, and staff are free to form and express their opinions in the spirit of debate, free inquiry, and democracy.

This value is particularly important for a productive and diverse research community: the UGA requires that researchers meet academic standards for appropriate research, but does not control the content or direction of their research and research interests. Doctoral students and faculty members pursue problems and questions that they find interesting and important, and they respond to the demands of their peers as they publish, present, or teach.

Updated on December 15, 2016