Grenoble Alpes University
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About UGA

Grenoble Alpes University (UGA, French: Université Grenoble Alpes) is a public university in Grenoble, France. It is the third largest university in France with about 45,000 students and over 3,000 researchers.

Founded in 1339 as University of Grenoble, it was split in 1970s following changes in French politics, only to be reunited again in 2016 under the name Grenoble Alpes University.

UGA is traditionally known for its research and education in the natural science and engineering, but also law, linguistics, and psychology. It is often cited among the best and most innovative universities in Europe.

The university is organized around two closely located urban campuses: Domaine Universitaire of 175 ha in Saint-Martin-d'Hères and Campus GIANT of 250 ha in Grenoble. UGA also owns and operates facilities in Valence, Chambéry, Les Houches, Villar-d'Arêne, Mirabel, Échirolles, La Tronche and Gières.

Grenoble is one of the biggest scientific centers of Europe. It hosts facilities of every existing public research institution in France. This allows UGA to have hundreds of research and teaching partnerships, including close collaboration with the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) and the French Atomic Energy and Alternative Energies Commission (CEA). Overall, Grenoble as a city is the largest research center in France after Paris with 22,800 researchers.

Grenoble is also renowned for the excellence of its academic research in humanities and political sciences. University Grenoble Alpes, alongside public scientific institutions, hosts some of the largest research centers in France in fields such as political science, urban planning or the sociology of organizations.

History of UGA

Early history (1339–1800)

Grenoble Alpes University was founded in May 12, 1339 by Humbert II of Viennois, the last independent ruler of Dauphiné (state of the Holy Roman Empire), to teach civil and canon law, medicine, and the liberal arts.

Humbert's actions were inspired by his granduncle Robert, King of Naples, at whose royal court Humbert spent his youth. King Robert, known as the Wise, skilfully developed Naples from a small port to a lavish city and had a reputation of a cultured man and a generous patron of the arts, friends with such great minds as Petrarch, Boccaccio, and Giotto.

Such rich experience contributed to Humbert's intention to create a university in his own state, and to do so he visited Pope Benedict XII to get a papal bull of approval.

Humbert cared deeply about his students, offering generous aid, protection, and even providing a hundred of them with free housing. Humbert's financial losses during the Smyrniote crusades, Black Death, and Dauphiné's attachment to France have greatly decreased the activity of the university leading to its closure, since a small mountainous town couldn't support its activity on its own.

It was reopened again by Louis XI of France in 1475 in Valence under the name University of Valence, while the original university was restored in Grenoble in 1542 by Francis de Bourbon, Count of St. Pol. The two universities were finally reunited in 1565. At that point Grenoble was an important center of law practice in France. It is no wonder that law practice was at the center of the university education.

The French Revolution, with its focus on the end to inherited privilege, led to the suppression of most universities in France. To revolutionaries, universities embodied bastions of corporatism and established interests. Moreover, lands owned by the universities and utilized for their support represented a source of wealth and therefore were confiscated, just as property possessed by the Church.

Modern era (1800–1968)

In 1805–1808, Napoleon reestablished faculties of law, letters, and science. Bourbon Restoration had temporarily suppressed the Faculty of Letters and the Faculty of Law, but starting 1850s the activity of the university was rapidly developing again.

The development of the sciences at the university was spearheaded by the transformation of Grenoble from a regional center to a major supplier of industrial motors and electrical equipment in 1880s. The faculties were formally inaugurated as the University of Grenoble in 1879 in the newly constructed Place de Verdun. There were around 3000 students in 1930.

Recent history (1968–present)

Following riots among university students in May 1968, a reform of French education occurred. The Orientation Act (Loi d’Orientation de l’Enseignement Superieur) of 1968 divided the old faculties into smaller subject departments, decreased the power of the Ministry of Education, and created smaller universities, with strengthened administrations.

Thus, sharing the fate of all French universities in 1970s, University of Grenoble was split into four institutions. Each university had different areas of concentration of study and the faculties were divided as follows:

  • Medical University of Grenoble), which in 1987 was renamed Joseph Fourier University (UJF), for sciences, health, and technology,
  • University of Economics and Law, which in 1987 was renamed Pierre Mendès-France University (UPMF), for social sciences and humanities,
    • Grenoble Institute of Political Studies, affiliated with UPMF and focusing on political science,
  • University of Languages and Letters, which in 1987 was renamed Stendhal University, for arts and languages,
  • Grenoble Institute of Technology (Grenoble-INP) for engineering.

On 1 January 2016, the first three institutions reunited to restore the original common institution under the name Grenoble Alpes University. Although Grenoble-INP remains apart, it is an active member of the community Grenoble Alpes University and cooperates very closely with the university not only in research projects, but also by sharing labs, offering mutual courses and trainings for students and researchers etc.


France requirements for international students

France propose a world-class higher education institutions in an international environment. The application process for international students is exactly the same as it is for french students but it's indispensable to contact with a platform “Etude in France” and the regional department of “Campus France” (a public institution in charge of promoting higher education and managing the reception and international mobility of students).

Higher education is thus provided by two main types of institution: universities and "grandes écoles". «Grandes écoles» are the most reputable of the French education system. To win admission students get in by competitive examination, the institutions are relatively small, and classes in them small too. French universities are open to all “bacheliers”, or a student whom has passed their baccalaureate, and it's also easier to apply for the university program. 

It is necessary to point out that the European local or an international student have to complete the application process in its entirety,  as well as submit all documentation at the time of submission so the procces suit to the ground for the students all over the world. Students are eligible for grants and other financial assistance from the governement to support study in France.


Rankings

Grenoble Alpes University
  Global National
QS Ranking 206 6
Times Higher Education 201-250 /
ARWU 151-200 7-9
CWUR Ranking 167 8
Reuters Most Innovative Univ. 93 6

Student life @UGA

The cost of living

Expenditure to anticipate for when you arrive

  • Accommodation guarantee deposit (caution): equivalent of one month's rent
  • Health insurance (215€ for students)
  • Accommodation insurance: the cost depends on the type of lodging. You should reckon on between 20 and 80 € per year.
  • The OFII fiscal stamp to regularize your stay in France: 58€ if you have a 'student' visa
  • Various other expenses (university study supplies, odds and ends for your accommodation, opening a bank account)

Principal monthly expenses 

  • Accommodation:
    • Student residence (CROUS): 200 to 600 € per month
    • In a private residence: 450 to 600 € per month 
    • A 20m2 apartment in town: average price: 400 to 500 € per month 
    • Electricity and gas bills: around 50€ per month
    • Water: around 15€ a month
  • Telecommunication: Acquisition of a mobile telephone with SIM card and internet subscription: about 30 € per month
  • Transport:
    • Local transport (tram and bus) pass: 15 or 54 € per month depending on your age (Grenoble)
    • Bicycle rental: up to 25 € per month (Grenoble)

Everyday expenses

  • A midday meal in a restaurant: 10-14 €
  • A 'baguette' : 1 €
  • A meal in a university restaurant: 3.25 €
  • A coffee in a bar or cafe:1.50€
  • A beer: 3 €
  • A cinema ticket: 6 to 11 €

Eating

French cuisine is known for its refinement and sophistication. Each region has its specialities which form part of the French cultural heritage. In the Rhone-Alpes region, you can savour the delights of a gratin dauphinois (a special easy-to-make potato dish), ravioles (a local form of ravioli pasta with cheese filling), diots (special Savoyard sausages), la tarte aux noix (the area around Grenoble being a world centre of walnuts!), not to forget the celebrated vins de Savoie (from the vineyards on the mountain slopes near Chambery). The French generally eat three times a day. They take a breakfast when they get up, then a lunch between 12 and 2 p.m. (when many shops and places of work are shut!) and un diner about 7 to 8 in the evening.

Eating in university restaurants

The university restaurants, commonly called Restos U' or RU' constitute the most economical solution for having a complete and balanced meal. These restaurants and cafeterias run by the CROUS are open to all members of the university community, from Monday to Friday in the middle of the day - and evening as well for some of them. Payment has to be made with a Moneo card, but some also accept cash.
If you are a salaried doctoral student, you can eat in a university staff restaurant and you should inquire from your human resources services where such staff restaurants are to be found. If you are a salaried doctoral student attached to a research institution, you should inquire from your human resources services if there exists a staff restaurant and how you can have access to it.

Eating in town

If you want to eat out, you have plenty of choice: cafes, sandwich bars, fast-food outlets, brasseries (pub-style restaurants), etc. Normal prices can go from about 4€ for a sandwich to 25€ for a complete meal (first course, main course, dessert), but you can pay much more in Grenoble's best restaurants. You should note that many restaurants are shut on a Sunday.

Shopping

If you have cooking facilities in your residence, you will find lots of food shops near the campuses. But remember that most of these will be closed on Sundays. You should also discover the many open-air markets which are set up in town squares in most neighbourhoods, generally from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. These are good for buying fresh produce: fruit, vegetables, cheeses, meat, etc. 

Services of UGA

It goes without saying that the mountains and great outdoors are bound to play a part in the life of any student enrolling at Grenoble, but culture is no less absent for all that. On campus in particular, there is a wealth of inspiring cultural activities thanks to a great many committed and creative stakeholders. The myriad cultural facilities on-site thrum with initiatives and events all year round, leaving students spoilt for choice!

The UGA, your cultural stakeholder

Got a cultural activity idea or keen on getting involved in one? The Culture & Scientific and Technical Culture Department can help and advise you. 
It provides university culture project promoters with the human, financial and technical resources they need to create and rehearse in the Université Grenoble Alpes’ top performing arts venue: l'Amphidice. 

Sport 

No other university can boast of the close proximity of three massive mountain ranges and natural parks (the Belledonne, Chartreuse and the Vercors) and the proximity of the highest mountain peaks in the western Alps (Mont Blanc, the Vannoise range and the Ecrins). This remarkable location is unique and this means that mountain sports and winter sports play a very special role in the life of many students and staff at Universite de Grenoble. You should take advantage of this - and join in!

The ‘Bureau Culture’ at the Communauté Université Grenoble Alpes

In Grenoble, the Culture and Students Initiatives Bureau has at its main mission the promotion and support of cultural projects undertaken by students. With its office in the Espace Accueil Information, at the centre of the campus, its staff will be happy to inform you about:

  •  What's On' in cultural events of interest to all students: the Bureau publishes every month a little booklet called Un Tramway nommé culture.
  • Student clubs and associations for practicing the arts (e.g. choral groups, musical instrumental groups).
  • What's On' in entertainment and cultural events off-campus and in the region.

The bureau also organizes campus visits with its many works of art and invites practicing artists to meet students.

Learning French in Grenoble

Le Centre Universitaire d'Études Françaises (CUEF)

This University Centre for Studying French (generally known as le CUEF) is a department of Université Grenoble Alpes. It organizes courses and training sessions throughout the year (and particularly in summer) for foreigners coming to study in Grenoble. The main aim is to develop both oral and written competences in the language as well as knowledge of French culture and civilization. Three types of courses are offered:

  • Monthly courses: intensive courses with emphasis on improving writing skills
  • Semester-long courses: in French language and French culture
  • Specifically tailored courses: adapting to the French university; preparing for university (new course); preparation for the DELF diploma (Diplome d'etudes en langue francaise) and the DALF advanced diploma (Diplome approfondi de langue francaise).

Le Centre d'apprentissage en autonomie (CAA)

This autonomous language learning centre is open to everyone who wishes to start learning a language or to improve their skills in a language. You yourself can decide how much time you wish (or can) devote to this and fix your own timetable. There are two possibilities for learning French as a foreign language:

  • An entirely self-learning process for those who want to work on their own, using the course methods and audio, video and multimedia material provided by the Centre.
  • A self-learning process with monitoring and guidance for those who want some personalized help, from a teacher or monitor who sets the program and follows the progress of the pupil in meetings during the year, setting learning objectives.

Why choose the Université Grenoble Alpes?

The university offers great resources for international students, faculty, and staff, while Grenoble offers an unparalleled quality of life.

The Université Grenoble Alpes (UGA) is one of France’s leaders in higher education and research. A comprehensive, global university, the UGA enrolls about 45,000 students each year in its high-quality academic programs, and maintains 80 research centers in all disciplines.

High-Quality Academics

The UGA offers a wide range of programs at the undergraduate, masters and doctoral levels, open to all students regardless of nationality. We also offer a range of programs taught in English, as well as a variety of innovative programs preparing students for study and work in a global marketplace. 
The UGA is a great choice for short-stay programs: students from our exchange partners can study abroad with us for either a semester or a full year, and the UGA Summer School combines high quality scientific training with a variety of outdoor, cultural, and linguistic activities.

Innovation and Research

An international leader in both pure and applied research, the UGA also benefits from a uniquely innovative setting. Our researchers enjoy ties to a thriving local community of international businesses and industry, particularly in scientific and high-tech fields. We are also able to collaborate with major European research facilities located in and around Grenoble to produce outstanding results.

Campus Life

Located on a self-contained, 175 hectare campus, the UGA offers a wide range of activities for students, faculty, and staff. Community members can volunteer, get involved in arts and culture, or participate in one of 35 different sports – there’s something for everyone. International students can also join the university-sponsored, student-run international student association, IntEGre.

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