Ambition and strategy

Located at the heart of a Euroregion, the international dimension is central to the policy and actions of the University of Lille. Its ambition is to become France’s leading university in north-western Europe.
All of the University’s different structures are becoming increasingly international, with a wide range of innovative and cross-cultural programmes and projects. These combine training and research with the highest-quality support and openness to the wider world.


international students






students on overseas mobility

The University of Lille offers a wide range of modern and innovative courses with a strong international dimension.

Building on its rich and long-standing experience with online teaching platforms and remote learning, it supports innovation in teaching through the introduction of initiatives such as massive open online courses (MOOCs), serious games, online preparation for language qualifications, etc. 

To accompany students on the path to success, the University of Lille also runs novel schemes designed to highlight students’ engagement with their career ambitions. An example is the Engagement, Recherche and International labels, the last of which promotes the international mobility of students as part of their university education.

The University offers 16 courses taught entirely in English, as well as 30 courses run bilingually. 

It boasts no fewer than 45 dual diplomas and 20 Erasmus-label programmes. These are a clear reflection of the desire to internationalise the courses available, combined with a robust policy in support of language teaching, with a total of 23 foreign languages on offer.

Each year, more than 3,500 students travel to overseas institutes on mobility schemes that are an integral part of their curriculum.

The University of Lille covers all academic fields, with 65 laboratories and research units hosting a total of 2,000 PhD students across 6 doctoral schools.

It has been recognised for the quality of its research having been awarded prestigious labels and funding at a national level: one I-site, seven facilities of excellence (Equipex), and five laboratories of excellence (Labex). Within the region, it benefits from several bodies, networks and initiatives that contribute to the effectiveness and multidisciplinarity of its research and promote it from a socio-economic perspective: an integrated cancer research unit, Siric Oncolille, an institute for the energy transition (ITE), the French institute for agriculturally sourced materials (IFMAS), and a technology transfer firm (Satt). It works as part of a network with five technology parks and seven competitiveness clusters where businesses and laboratories collaborate on innovative projects in cutting-edge sectors.

The University of Lille boasts access to the highest-level research facilities covering a wide range of areas such as technology and information science (technological platforms), medical science (molecular and cellular imaging, biotherapy, genomics, proteomics and biocomputing, clinical valorisation, biomedical imaging, medication, experimental resources, therapeutic innovation) as well as visual science and culture. Researchers working in these two fields benefit from a cutting-edge facility, Equipex Irdive, with ultramodern equipment (virtual reality, neuroimaging, 3D scanners and printers, etc.). The University facilitates collaboration between research teams working in different disciplines, from IT and cognitive science to history, art history, philosophy, linguistics and psychology.

Research also benefits from the support of a number of shared services, particularly in physical chemistry (analysis centre and departments of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and mass spectrometry), cytometry and cell sorting.

The heart of this Euroregion beats in Lille, the capital city of the Hauts de France region. Lille is the epicentre of intense cultural life and boasts a rich cultural heritage built up over its long history at the heart of Europe.

The dynamic University of Lille attracts many international students through exchanges in partnership with the finest higher education institutes in the European Union and the rest of the world as part of programmes such as Erasmus+.

The University is also committed to a policy of hosting doctoral students by facilitating joint diplomas and thesis supervision, with students alternating between Lille and an institute abroad.

The University of Lille focuses on student support and has put in place key initiatives to host them in the best possible conditions. At the beginning of each academic year it organises immersive events known as “Jivé”, which give new arrivals the chance to share their experiences and discover the University’s campuses and services. A specialized department provides support to disabled students for the duration of their stay, offering them the benefit of adapted facilities.

The 8,000 international students attending the University of Lille represent more than 115 nationalities and enjoy the warmest of welcomes, with one event catering specifically for them: International Student Week. This is an opportunity for them to quickly integrate by taking part in sociable and celebratory events. The Lille network of Erasmus students offers assistance upon their arrival and accompanies them throughout their stay. Students on exchange programmes can benefit from modern and recent accommodation facilities like Résidence Reeflex, located in the Cité Scientifique.

Summer schools on specific topics and language courses are available to help students prepare for their mobility programmes. International students can also improve their French language skills in specially dedicated units such as the overseas French teaching department (Defi) and the Maison des Langues.

“Language cafes” and other events are regularly held to give French and overseas students the chance to meet up.

This international approach is combined with schemes to host lecturers, researchers and other staff members from overseas institutes, whether as part of the Erasmus+ programme, specific agreements or other initiatives, for example as guest speakers at conferences.

The University of Lille has developed an elaborate internationalisation approach that involves strengthening strategic alliances. Together with its partners, it develops structured programmes with both research and teaching dimensions, from bachelor’s to PhD level. It has strongly encouraged joint thesis supervision initiatives and put in place shared departments, units and research labs with European and international partners. Finally, it encourages the mobility of its students and staff alike.

Strategic regions

Three of the world’s regions are of particular strategic importance for the University: Europe, Latin America and Asia. To reflect this, it will be opening permanent offices in each of these regions.

One key facet of this strategy is to develop the University’s presence in northern Europe. The first step has been to sign exciting agreements with the University of Ghent, the Catholic University of Leuven and KU Leuven. The second will be the creation of a European campus with universities in Belgium and regions close to the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Germany.

This strategy is consistent with those of the local region’s public authorities. For example, the University works closely with the Hauts-de-France region, which is developing relationships with many European regions including North-Rhine Westphalia in Germany and Gelderland province in the Netherlands.

Partners and networks

The University’s international ambition is being pursued through institutional networks and agreements, in particular the European University Association (EUA), the university agency of Francophonie (AUF), and the body responsible for promoting France’s higher education system overseas, Campus France. The University of Lille is also a member of several international student exchange programmes: with the United States (International Student Exchange Program – ISEP), Quebec (Bureau de coopération interuniversitaire France-Québec), Europe (Erasmus+), the Netherlands (Franco-Dutch network). Finally, it collaborates with many other countries via bilateral agreements and has developed structural partnerships with several university consortiums.