Degrees The degrees conferred in French universities and other institutions
YEARS OF STUDY
of higher education are certified by the French government.
LEVELS THE LMD SYSTEM
The degrees awarded in French higher education reflect a
common European architecture. The LMD system—for licence
18 semesters • State diploma of doctor of
(bachelor), master, and doctorate—is based on the number of 9 (+ 9 years) medicine
semesters completed after leaving secondary school and their D O C T O R A L D E P A R T M E N T S
equivalent in European credits under the European Credit DOCTORATE • Doctorate / PhD
Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS)*: 8 16 semesters Schools of art
(+ 8 years) Grandes Écoles Schools of architecture
• Licence = 6 semesters = 180 ECTS (baccalauréat or equivalent + 3 years)
7 Schools of business
Schools of engineering
(lycées, specialized schools)
• State diploma of doctor of
• Master = 10 semesters = 300 ECTS (baccalauréat or equivalent + 5 years) 12 semesters dental surgery
• Mastère spécialisé (MS) • HMONP (professional credential
6 (+ 6 years) • State diploma of doctor of
• Master of business for independent practice of
• Doctorate = 16 semesters (baccalauréat or equivalent + 8 years) pharmacy
administration (MBA) architecture)
MASTER • Research master • Engineering degree • Art school diploma (DNSEP)
5 10 semesters (+ 5 years) • Professional master • Master of Science - MSc • State architect’s diploma
300 ECTS • Engineering degree • Business school diplomas • Diplomas of specialized schools
• The universities confer “national diplomas,” • A similar accreditation procedure exists for
• Degrees of the Grandes Ecoles (health, social work, tourism, etc.)
which have the same weight regardless of the government-recognized schools of business and
institution that confers them. management, the diplomas of which are approved • Art school diplomas
LICENCE • Licence (bachelor)
by the Ministry of National Education and, in many
3 (DNAT - DNAP)
• The diplôme d’ingénieur is a national diploma.
6 semesters (+ 3 years) • Licence professionnelle • Architecture diploma
cases, have obtained international recognition or 180 ECTS (professional bachelor)
The schools that award it are accredited by CTI, accreditation.
4 semesters • University technology • Admission to the first year of a • Art school diploma(DMA)
the French national commission on engineering
degrees. • France’s schools of art and specialized schools 2 (+ 2 years) diploma (DUT) Grande école program • Postsecondary technical
• Preparation for admission to certificate (BTS)
also undergo national certification. Grandes écoles (CPGE)
Completion of secondary school + baccalauréat or equivalent
(eligibility to enter higher education in home country)
= access to French higher education
Did you know?
• Any student presently enrolled in
*ECTS credits: Credits earned under the European Credit Transfer and
higher education in his or her home
Accumulation System are recognized throughout Europe. A full year of
country may apply for admission to a
academic work represents 60 ECTS credits.
http://ec.europa.eu/education/lifelong-learning-policy/doc48_fr.htm French university or other institution
of higher education, provided he or she
meets certain criteria.
Vocational education: The online catalog of
professionally oriented national postsecondary vocational/
diplomas at the L2 and L3 levels
Diplôme Universitaire de Technologie
(DUT, university technical diploma) in France
The DUT is a national vocational/professional qualification www.campusfrance.org
representing 120 ECTS credits (2 years of study). It is conferred by > Find your program
France’s university-based institutes of technology, or IUTs. DUT >Licence
programs are offered in 24 specialty areas, 15 of which are related
The evolution of the global economy has placed a high premium Listings of all BTS, DUT, and
to production (materials science and engineering, mechanical professional licence programs,
on skills, advanced technical knowledge, and operational engineering, computer-assisted manufacturing, etc.) and 9 to with Web sites and contact
know-how as the keys to career advancement. To meet these services (administration, communication, management, information, information.
demands, France’s system of higher education has created etc.). Programs prepare graduates to begin a career immediately after
undergraduate programs that combine theory and practice, graduation. Most require an internship. Graduates may also elect to Subject-area profiles
enabling students to gain up-to-date skills, learn the latest continue their education by applying for admission to a school of
methods, and use professional tools in real-world settings. engineering or management.
The 115 IUTs located throughout France offer 658 different DUT
>Educational and research
Brevet de Technicien Supérieur >Subject-area profiles
(BTS, postsecondary technical certificate) Licence Professionnelle (professional licence)
Each profile outlines degree
The BTS is a national vocational/professional After successfully completing 2 years of postsecondary study, programs and other aspects
qualification representing 120 ECTS credits students may apply to enter a 1-year program that allows them to of a particular field, such as
(2 years of postsecondary study). It is offered earn a licence professionnelle, a national professional diploma aeronautics, banking, retail,
signifying the accumulation of 180 ECTS credits. Programs are offered culinary arts and restaurant
in 87 different areas spanning manufacturing,
management, hotel management,
production, services, and the plastic arts. Most in universities and IUTs. More than 2,000 licences professionnelles
nursing, nuclear engineering,
BTS programs are offered in the postsecondary are offered in 46 broad areas that include the agricultural and
water resource management,
technical sections of secondary schools. Graduates manufacturing sectors (agriculture, fisheries, forests and natural tourism, and many more.
are equipped to perform specialized technical areas; civil engineering, construction, woodworking; mechanics,
functions in a professional environment. electricity, electronics; production and transformation) as well as Degree descriptions
List of BTS specialties: services (management and trade; communication and information;
local government services; personal services). www.campusfrance.org
Opportunities for professional internships and the participation of >Resource Center
practicing professionals in the delivery of instruction make the licence >Educational and research
professionnelle a very effective way to start a career. Across France, programs
more than 40,000 students are enrolled in licence professionnelle >Degree descriptions
programs. The BTS, DUT, Licence professionnelle,
and mastère spécialisé are
National registry of professional certifications (RNCP):
presented in detail, including
www.cncp.gouv.fr>Licence professionnelle information on prerequisites and
the possibilities for further study.
41% of France’s doctoral candidates come from outside France.
programs Financing doctoral study
Demonstrating the ability to pay for doctoral
study is very often a prerequisite for admission to
Erasmus Mundus Joint Doctorates – EMJDS
Full-time grants are offered to students who have been
selected to participate in a doctoral program that has
Any student holding a European master or the equivalent may
a doctoral program. been granted the Erasmus Mundus label. The amount of
apply for admission to a doctoral program in France. Programs the doctoral grants varies from program to program and
• Doctoral contracts are a public mechanism for
generally last 3 years. Candidates who prepare and successfully financing doctoral education that emphasizes includes tuition, travel expenses, living expenses, and
defend a thesis or dissertation receive the doctorate. professional research experience, an essential part certain other costs.
of doctoral education. Anyone holding a master’s To be considered for an Erasmus Mundus grant,
Scientific research is candidates must:
degree or equivalent, regardless of age, may apply.
a top priority in France • Identify an Erasmus Mundus program appropriate for
Contracts are for 3 years and offer all of the benefits
France devotes 2.11% of its GDP to research and recherche avancée), thematic centers for research
of a formal employment agreement. Contract terms their intended research.
development. That effort has put France in fourth and care (CTRS, centres thématiques de recherche
are identical at all French institutions of higher • Submit an application for
place among all nations in the European patent et de soins), and competitiveness clusters.
education and research. The minimum guaranteed admission to the university
system and eighth worldwide in the U.S. patent • Public support for corporate research and www.campusfrance.org
gross monthly compensation ranges from about that coordinates the
system. The CNRS (France’s national center development has been increased. > Find your course
€1,300 to €1,700. Doctoral departments are consortium. Applications
for scientific research) has once again been > level Doctoral
responsible for recruiting candidates. are generally due between
ranked second in the world in output of scientific Doctoral programs October and December.
CampusFrance’s online catalog
• Research training agreements with industry
publications (Scimago 2011 ranking). Doctoral training takes place within research teams includes every French doctoral
CIFREs (conventions industrielles de formation Applicants are allowed
Several initiatives to advance the dissemination, or units affiliated with a doctoral department. program and the research
par la recherche) enable young researchers to to submit applications to
financing, and evaluation of research demonstrate Candidates work under the supervision of a units with which it is affiliated.
complete their dissertation while working for a no more than 3 different
the vitality and future-oriented outlook of the dissertation adviser. Most doctoral programs are The database is accessible
firm. Participants agree on a research and dev- consortia in a given year.
French research enterprise: found in the universities. through a bilingual (French
elopment program that is pursued in cooperation http://eacea.
• A new national research agency (ANR) manages About 300 university doctoral departments orga- and English) search engine
with a research team based outside the firm. ec.europa.eu>Erasmus
financing for research projects. nize research teams around scientific and scholarly that employs 20,000 keywords in
CIFRE-funded candidates must hold a master or an Mundus>Selected
• New tools for cooperation in research include themes. They coordinate doctoral programs and 80 disciplines.
engineering degree. www.anrt.asso.fr projects>Joint doctorates
research and higher education clusters, known as ensure the coherence and efficiency of scientific A profile of each doctoral
PRES (for pôles de recherche et d’enseignement and scholarly projects. • International joint doctoral programs Contact in France : program is also provided.
supérieur), thematic networks for advanced Prospective doctoral candidates must apply directly Governed by an agreement between a French Agence 2E2F :
research (RTRA, réseaux thématiques de to a specific doctoral program. institution of higher education and a partner www.europe-education- www.campusfrance.org
institution outside France, joint doctoral programs formation.fr/erasmus- >Resource center>educational
allow candidates to work on their dissertation in two mundus-cours-masters.php and research programs>Degree
countries according to defined conditions (time spent descriptions
in each country, dissertation defense, financing,
etc.). Most joint degree programs are accompanied www.campusfrance.org
by dedicated financial aid, the main purpose of which Finance your program
is to defray the candidate’s travel costs. Find financial assistance online
using the CampusBourse grant
France’s system of higher education enrolls 2.4 million students,
60% of whom attend the country’s 83 public universities.
Unlike in the major English-speaking countries, private institutions Deeply committed to their corporate, academic, and research partners in France and abroad, the
nation’s universities daily demonstrate their dynamism and their ability to respond to change.
account for a relatively small share of postsecondary enrollments in In parallel with the traditional academic degree ladder, the universities have accommodated new educational needs:
France (less than 15%). France’s 83 publicly financed universities are • University-based engineering programs now confer 30% of the engineering degrees awarded in France each year.
• More than 2,000 career-oriented licence degrees, known as licences professionnelles, are available.
well distributed around the nation. They award national diplomas, • Technical programs are offered in 24 specialty areas in university-based institutes of technology (IUTs, instituts
which provide the assurance of a uniformly high level of educational universitaires de technologie).
quality regardless of where they are earned—from the famous • Management programs are available in university-based institutes of business administration (IAE, instituts
d’administration des entreprises).
Sorbonne to the alpine campuses of the universities of Grenoble and • Programs in political science and economics are found in university-based institutes of politics (IEP, instituts d’études
Chambéry and the island campus of the University of Corsica. politiques) and Sciences Po Paris.
• Journalism and communication are taught in specialized institutes in several universities. Examples include CELSA at the
The universities offer programs in all dis- University of Paris-Sorbonne and the Centre Universitaire d’Enseignement du Journalisme at the University of Strasbourg.
ciplines, including the sciences (mathematics, Research, a key function of the universities www.campusfrance.org>Resource Center>Educational and research programs>Degree descriptions
chemistry, physics, biology), technology (computer www.campusfrance.org>Resource Center>Practical and institutional guides
As the primary locus of research and training in the
science, engineering, electrotechnics, materials), li- >Institutions profiles>Universities
basic sciences, the universities ensure that their
terature, languages, the arts, the social sciences, law,
degree programs stay abreast of progress in basic Medical education
economics, business, health and medicine, and
knowledge and technology. Within the European LMD system, medical studies in France are divided into 3 stages
physical education. All of the nation’s universi- Higher education and research clusters
The international recognition accorded French of 3 years or more. The universities deliver medical education in cooperation with
ties are public. The universities offer programs at The system of research and higher
researchers attests to the universities’ devotion France’s 32 CHUs, or university hospital centers.
every level; their graduates receive nationally re- education clusters, known as PRES,
to knowledge: Fields medals awarded to scholars The first year of medical education is the same for all four basic medical tracks: (i) me-
gulated degrees known as national diplomas: the was created to bring together the
at French universities include the 2010 medal dicine (including physical therapy), (ii) dental surgery, (iii) pharmacy, and (iv) mid-
licence (3 years), master (5 years), and doctorate (8 universities, Grandes écoles, and
to Cédric Villani, professor at Université Claude wifery. Those who complete that year are eligible to sit for one of four examinations
years). research organizations in a given
Bernard-Lyon 1 and the 2006 medal to Wendelin that result in a ranking of places available, as determined each year. Students’ ability
Note: What is a diplôme d’université (DU)? Werner, professor of mathematics at Université to continue their medical education depends on the rank they obtain on the exam. region in order to rally their intellectual
In parallel with the system of national diplomas, Paris-Sud 11. International students and medical education in France and physical assets behind the goals
individual universities offer programs that reflect 285 doctoral departments staffed by 100,000 Unless they have already obtained a medical degree in their home country, interna- of better education and greater
their academic orientations or respond to regional scholars and researchers provide research training tional students must enroll in the first year of the first cycle of medical education and international visibility. The PRES are:
economic imperatives. Those diplomas have a in close cooperation with more than 2,500 research must pass the end-of-year examination. Students who pass that examination may then • Thematic centers of excellence
variety of names, the most common of which is laboratories. The departments confer more than jump to the level they had reached in their home country, subject to an assessment by • A single point of contact for foreign
diplôme d’université (DU). Another is diplôme 11,000 doctorates each year. the program’s administrators of the equivalence of their prior preparation. researchers and doctoral candidates
inter-universitaire (DIU). They are not national French doctoral departments have always been • To begin the third stage of medical education, foreign students must undergo a • A resource for doctoral departments
open to the world. Of 70,000 doctoral candidates special medical residency competition organized by the culture and cooperation • A one-stop shop for international
diplomas, but they offer international students
service of France’s embassies and consulates. In 2010, 20 places were offered in 11 student services
opportunities to gain university-level knowledge enrolled in 2011, 41% are from outside France.
medical specialties. • Responsible for the publication of
and experience in very specific areas.
• Two degree programs—the DFMS and the DFMSA—provide specialty education for academic and scientific work.
foreign general practitioners and for foreign physicians. The DFMS (diploma of spe- The 21 PRES are located throughout
cialized medical training) requires 1 to 2 years, and the DFMSA (diploma of advanced France.
specialized medical training) requires 6 months to 1 year. Information may be obtai-
ned from the culture and cooperation service of the French embassy. www.campusfrance.org/fr
All these programs require a good knowledge of French, evidence of which may be
>Resource center >Practical and
required (at least level B2 of CERL)
www.campusfrance.org >Resource Center>Educational and research >Profiles of France’s higher educa-
programs>Subject area profiles>Medicine tion and research clusters
The Grandes Écoles The Financial Times ranked 6 French schools among the world’s top 10
master in management programs (2011). The Economist included
and the Écoles supérieures 6 French MBA programs among its top 100 (2011).
Unique to France, the system of Grandes Écoles was set up in parallel with the
Engineering and management
university system at the beginning of the 19th century. The Grandes Écoles offer
dominate the offerings of the
top-quality education oriented toward practical problems. The system includes Grandes Écoles, but one also finds
schools of engineering and business, the Écoles Normales Supérieures (ENS), and programs in public administration
the national schools of veterinary medicine. The Grandes Écoles are highly selec- (the specialty of the prestigious
tive; their degrees signify the completion of a a rigorous program. Ecole Nationale d’Administration
- ENA), military sciences, higher
education and research, agronomy,
All Grandes Écoles offer five-year and veterinary sciences.
diplomas recognized by the government Engineering Business and management
to be equivalent to the European master More than 200 schools of engineering, public and The Grandes écoles of business and management enjoy special forms of The Écoles
They may also offer intermediate degrees and private, run the gamut of engineering sciences. Normales Supérieures
specialized diplomas, among them the bachelor But they also have some common characteristics, France’s three écoles Normales
• certification by the Ministry of National Education, indicated by a stamp
(in 3 or 4 years), the master of science (MSc) emblematic of the solid quality of the diplôme Supérieures —located in central
on the graduate’s diploma
(in 4 or 5 years), the master of business d’ingénieur, a venerable French degree that Paris, Cachan (a Paris suburb), and
is fully equivalent to the European master. • listing in the registry of Grandes écoles published by the Conférence des Lyon—prepare students for careers
administration (MBA), and the mastère spécialisé
(MS) (1 year after the master). The diplôme d’ingénieur is a national diploma Grandes Ecoles, which regulates all of France’s Grandes écoles in university teaching and research
The traditional path into the Grandes écoles was that entitles its holder to apply to a doctoral • official recognition of certain diplomas as equivalent to a master. in both the arts and sciences.
by examination following 2 years of preparatory program. Depending on the school in which it Each ENS has its own procedure for
Operating at a variety of levels, France’s many schools of business and
classes. Students then earned their degree in is offered, the degree may indicate general international admissions.
management offer programs geared to economic requirements and new
3 more years of increasingly specialized study. expertise in engineering or more specialized
management practices. Internships and international exchanges play a large Schools of veterinary medicine
However many schools offer admission to a 5-year study—in agronomy, chemistry, biology, or
role in many programs. The great majority of schools have come together to France has four national schools
curriculum directly from secondary school. information science, for example. Public schools
offer common entrance exams. About 190 schools admit students directly of veterinary medicine—in Paris
To accommodate international students, many of engineering charge tuition of approximately
(Maisons-Alfort), Lyon, Nantes,
Grandes Écoles offer admission on the strength of €584 per year. from secondary school.
and Toulouse. They admit students
the applicant’s academic record. The degree may be Most of France’s business schools are private; many are affiliated with local
www.campusfrance.org/en>Resource center at various levels using a common
earned in 2 to 5 years, depending on the amount >Educational and research programs>Degree chambers of commerce and industry. examination administered
of credit the applicant receives for his or her prior descriptions>Mastère spécialisé The annual tuition varies widely but is generally between €2,000 and independently by each of the four
academic work. €30,000. schools. Admission decisions are
made on the basis of examination
results or academic records,
plus application and interview.
Many of France’s business schools have attained international recognition
Programs in the 4 veterinary
by meeting the standards of various accrediting bodies, among them CGE, schools lead to the degree of
EQUIS, AACSB, and AMBA. Some forms of recognition apply to the school doctor of veterinary medicine,
itself, others to the degree conferred. All signify international recognition. a government-sanctioned
diploma required for practice as a
architecture Schools of art
Almost 60 écoles supérieures (higher
schools) of art and 4 of applied arts are pu-
blic institutions of high quality that grant national CampusArt
diplomas accredited by the French government: www.campusart.org
diplôme national d’arts plastiques (DNAP, 3 years),
Postsecondary programs in architecture Apply online to the 60 member
equivalent to a licence) and diplôme national su-
in France follow the harmonized institutions of the CampusArt
périeur d’expression plastique (DNSEP, 5 years, To learn more
European system of degrees based on the equivalent to a master). The four schools of applied
network of French schools of art
bachelor (licence in France), master, and art (Boulle, Duperré, Estienne, Olivier de Serres) >Resource Center The CampusArt network offers
doctorate. grant the diplôme des métiers d’art (DMA, 2 years) >Educational and research applicants a choice of some
• The first cycle of postsecondary study lasts three and diplôme supérieur d’arts appliqués (DSAA, programs
200 different art programs
years and is capped by the diplôme d’études en The nation’s 20 schools of architecture, 4 years). >Subject area profiles
at the licence and master
architecture, equivalent to a licence. all overseen by the French Ministry of After an initial phase devoted to a core curricu- Directory of schools of art:
levels. By completing a
• The second cycle lasts two years and leads to Culture, confer national diplomas. lum, the higher schools of art allow students to www.andea.fr
single online form, students
the diplôme d’état d’architecte, equivalent to a www.archi.fr/ECOLES/ specialize in one of 3 areas: art, design, or visual
communication. who have completed 3 years
of art education may apply
• The HMONP (habilitation à la maîtrise d’oeuvre Two other schools deliver degrees that are Private schools of art and those affiliated with chambers of commerce
for admission to the entire
en nom propre) is the sole professional credential considered equivalent: and industry (the latter are known as écoles consulaires) confer certificates or
professional titles. Those that have earned accreditation are listed in the Réper- network of schools and
that entitles an architect to apply for a building • The public Institut National des Sciences Appli-
toire National de Certification Professionnelle (national registry of occupational track the progress of their
permit. It requires a sixth year of study and an quées (INSA) in Strasbourg.
certification, www.cncp.gouv.fr) and classified according to the level of employ- application through to the
ment for which they prepare their students. offer of admission.
• The third cycle offer a variety of specializations • The private École Spéciale d’Architecture (ESA).
All such institutions admit students selectively by exam or interview.
to award a master’s degree, as well as doctoral www.esa-paris.fr
programs in architecture in a number of universi-
ty-affiliated research laboratories.
More than 3,000 schools and institutes, public and private, are categorized as “specialized
schools.” They offer degree programs in very specific areas—among them social work, paramedical fields,
tourism, culinary arts, and hotel management, among others.
These institutions offer government-accredited degrees as well as other credentials specific to the
institution that confers them. Programs demand from 2 to 5 years of study. Admission is by examination or
on the basis of the applicant’s academic record.