Degree Programs In France

The French higher education system mainly revolves around three degrees namely Licence (Bachelor’s), Master’s and Doctorat (Doctorate). This is known as the LMD system. It is in concordance with the Bologna system of education followed in Europe. The degree programs in the country are given approval by the Ministry of Higher Education and Research.

Degree Programs In France

Vocational Degree Programs

Vocational education is very well developed in France. Due to the evolution of the global economy, France has become oriented towards preparing its students for the job market. Vocational education plays a big role in this. There are numerous vocational degree programs in France. You can get professionally oriented national diplomas in the field of vocational education in France. The following vocational degree programs are available in France:

Brevet de Technicien Superieur

This is a post secondary national vocational or professional degree. It is equal to 120 ECTS credits and 2 years of study following the completion of secondary education. The BTS degree is offered in 88 different fields including fine arts and manufacturing, according to a January 2014 publication of Campus France.  These programs are offered in public as well as private institutions.

Brevet de Technicien Superieur Agricole

This vocational degree program offers 16 different specializations in agriculture and agri-food industry.

Licence Professionnelle (Professional Bachelor)

Following the completion of 2 years of post secondary education, students can go in for a one year program to earn the Professional Bachelor or Licence Professionnelle degree. This national diploma is of 180 ECTS credits. It is offered in universities as well as IUTs. According to a 2014 Campus France publication, there are over 2,000 Licence Professionnelle programs available in 8 key fields listed below:

 Agriculture, fisheries, forests, and nature preserves
 Communication and information
 Business administration and management
 Civil engineering, construction, woodworking, and mechanics
 Electricity and electronics
Production and transformation
Local administration; and personal services

Across France, nearly 40,000 students are enrolled in these programs according to RNCP.

Diplome Universitaire de Technologie(DUT)

This is a national professional qualification which equals 120 ECTS credits. It lasts for 2 years. France’s university based institutes of technology known as IUTs confer this qualification. There are 113 IUTs in France currently offering over 685 DUT degrees, as per Campus France’s estimates. DUT programs are offered in 25 specialty areas which comprise the following:
  • 16 areas related to production and industry. This includes subjects such as engineering, materials science, communication, information sciences and management.
  • 9 areas pertaining to key services such as administration.
Graduates can go in for an internship following this course or continue their education at engineering or management schools. To know more, visit

Diplome d'etudes universitaires scientifiques et techniques (DEUST)

This is a career oriented degree program offered at universities in France. It is for the duration of 2 years. There are over 80 different specializations for students opting for this degree. It is catered to meet the needs of the French job market. Students can also go to complete the licence professionelle following this degree.

Undergraduate, Master’s And Doctoral Degree Programs

According to a Campus France publication “Degrees 2014”, there are nearly 2.3 million students in France’s higher educational institutions and approximately 61% of them attend public universities. According to the same publication, less than 17% of students in France are enrolled in private universities. Universities in France offer degrees in all subjects including science (mathematics, physics, biology and chemistry), arts, humanities, social sciences, law, economics, business and health. Public universities in France confer national diplomas at undergraduate (Licence), master’s and doctorate levels.

The Licence degree lasts for 3 years. Following 5 years of study, students obtain a postgraduate or Master’s degree.  The final doctoral degree is obtained after 8 years of study. In the higher educational system at France, marks are graded on a 20 point scale.

You can get an idea about the degrees at 3 different levels from the table given below:
  • Bachelor’s degree: 6 semesters = 180 ECTS (Baccalaureate 3 years)
  • Master’s degree: 10 semesters = 300 ECTS (Baccalaureate 5 years)
  • Doctorate: 16 semesters (Baccalaureate 8 years)
Students at the Master’s level can opt for research based or professional post graduate degrees. International students can also enrol at one or two years Master’s programs in specialized education. At grandes ecoles and specialized schools, programs last for 5 years. 2 years of preparation within the grandes ecoles or a preparatory class at school are a must for students who enrol in these specialized schools. These preparatory classes are known as CGPE. Students at the grandes ecoles are given Master’s level degrees. Graduates from private specialized schools receive diplomas that may or may not equal a Master’s degree.

There are 3 cycles of higher education in France which are tabulated below:

 Cycle 1 (Bac 3)The first three years of education involve the Licence degree. Students can major in one of 3 following streams:
  • Literature and arts
  • Politics and economics
  • Science
 Cycle 2 [Maitrise (Bac 4)  in the fourth year and Master (Bac 5) in the fifth year of study.]
 This is more specialist education. Students attain their Master’s degree in the fifth year of education. There are also advanced Master’s programs which require a prior postgraduate degree.
 Cycle 3 (Doctorat) This commences in the sixth year of education. A doctorate is earned following 8 years of study.

There are over 300 doctoral departments in French universities and over 10,000 dissertations are produced annually on an average. Students can opt for doctorate after completing postgraduate education.

The degree programs at higher educational institutions in France are oriented towards providing the students to excel in their field. French universities and institutes provide technical as well as general education for domestic and international students.

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