University education and how to enrol

University education and how to enrol

The first recognised diploma is the Licence. It is followed by the Master's degree, which students can follow up with a Doctorate

The Main Diplomas

  • The Science and Technology Licence (3 years post-Baccalaureate)
This diploma can be compared to Britain's Bachelor's Degree in Science and Technology or Spain's Licenciatura de ciencia y tecnología.
 
After four semesters, students can switch to a vocational licence (see below).
 
To illustrate, the licence programme at Pierre-et-Marie-Curie University includes an integration period (1st year of licence programme: L1) during which students come in contact with a variety of subject areas. In Licence 2 (L2), you will embark on an orientation path and advanced learning programme along one of three main tracks: math-computer sciences-mechanics-electronics; physics-chemistry-electronics; biology-geology-physics-chemistry. Lastly, level L3 studies (licence 3) are devoted to a single speciality area, with students choosing between nine subject areas, including: math and computer sciences, computer sciences, math, electronics, etc.
 
  • The Vocational Licence ("licence professionnelle," 3 years post-Baccalaureate)
This is a training programme focused on the working world, which combines theoretical classroom knowledge with a hands-on component. The number of students per graduating class is small, at around 30. Twelve- to sixteen-week internships in companies are required, as is designing a vocational plan. In order to be admitted, following an application screening process and, possibly, an interview, students must have completed 120 European credits. The programme is worth 60 European credits.
 
Some 200 vocational licences are offered in relation to computer sciences. To offer a few illustrations, these include: communications and computer sciences applied to new technologies, digital engineering, embedded electronics and computer sciences for aeronautics, networks and telecommunications, etc.
 
  • Master's (5 years post-Baccalaureate)
In the United States, this diploma could be compared to a Master's of Science, or a Master's in Engineering, at the second-year mark, called Master 2 (M2). In Germany, the equivalent would be the Diplom Ingenieur Technischer Universität, and the Master's Degree in Science and Technology, in Great Britain.
 
The Master's combines work in small groups, research, a paper, an internship in a company ...
 
Note: the MIAGE (computer science methods applied to corporate management) degree  programme is one of France's much sought-after training programmes. Professionals contribute throughout the coursework and the students participate in internships in companies.
 
  • Doctorate (8 years post-Baccalaureate)
In the United States, this diploma's equivalent would be the PhD, while in Germany, it would be the Promotion. The Doctorate is awarded to those who successfully present their thesis orally before a panel. The coursework is designed to cover a three-year duration, but lasts, on average, four years. Students working on their thesis can enter research laboratories in universities, engineering schools or public establishments such as INRIA (the National Institute for Research in Computer Sciences and Automatics) or CNRS (National Centre for Scientific Research).
 

How to enrol?

If you have a secondary education diploma (Abitur in Germany, Bachiller in Spain, or A-Level in Great Britain, etc.), you must, in order to enter the Licence programme, pre-register and file a request for preliminary admission (DAP) with the culture and cooperation service of the French embassy. Exemptions shall be granted to: Community students and those from the European economic area entering France under an inter-university agreement, provided that it explicitly makes mention of them; recipients of scholarships from the French government, international organisations or foreign governments that offer scholarships managed by an accredited French organisation (CNOUS, etc.); stateless persons or political refugees bearing the OFPRA (French Office for Refugees and Stateless persons) card; and children of diplomats stationed in France.
 
Some of the documents required include: certified photocopies of transcripts of marks and a personal statement.
 
Note: you may state a preference for three universities. Don't forget the universities in the provinces, which also offer an excellent education in the sciences.
This process includes a French language test (unless exemption is granted) to assess your understanding of written and oral French and to gauge your written expression. Registration for the exam carries a fee. If you reside abroad, the form may be picked up from the French embassy in your country.
 
If you have already started coursework in higher education, you must send a diploma recognition application or request for exemption from degree requirement to the Academics Department at the training and research unit (UFR) tied to the diploma you wish to earn. There is no automatic equivalency between degrees and diplomas earned abroad and French diplomas.
 
Each university determines its own admission criteria. You will need to put together your application, including your diplomas, a French translation of the same by a sworn translator, and a detailed description of the coursework you have taken part in. The admission process takes into account a range of factors: number of years of schooling, subjects or electives chosen, projects completed, learning institutes attended, objectives sought, etc. Obviously, if you come from a country (Italy, for example), that has reformed its system to align it with the European system, equivalencies through the ECTS system will be easier to obtain.
 

Useful Information: University Registration Deadlines

  • First-Year University Students: 

Between November and January: pick up your application forms from the Cultural Department at the French Embassy (or at Web site www.education.gouv.fr).
French test: dates in February and March, www.ciep.fr/tcfdap

 

  • Graduate and Post-Graduate: 
Starting in March: admission applications available
 
  • All levels: 
Starting in July or September: final response.
 
More information about French universities :
Annuaire des formations