Higher education system in France

French degrees, LMD system and equivalences

The LMD system has been included into French higher education. Most of the degrees it grants come with ECTS credits, which are accepted by many nations in the European Union and all around the world.

The LMD system serves as the foundation for France’s higher education system. LMD, which stands for “Licence-Masters-Doctorate,” refers to the degree level. Or, “Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctorate” degrees. These three levels are accepted in many nations throughout the European Union and the rest of the world, which promotes student mobility in international higher education.

University degrees come in three different varieties:

After completing three years of education, candidates are awarded a licence (L1, L2, and L3). Year 1 is denoted by “L1,” and so forth.

A graduate degree known as a master’s (M1, M2) is awarded after two years of study. A license is required to apply for a master’s degree.

A doctorate is awarded following the completion of at least three years of study. A Master’s degree is required to apply for a doctorate.

Masters degrees come in two varieties:

  • Research : Preparing students for doctoral studies through research
  • Vocational > primarily preparing students for professional activity, however a minority may continue on to PhD study.

The following adds value to the LMD

A University Bachelor of Technology (IUT) or “Universitaire de Technologie” undergraduate degree. This degree, which takes three years to complete, encourages further education while providing easy entry to the job market.

A diploma in engineering (diplôme d’ingénieur). Engineering schools receive accreditation from the national institute for engineering credentials, allowing them to grant these degrees.

Only after successfully completing the required number of semesters will students be granted their degree.

ECTS credits and semesters

The student finishes up to 30 ECTS per semester (European Credits Transfer System). These are transferable to other nations and are valid there. A semester must have 30 credits in order to be valid, while an academic year must have 60 credits.

  •  Bachelors: six semesters must be successfully completed for 180 ECTS credits.
  • Masters: After earning a bachelor’s degree, an extra four semesters are needed. A Master’s degree requires 300 ECTS to be earned
  • After successfully completing sixteen semesters, a doctorate is awarded. In a minimum of eight years of study, beginning in the first year of the Bachelor’s program, 480 ECTS credits are awarded.

The mutual academic recognition of completed studies is guaranteed by the European Credits Transfer System (ECTS).

This recognition is made possible by:

  • Outline of a study plan that has been mutually agreed by the home institution and the host institution before traveling abroad, stating the ECTS credits that will be awarded once prerequisites are completed (examination, assessment, etc.)
  • Creation of a grade transcript that accurately reflects the learning outcomes attained and is transferable between institutions It lists the grades earned in accordance with both the local grading system and the ECTS grading scale for each course taken in addition to the ECTS credits. These two sets of grades in conjunction with ECTS offer a qualitative and quantitative overview of the job completed.

French and foreign degrees’ equivalents

Based on the applicant’s background and the requirements of each program, each institution is free to establish its own admission requirements.

The official recognition of equivalencies between French and international degrees does not exist in France.

Visit the official website of France Education International for further details regarding the equivalent status of foreign diplomas.

The academic year

In France, depending on the school and program, the academic year begins in September or October. Two weeks of winter vacation are included. The first semester’s final exams are taken place during a brief break in class. At the conclusion of the second semester exams, in May or June, the summer break often begins. Normally, they last for two months.


Traditionally, French universities have harsher grading standards than secondary institutions. As a result, it is unlikely that students will earn as high of grades as they did in secondary school.

The interpretation of grades acquired at another university using a different grading system is made easier by the ECTS grading scale. The community’s existing grading system is not replaced. The higher education institutions involved retain control over its utilization.

The French grading scale normally ranges from 0 to 20 points. In most cases, you need to get 10 points to pass a class. If a student’s average throughout the course of an academic year is at least 10 out of 20, they are deemed to have passed.

A grade of 20 represents an ideal score and is hardly never awarded. 19 and 18 are also hardly ascribed. A score of 16 would be considered to be a good grade depending on the subject. A 12 could, however, in some cases be regarded as a very good score.


There are various ways that professors teach their courses to students in French universities. The following is how the instruction is given:

Lectures (cours magistraux)

An amphitheatre, which has a capacity of 100 to more than 1,000 people, is where a lecturer lectures to pupils on a certain topic. The professors frequently write up these classes and distribute booklets to the pupils. Students may find these supplementary materials useful as they get ready for the semester’s final exams.

TD – tutorials (travaux dirigés) and TP- practical or lab work (travaux pratiques)

These are required classes for smaller student groups. With the intention of implementing and enhancing theoretical understanding, they serve as a complement to the lectures. In addition to the tutorials and practical work, firms may additionally need internships or “stages” at their facilities.