Higher education system in France

The three-level organisation of post-secondary education is shared by most countries in the European Union; in France, meaning Licence-Master-Doctorat (Bachelor's-Master's-Doctorate), or the LMD system.

This system standardises the levels and organises recognition of the degrees in the different countries. It makes educational mobility easier in Europe and elsewhere.

Degrees organisation

Within the framework of the European harmonization of higher education, university higher education programme is organised in 3 degrees recognised in all European countries. 

  • L (Licence or bachelor’s degree)
  • M (Master)
  • D (Doctorat)

The L-M-D European system uses the ECTS system (European Credit Transfer System).

  • 60 credits represent the workload of one academic year
  • 30 credits represent the workload of one academic semester

L is for Licence (bachelor's degree)

The first degree is Licence (bachelor’s degree). A Bachelor's requires successful completion of six semesters, resulting in 180 ECTS credits. 

M is for Master

An additional four semesters (corresponding to 120 ECTS crédits) are required to obtain a Master's degree, resulting in 300 ECTS.

Two different kind of Master's degrees exist:

  • Research Master: 120 credits including a research work are necessary to get it (4 semesters after your Bachelor’s degree)
  • Professional Master: 120 credits plus a work experience of 3 to 5 months according to the subject, plus an internship report are necessary to get it (4 semesters after Licence)

D is for Doctorat

The third degree is Doctorat: 180 credits, plus a doctoral thesis, plus attending a certain number of seminars are necessary to get it (6 semesters after a Master's degree.)

French educational system

French higher education has adopted the LMD system. Most degrees that it awards also give ECTS credits that are recognised by countries in the European Union and around the world. One particularity of the French educational system is that the students can choose between three different types of educational establishments.

  • Universities, which offer degree courses in nearly all subjects.
  • “Grandes Ecoles", elite colleges which offer very high level specialised courses in subjects like business, politics or engineering. These establishments are very selective.
  • Vocational colleges, covering a wide range of professional courses from agriculture to design or occupational therapy. These colleges prepare students specifically for a particular career.

Université Catholique de Lille is unique in its combination of Faculties, “Grandes Ecoles”, and vocational colleges.

See the full list of our colleges and institutions

Grading Scale