postgraduate degree in french

Last Updated on January 16, 2023

In the French education system, the master’s degree is both a national higher education diploma and a university degree. The diplôme national de master or DNM is delivered by an academic institution, usually a university, two years after obtaining a Licence. It confers the degree of the same name

During the existence of the Université de France, three degrees were established: the BaccalauréatLicence and Doctorate degrees. This gradation was then gradually forgotten.

Created in 1966, the master’s degree is awarded at the end of the second cycle of university graduate studies. Students holding a master’s degree can then pursue studies in a third cycle leading either to a one-year specialized higher education diploma (created in 1977), in order to “acquire in-depth knowledge in specific areas complementary to the training provided in the second cycle and to acquire techniques designed to promote the exercise of a specific type of activity”, or at the doctorate level after one year of in-depth teaching and an introductory research internship leading to the diplôme d’études approfondies (created in 1964 in science and 1974 in other disciplines), followed normally by three years of research leading to the writing of a thesis.

National Master’s degree


The second cycle combines general education and vocational training, and should enable students to complete their knowledge, deepen their culture and introduce them to scientific research. The training provided for the national master’s degree includes theoretical, methodological and applied teaching and necessarily includes one or more periods of professional experience (internships, contracts, civic service, etc.). It also includes an introduction to research and, in particular, the writing of a dissertation or other personal study work. The master’s degree also validates the ability to master at least one foreign language.

In 2010, master’s degrees designed to train teachers (primary and secondary school teachers, documentalist teachers and senior education advisers before taking the competitive examination) are making their appearance.

Master’s degree

Diplomas leading to a master’s degree

The master’s degree is conferred by the State to holders of the national master’s degree, as well as to holders of certain specific degrees

  • Master of Advanced Studies
  • Diplôme d’Ingénieur
  • Health diplomas
    • Medical education
    • Speech-language pathology
    • Nursing

The master’s degree is also conferred by the State on holders of diplomas from certain establishments, after a periodic national evaluation. A specification defining the criteria taken into account when examining a request for a diploma to confer the university degree of master is published in 2014 and updated in 2020

If you’ve stumbled upon this article chances are that you either are looking to get your master’s in France’s top education, want to learn more about the French education system, or just accidentally stumbled upon it and now you’re intrigued to keep reading. Whatever the reason is, by the end of this article you’re sure to learn more about what exactly it takes to get a Master’s in France, duration, cost, and how you can get one.

What Exactly Is a Master’s Degree in France?

In France, a master’s is both a degree and a grade. It’s the last university grade to be established and it’s studied between the License (Bachelor’s) and PhD. The Master’s level was added to establish a common framework across Europe universities: LMD – License, Master’s, Doctorate. A Master’s degree in France typically lasts from 2 to 6 years depending on your chosen university’s curriculum and level of difficulty.

How Can You Get a Master’s Degree in France?

The Master’s degree is granted by your chosen French University after completing Diplôme National de Master (DNM), or a similar graduate-level course, usually granted after five years’ worth of studying after the license (bachelor’s). Higher education institutions, for example specialized schools of arts, architecture and business, are entitled to give the grade of Master’s for some of their degrees, for programs lasting from 2 to 6 years.

In conclusion, you cannot get a master’s degree unless you meet the minimum study requirements agreed in the Bologna Declaration for a Master’s.

How Much Does a Master’s Degree Cost?

The French government subsidizes the universities so the cost of tuition fee is a lot cheaper than it would cost in other places in Europe or even America. It costs €3,770 per year for Master’s programmes. This tuition fee cost differs depending on the university. The other factor that weighs in on how much you’ll be paying for your Master’s program is whether the university is public or private. Private institutions tend to be more expensive than the public ones since they’re not subsidized by the French government.

Usually the fee for private institutions is the same fee as the one in public institutions for Non-EU students. This is the other factor that makes a difference in the tuition prices.

  • If you are a part of EU/EEA: For your Master’s program you will only be required to pay approximately €243.
  • If you are a Non-EU/EEA student: For your Master’s program you will be required to pay approximately €3,770.

For example in the university Paris-Saclay a Master’s degree costs €3,700 for non EU students whereas for EU students it’s €1000. You can also study with the Erasmus Mundus program which costs €3,400 for students in an Erasmus+ participating country.

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