Engineering Degree Programs in France
France is well-known for the quality of its engineering degree programs.
France's engineering programs combine rigorous studies in science with practical training in engineering. The close ties of its engineering schools
and industry enrich the quality and relevance of the learning process French engineering has its professional roots in the military and the nobility in the 18th century. Schools for technical officers, like "École d'Arts et Métiers" (Arts et Métiers ParisTech) established in 1780. Then, other schools were created, for instance the École Polytechnique which was established in 1794. Polytechnique developed into one of the grandes écoles. Up until this day the grandes école has been one of the most privileged routes into the elite divisions of the civil service.
Together, France's schools of engineering cover all aspects of engineering, but each specializes in a particular area, making French schools roughly comparable to a department in a foreign university.
As a highly industrialized nation, France relies on an advanced education system where the schools of engineering teach all aspects of the discipline. Virtually all fields of engineering are taught, but each specializes in a particular area.
There are more than 250 schools of engineering in France; most of them are public. A commission on engineering degrees (CTI), regulates them and guarantees the quality of degrees.
The "Grandes Écoles d'Ingénieurs" (graduate schools of engineering) is the main scource of degrees and it requires the completion of 3 years of Master's studies. Many Écoles recruit undergraduate students from CPGE (2 or 3 years high level program after the Baccalauréat), even though some of them include an integrated undergraduate cycle.
In all cases, competeition is tough. Recruitment is highly selective; hence graduate engineers in France have studied a minimum of 5 years after the baccalaureate.
Students are admitted to engineering schools on the basis of their application or their performance on an entrance examination or other tests. The system in France is extremely demanding in its entrance requirements relies on the merit based system of numerus clausus, which relies exclusively on student rank in exams. Even so, it is almost free of tuition fees, and much stricter in regards to the academic level of applying students than many other systems. The system focuses solely on selecting students by their engineering fundamental disciplines (mathematics, physics) abilities rather than their financial ability to finance large tuition fees, thus enabling a wider population access to higher education.
A “Specialized Engineering Degree” could be granted to students who already have a degree in engineering upon their completion of a further year of studies. This is a French national degree and it is acknowledged by the CTI assuming that the undergraduate degree was a five year course. In the case that it was a four year course then two years of study are required to attain a Specialized degree
Annual tuition in France’s public schools of engineering is approximately €610
International students who have already earned an undergraduate degree equivalent to a bachelor could join the "n+i" network. This is a consortium of more than 70 French engineering schools. The program combines strong scientific content with training in humanities, social sciences and languages (French and English are mandatory, but students may continue to use their native language). Internships are provided by corporate partners thus rounding up the students preparation for practical life as engineers