What types of diplomas are available in French higher education?

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If you want to start a higher education course, you need to think about the type of training you’re going to choose, and in particular the degree you want to study for. In France, there are different categories of diploma, each with a different purpose. Some are nationally recognized by the State, while others are specific to certain establishments. Other diplomas allow you to obtain professional certification for a specific profession.

Let’s take a look at the characteristics of French diplomas.

What types of diplomas are awarded by French higher education establishments?

Understanding the different statuses of higher education establishments in France

Before we get into the question of degrees, it’s important to know the different types of higher education establishments you can consider for your studies in France. There are three main types of status:

  • State-approved public establishments;
  • private schools under contract with the State ;
  • private schools not recognized by the state.

Public institutions, such as universities, offer state-recognized training courses. This means they can receive various government subsidies and are able to welcome students with scholarships.

Private schools under contract have their own admission procedures. However, they offer training courses in line with the French Ministry of Education’s curricula. They, too, can take on scholarship students and benefit from state subsidies. The diplomas awarded may be recognized at national level or be specific to the training establishments.

Finally, non-contracted private schools enjoy complete freedom in defining their curricula, courses and faculty recruitment. They receive no government aid, but can in some cases award state-recognized diplomas.

What are the main types of diploma in France?

In the French education system, we can distinguish four main types of diplomas and certifications:

  • national diplomas ;
  • State diplomas ;
  • university and school diplomas ;
  • rncp titles and professional certifications.

What is a national diploma?

The first category of diplomas in France are national diplomas. A national diploma attests to successful completion of a state-organized examination, and validates skills and knowledge at national level. However, the level assessed is also recognized at European level, thanks to the ECTS credit system.

Among the most famous national diplomas, we can mention :

  • the baccalaureate
  • BTS
  • the GOAL
  • the license
  • the master
  • PhD

Depending on the level, national diplomas may be issued by the French Ministry of Education or the Ministry of Higher Education and Research.

In short: national diplomas validate the successful completion of a French examination and are recognized in France and Europe.

What is a state diploma?

The state diploma is a French certificate of aptitude issued by a public scientific, cultural and professional establishment. It belongs to the category of national diplomas and ranges from bac +2 to bac +8.

Like any other diploma, it guarantees that the student has acquired a specific set of skills and knowledge. However, the state diploma gives access to regulated professions, particularly in the fields of social work,entertainment, sport and health.

In a nutshell: a state diploma is prepared at a university and is required for access to certain professions in the social or health sectors, for example.

What’s so special about an Établissement diploma?

The Établissement diploma can be awarded by public establishments such as universities, or by private establishments such as business schools or specialized schools. However, unlike bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees, it is not issued by the Ministry of Higher Education, but is specific to the school offering it.

As a result, each institution awarding this type of diploma retains complete freedom over the courses taught and the methods used to assess students.

Some schools are not recognized by the state, but are nevertheless supervised by the local education authority. This is the case at HEIP, which retains a high degree of pedagogical freedom while offering curricula perfectly adapted to market needs. What’s more, HEIP is an institution with over 120 years of history and a solid, recognized heritage. Since its creation, it has welcomed renowned professors and lecturers who train tomorrow’s diplomats and experts in international relations.

Please note: the University Diploma (DU) belongs to the category of Établissement diplomas. It is specific to one university and is not part of the classic LMD cycle. It is therefore not recognized by the State. DUs do not validate a level of study, but generally enable students to acquire expertise in a specific field.

In a nutshell: a school-leaving certificate is not generally recognized by the state, but it still has value on the job market.

What is an RNCP title?

In addition to national diplomas, state diplomas and school diplomas, students can obtain a professional qualification on completion of their training.

The vocational qualification guarantees the acquisition of the skills and knowledge required to practice a particular profession. It therefore has a distinctly professional focus. This is why it is issued by the Ministry of Labor and not by the Ministry of Higher Education and Research.

All our professional titles are registered with the Répertoire National des Certifications Professionnelles (RNCP ) and are awarded on completion of training courses ranging from CAP to bac +5. Note that national and state diplomas are also listed in the RNCP.

In a nutshell: an RNCP qualification validates the acquisition of knowledge and skills essential to the exercise of a defined profession.

What MSc courses does HEIP offer?

Would you like to study for a Master’s degree at HEIP? We offer MSc (Master of Science) degrees in international studies and political science.

School diplomas awarded by HEIP

MSc Political Communication and Influence

Learn how to draw up a communications strategy for an election campaign, manage political and public communications or manage political crisis communications with HEIP’s MSc Political Communication and Influence.

This course will help you understand the role of networks of influence and master the tools of political and institutional communication. It prepares you for careers in communications and public affairs. Once you have completed your training, you will be able to consider the following professions in particular:

  • PR / PR Manager
  • Press relations consultant
  • Influence manager
  • e-reputation manager
  • Press Officer

This MSc is aimed at students who have completed 240 ECTS credits or are in the process of obtaining a bac +4 degree in the humanities, social sciences, law, economics or politics.

MSc International Business & Diplomacy

HEIP’s MSc International Business & Diplomacy is aimed at students wishing to work in international organizations or take on business development functions abroad. They will learn how to market products or services internationally, but will also be made aware of the roles of public players such as ministries, financial institutions, local authorities and public banks. In this way, they acquire dual expertise in business and diplomacy, and develop skills that are highly prized on the job market.

RNCP qualifications awarded by HEIP

MSc Manager of Institutions & Public Affairs

With HEIP’s MSc Manager of Institutions & Public Affairs, you’ll learn how to manage programs for public and local institutions, define communication strategies for these institutions and define external communication initiatives. You’ll also receive training in public finance management and learn how to manage territorial development projects.

This course leads to RNCP level 7 certification as “Manager of Institutions & PublicAffairs”. It corresponds to a bac +5 level.

To enroll in this program, you need to have completed 180 ECTS credits (i.e. a bac +3 level) in one of the following fields of study:

  • international law ;
  • public law ;
  • international relations ;
  • political science;
  • geopolitics ;
  • public administration ;
  • economy.

MSc Expert in International Relations & Cooperation

The MSc Expert in International Relations & Cooperation is aimed at students wishing to design and implement international cooperation policies. The program prepares students for careers in diplomacy and public management, and enables them to develop a range of skills in demand on the dynamic international relations market.

The diversity of possible careers in France and abroad, and in both the public and private sectors, reflects the richness of international relations and cooperation. At the end of their studies, students can work for embassies, ministries, chambers of commerce and industry or international institutions (UN, EIB, EBRD).

The following professions are available to them:

  • In charge of international missions ;
  • Geopolitical analyst ;
  • Security Consultant ;
  • Ministry project manager ;
  • Embassy economic attaché.

This course leads to a level 7 (bac+5) “Expert en Relations et Coopérations Internationales” professional certification, registered with the RNCP.

To apply for this professional training program, you need to have completed a bac +3 or bac +4 in one of the following fields:

  • international relations ;
  • diplomacy ;
  • geopolitics ;
  • political science;
  • social sciences ;
  • economy ;
  • right.
Updated 21 June 2023