Higher education in France

Overview of higher education in France
Degree structure

Bachelor's degree | Three-year degree (Bac +3)

Entry requirement: baccalaureate or equivalent
Bachelor’s degree = 3 years = 6 semesters = 180 ECTS credits

A “classic” Bachelor’s semester includes:

Core courses (*UEFs) = core subjects;
Complementary courses (**UECs) = subjects taken in addition to the UEF;
Electives courses (***UEOs) = new subjects or more detailed study of existing subjects.

Some tracks have their own specificities.
Double degree
semesters may be arranged differently.
→ A double Bachelor's degree consists of two Bachelor's degrees completed at the same time (adapted syllabus with no electives (UEOs): Applied Foreign Languages / Administration - Management and Humanities or Law / Philosophy, for example.
*UEF : Unités d'Enseignement Fondamentales
**UEC : Unités d'Enseignement Complémentaires
***UEO : Unités d'Enseignement d'Ouverture

Master’s degree | Two-year post-Bachelor’s degree (Bac +5)

Entry requirement: Bachelor’s degree or equivalent
Master’s degree = 2 years = 4 semesters = 120 ECTS credits

The Master's track allows students to specialise in a particular field. It has a dual objective: to enable students to immediately enter the workforce at management level and to prepare research students for doctoral studies.

Doctoral degree | Three-year post-Master’s degree (Bac +8)

Entry requirement: Master’s degree

Doctoral degrees generally last three years, during which time doctoral students prepare a thesis in a specific field. Doctoral studies take place at doctoral schools.

DUT – two-year technical degree | Two-year degree (Bac +2)

Entry requirement: baccalaureate or equivalent


The DUT is a technical and career-oriented course that allows students to discover a business sector in two years. Applications are made by written application, with or without an interview depending on the field of study.

Professional degree | One-year degree (Bac +3)

Entry requirement: Bac +2 (Two-year Bachelor’s degree or technical degree (BTS or DUT))

The professional degree allows students to specialise in a particular field and aims to prepare graduates to enter the workforce straight away. It includes an internship phase and can also be followed on a block-release basis (apprenticeship or vocational education contract).

University diploma (DU) and certificate

The university diploma enables students to specialise in a specific field. It is different from the national diplomas and is not part of the ECTS credit system. Each university may offer its own specific diplomas with various entry requirements and validation methods.

Jean Moulin Lyon 3 University offers DUs in different subjects for students who have completed their baccalaureate, at Bachelor’s and Master’s levels.

The University also offers (non-degree) certificate-based courses where students obtain an end-of-programme certificate confirming the skills they have acquired.


Courses offered

  • By field
  • By type of degree
  • Block release programmes
  • International : double degrees, overseas programmes, courses offered in English
>>> Link to additional content in French