The European “LMD” system
This system is the result of the European Union’s desire to create a unified higher education system. It is part of what is known as the “Bologna Process.”
This international system clarifies and creates a uniform system of higher education in which each of the 3 diplomas (Licence – Master – Doctorate) corresponds to a specific level of education. Based on the North American system, it is a reference within the EU and is known throughout the world, as many countries outside Europe have adopted it.
The Three Diplomas
• The Baccalauréat, the French secondary school diploma also known as the “Bac,” is the minimum required diploma to obtain a job requiring some skills
• The Licence or B.S. (Bac + 6 semesters or 180 ECTS credits) signifies a high level of technical skills and aptitude
• The Master or Masters (Licence + 4 semesters or 120 credits) is a scientific and technical training program which enables conception, orientation, and direction of socio-economic activities
• The Doctorat or PhD (Master + 180 credits) is training through research which will enable students to work in fields of orientation and innovation
Each of these areas also has a “professional” degree which prepares the student for immediate integration into the workforce. The non-professional degrees are aimed solely at preparing the student for the next diploma.
As the PhD is the final diploma, it is a professional degree and is prepared in a Doctoral School.
A credit is a unit quantifying the volume and importance of acquired knowledge/training. The ECTS credit is an international norm. In initial training, a typical week of courses (some 40 hours) corresponds to 2 credits. Internships, distance learning, individual work, professional experience, and other training are also converted into credits.
ECTS credits are:
• Capitalizable: successful completion of a final exam means obtaining the credits which are attached to the course/unit
• Transferable: Institutions may use credits obtained from other institutions: other universities from the EU, training courses, distance learning, professional experience, etc.
This system is therefore very flexible and encourages student mobility.
Note: The GPA disappears, meaning that an 18/20 receives the same amount of credits as an average score.