Education System in France

PrimaryPrimary Education6–11 
MiddlePrimary and lower secondary education (Collège)1–96–14Brevet des Collèges
SecondaryGeneral Baccalaureate (Baccalauréat Général)10–1216–183Baccalauréat Général
SecondaryLycée professionnel15–172Certificat d'Aptitude professionnelle (CAP) or Brevet d'Etudes professionnelles (BEP) Professional
VocationalLycée d'Enseignement général, technologique et professionnel15–183Baccalauréat général, Baccalauréat technologique, or Baccalauréat professionnel. Vocational
TertiaryLicentiate (Licence)13–1532 years in the pre-Bologna system; 3 years in the post-Bologna system, Awarded the Licence corresponding to 180 ECTS
TertiaryMaster (Maîtrise)16–161 
TertiaryMaster16–161–2 Master Recherche (post-Bologna)
TertiaryDoctor (Doctorat)16–203–4Doctoral studies - Troisième Cycle - University level third stage
TertiaryPost-doctorat - University level fourth stageAwarded Habilitation à Diriger les Recherches

Primary Education

School education in France is highly structured and state controlled through the ministry of education, although some private schools do exist, many of which are catholic. At age 6 children are required to enter école élémentaire primary school to study the first 6 grades of their education. Some will have already entered kindergarten as young as 3. Here 1, or perhaps 2 teachers guide them through a curriculum including French, humanities, maths, and science to mention just a few.

Middle Education

The first 4 years that follow are spent at collége junior high where they hope to achieve their brevet des collèges certificate, although this is not required for further study.

Secondary Education

Their final four years are spent at lycéé high school preparing to pass their baccalauréat  or “bac” which is necessary to enter university. There are different kinds of theory-oriented diplomas. Série scientifique focuses on natural sciences, physical sciences and maths; série  économique et sociale on economics and social sciences; and série littéraire on French, foreign languages, philosophy, history, geography and optional arts.

Vocational Education

More practically-orientated students prefer to follow a different education route through the final 4 years of their school education. They may choose between studying for a baccalauréat technologique which prepares them for professional higher studies, or abaccalauréat professionnel that readies them to enter the job market immediately through vocational training.

Tertiary Education

There are two kinds of universities in France, namely public universities for which any baccalauréat is sufficient, and grandes écoles France Educationthat set higher standards. As a consequence, many public universities are overcrowded with students in their initial year. While these lower-order institutions do not specialize at undergraduate level, they may cooperate with others when it comes to graduate study. Grandes écoles, on the other hand generally focus on a single theme such as engineering or business science. Tuition costs at all tertiary institutions are low, and health insurance free through to age 21. 

The origin of the University of Montpellier seems lost in the mists of time, and it may have even descended from gallo-roman schools. Its official founding date is 1289 though, in terms of a papal bull issued by Pope Nicholas the 4th.

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