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The Diplôme d'Ingénieur (French: [diplom dɛ̃ʒenjœʁ]) is an advanced postgraduate degree in France (see Engineer's Degrees in Europe) awarded by the French Grandes Écoles in engineering. It is generally obtained after five to seven years of studies after the French Baccalauréat (equivalent to the high school diploma or the A-level certificate for entrance to universities). The diploma holder is also conferred the academic title of Ingénieur Diplômé (qualified graduate engineer) which is protected by the French government, and is differentiated from the word "engineer" used in English-speaking countries.
Since the signing of the Bologna Process in 1999, the European Master's Degree is also conferred by the state to the holder of a Diplôme d'Ingénieur, but the reverse is not true. All titles of Ingénieur Diplômé are protected by the state, and any institution that issues the Diplôme d'Ingénieur must be accredited by the Minister of Higher Education. Anyone found misusing the title of Ingénieur Diplômé is liable for a €15,000 fine and one year in prison.
Grandes écoles and universities in France
France is particular in that, only Grandes écoles in engineering are certified to offer the diplôme d'ingénieur, which is differentiated from the undergraduate or masters degrees in engineering issued by universities (universités).
Universities in France are comprehensive higher educational institutions composed of several faculties covering various fields (natural sciences, engineering, law, economics, medicine, humanities, etc) with a large student body. By law, admission to a French university is non-competitive and open to anyone with a high school diploma. On the other hand, "grandes écoles d'ingénieurs" are much smaller in size and recruit their students with very selective processes, with the minimum qualification being 2 years of intensive post-baccalureate studies in classes préparatoires for French students, or otherwise an equivalent training for foreign students, in order to be admitted to the engineer program. Moreover, the Commission des Titres d'Ingénieur exists as a unique body empowered with the authority to accretitate engineering degree (diplôme d'ingénieur) programs and to protect the title of ingénieur diplômé.
The curriculum and selectivity involved in programs leading to the diplôme d'ingénieur and the French engineer title varies significantly from one Grande école to another, despite the official nationwide recognition of the title. In general, the most prestigious and selective grandes écoles tend to offer a multidisciplinary 'généraliste' curriculum, with each field of study taught at the graduate level, and therefore is usually considered to be more intensive and finer compared to specialized master's degrees in engineering. However, this is not always the case, and there are many selective grandes écoles that provide specialized training in a specific area of study. Moreover, a specialized master's degree or PhD will still be desirable to advance into careers that require expertise on a particular area.
French engineer students are educated in close cooperation with the various industries. Academic-industry partnerships introduce graduates to professional life while giving them a solid grounding in their discipline. As graduates will in most cases be in positions leading future projects and teams, management-related courses are also included in the curriculum.
In addition to the core curriculum in engineering and science, the engineer training in the généraliste grandes écoles include:
- courses in humanities and social sciences,
- courses in business administration,
- visits to production sites,
- conferences and career talks by professionals,
- as well as internships and research projects.
More than 90 percent of the French engineer programs require at least one internship (typically in a business setting) at some point in the curriculum.
Most schools arrange three types of internships that train the students with progressive responsibilities, initially as observers and increasingly as actors, in order to gain a comprehensive understanding and perspective of all levels of responsibility and roles within the industry. One can distinguish “worker” (blue-collar) internships, “senior technician” internships, and “graduate” internships where the students perform the same type of work they will do as graduate engineers. Internships are graded and constitute part of the academic degree requirements.
- "Article 433-17 of the French Penal Code" (in French).
- "Article L642-12 of the French Educational Code" (in French).
- "French "Grandes Ecoles" and the "Diplôme d'Ingénieur" | ENSTA ParisTech, Grande école d'ingénieurs généraliste". www.ensta-paristech.fr. Retrieved 2015-10-02.
- Which studies allow to become an engineer in France ? http://www.onisep.fr/Choisir-mes-etudes/Apres-le-bac/Principaux-domaines-d-etudes/Les-ecoles-d-ingenieurs/Les-voies-d-acces-en-ecole-d-ingenieurs