French higher education degrees are organized according to a common European structure composed of three cycles (Bachelor-Master-PhD). This takes into account years or semesters validated since entering higher education (and their corresponding ECTS):
- Bachelor = 6 semesters (180 ECTS) (Baccalauréat or equivalent + 3 years of study)
- Master – 10 semesters – 300 ECTS (Baccalauréat or equivalent + 5 years of study)
- Doctorat – 16 semesters (Baccalauréat or equivalent + 8 years of study)
The national diplomas conferred by France's universities and other public educational institutions (such as national schools of art or architecture) demand adherence to national standards of quality that must be met by any institution that wishes to award the degree. National diplomas therefore have the same value regardless of the institution that awards them.
The diplôme d’ingénieur is a national diploma. The schools that award it are accredited by the CTI, the French national commission on engineering degrees.
An analogous system of accreditation exists for government-recognized schools of business and management. The degrees awarded by such schools are recognized by the French Ministry of National Education. Some schools of management have also obtained one or another form of international recognition (such as Equis, AMBA, or AACSB).
Schools of art and specialized schools are also subject to national certification.