MSc / FAQ - Students' profiles and education system

What is a Master of Science degree in the French education system? How is it recognized internationally?

First of all, it is important to understand how the French system fits into the European Higher Education Area (EHEA).
IMT Mines Ales master's programmes are accredited by the French Ministry of Higher Education and comply with the EHEA system that makes them internationally recognized.

What is the difference between a Master of Science degree and a Master of Engineering degree?

A Master of Science programmes focus on one or two main scientific subjects whereas the Master of Engineering ("Diplôme d'ingénieur") is less specialized and also includes social sciences and management. For the latter programme speaking French fluently is required from the beginning. Students also interested in this programme will find information about specific application procedures below.

Are MSc programmes  research or professional oriented?

MSc programmes mainly focus on vocational (professional) aspects but also include insights into research activities.
All IMT Mines Ales MSc degrees are accredited and allow students to apply for PhD studies afterwards if they wish (after a specific admission procedure). Of course, research-oriented MSc programmes make it easier to be well prepared for PhD. Moreover, students can either be involved in current projects on cutting-edge technologies carried out by the University research teams or suggest their own subject.

What type of Bachelor Degree must I hold in order to be eligible to apply for an MSc programme ?

The subjects studied during the Bachelor course must be related to the MSc specialization (year 2, M2) in order to have a sound background.
On the other hand, students are not required to have knowledge in all subjects taught during the common core which corresponds to the 1st semester of year 1 (M1). Nevertheless, strong basics in engineering, environmental sciences and management are always required.

How many years must I have studied before applying?

Generally a 4-year Bachelor degree is required but some students hold a 5-year degree which is a standard in their home country. In other universities Bachelor programmes last 3 years only which is the case in some European countries including France. These differences are generally related to the duration of primary and secondary education which makes students start higher education at various ages. In France this duration is 12 years whereas in some countries it can be 11 which makes the enrollment at university one year earlier.
Whatever the situation of the candidates, the admission board always considers each case thoroughly.

I am still an undergraduate student and graduation is expected after the application deadline. Can I apply?

Yes. For final-year undergraduate students, the admission board considers applications based on the available transcripts of records. Once you are awarded your Bachelor degree you must contact the admissions office and send your official documents.

I do not understand the comparison between my country and France in your country. Why should I study one year more (red arrow that goes backwards) in order to get a Master degree?

Comparisons between different systems in different countries are always difficult. For studies at IMT Mines Ales, 3 main aspects have to be taken into account:

  • In France, secondary education lasts 12 years whereas in some other countries the duration is 11 years. In this latter case, a 4-year university programme would be equivalent to only 3-year higher education in France.
  • The level in engineering required in Engineering colleges is much higher in France than it is in the UK or the US (some people do not believe it but this is definitely true!).
  • Spending one year (M1) adapting to France and its higher-education methods, strengthening mathematical background and getting the scientific fundamentals right is definitely useful and necessary for final success in M2.

What does a very good level in engineering really mean?

International students are generally surprised by the type of courses on offer in French higher-education institutions such as IMT Mines Ales. Although projects and practical activities are part of all curricula, theoretical aspects are always studied in depth in order to train true IT experts. Actually good fundamentals in engineering, environmental sciences and management are required

I am a prospective exchange student and I would like to study at IMT Mines Ales  for the 1st semester only, is it possible? Who should I contact?

IMT Mines Ales signed agreements with partner universities worldwide which makes it possible to participate in our Master of Engineering and Master of Science programmes.
Please first contact your International Office at your home university for more information.

Can I apply to both Master of Science and Master of Engineering programmes?

Yes, it it possible to apply to both programmes but, as mentioned above, the range of MEng courses is wider and speaking French is necessary from the beginning.
Students interested in our MEng programme must follow a specific procedure which depends on their home institution:

  • Students from a partner university should first contact their own International Office which will provide all the relevant information about the agreement with us (dual-degree if specified, possible fee waivers etc.) and how to apply. In some universities, we organize exams and/or interviews on an annual basis. The list of partner intitutions is given in our International office.
  • Individual students (no agreement between their home university and us must apply through a cluster of French Graduate Engineering Schools. Online application is open between mid-January and mid-March. Exams and interviews are organized respectively in May and June.

What are the nationalities of the students enrolled in the Master of Science programme?

The nationalities of the students varie from one year to another but several continents are always represented. As an example, for the academic year 2013/2014, MEng students students come from India, Indonesia, Mexico, Peru, Turkey, China, USA, Venezuela and Vietnam.