In December 2012, an AACRAO team of international experts met with members of CAMPUSFRANCE, a French national agency which promotes higher education and international student mobility, as well as officials and educators involved in engineering education. AACRAO Executive Director Mike Reilly led the US team, which included AACRAO Vice President for International Education Melanie Gottlieb; the French group was under the leadership of Dr. Emelienne Baneth-Nouailhetas, Attache for University Cooperation of the French Embassy in Washington, D.C.
The meeting revolved around the AACRAO EDGE database’s credential advice regarding French education. The conversations focused largely on engineering education in France – specifically the engineering grande ecoles which are the elite system of schools that exist alongside the university sector in French higher education. The two teams closely examined information pertaining to the educational path resulting in the award of the diplome d’Ingenieur (Dip d’Ing) which in EDGE has been described as comparable to the U.S. Bachelor of Science in engineering. The French view is that this degree is more comparable to a U.S. master’s degree in engineering.
Over the course of the conversations, important details regarding this degree surfaced that caused the U.S. team to reconsider the credential advice in EDGE with respect to the Dip d’Ing. Specifically, the U.S. team learned that the engineering degrees since the early 1990s have been consistently five years in length. Baccalaureat holders with high marks in the Math Stream attend two years of classes preparatoires (preparatory classes) or CPs studying general math and science (pre-engineering). After the conclusion of the two years they sit for the concours, a national entrance exam for the grande ecoles. Those with the highest scores on the concours and high grades from the CPs are admitted to the engineering grande ecole to pursue the three year engineering program culminating in the Diplome d’Ingenieur. The entire three year program centers on the chosen engineering field with little or no non-engineering coursework. The complete five year post-Baccalaureat educational experience accumulates 300 European Credit Transfer System credits or 150 U.S. semester hours, similar to the integrated engineering master’s degrees taught at some U.S. universities.
Subsequently, at a meeting of the International Education Standards Council (IESC), this new information was discussed along with additional information that had been requested and received from French colleagues, particularly Dr. Michel Mudry of the Council of French Schools of Engineering and Universities of Technology. A decision was made to change the credential advice for the Diplome d’Ingenieur to “attainment of a level of education comparable to a master’s degree in engineering in the United States.” The IESC agreed with the U.S. team involved in the Paris meeting that the duration of the program, the number of credits required for the degree, and content supported a change to the new credential advice.
By: AACRAO Connect