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University degrees, ECTS, individualised curriculum or exams: learn all about how studying at the University of Bordeaux works.

Photo : The university system lets you specialise gradually during your course of study © Gautier Dufau
The university system lets you specialise gradually during your course of study © Gautier Dufau

Degrees available

With the baccalauréat or secondary school equivalent, university studies in France are organised in three-, five- and eight-year periods and lead to degrees known as a Licence (L), Master (M) and Doctorate (D). The LMD system is aimed at encouraging students to build individualised curriculums. Each year is divided into two semesters, with each semester corresponding to 30 ECTS.

Bachelor (licence)

A licence, or 3-year Bachelor degree, is the first step in higher education. It provides you with basic, further knowledge and a path so that you can build your own educational curriculum, adapted to your needs and aspirations. While completing the 3-year degree, you will gradually become specialised by choosing theoretical, practical or vocational courses.

  • 180 ECTS
  • 6 semesters
  • Baccalauréat or equivalent + 3 years

University Technical Diploma (BUT)

The University Technical Diploma (BUT) is a new degree completed in 3 years, replacing the degree formerly known as a DUT. This Bachelor degree is prepared at an IUT (University Institute of Technology), which is a facility within the university system, offering major subjects as well as additional modules chosen based on your individual and career objectives. Enrolled in a BUT, you will study a vocational speciality in a specific field.

  • 180 ECTS
  • 6 semesters
  • Baccalauréat or equivalent + 3 years

Master in Engineering (CMI)

The Master in Engineering (CMI) is a 5-year university degree, accessible with a secondary school diploma, aimed at preparing you for careers in engineering. By enrolling in a CMI, you will take a Bachelor-Master course enhanced by additional lectures and practical training.

  • 300 ECTS
  • 10 semesters
  • Baccalauréat or equivalent + 5 years

Vocational Bachelor (licence professionnelle)

The vocational Bachelor, or licence professionnelle, is a degree accessible to students with the equivalent of a French baccalauréat and two years of study (Bac+2). It allows you to increase your knowledge and skills in view of a specific field or career. The programme is professional, systematically offering a tutored project or an internship in a company. It is often done as a work-study programme.

  • 60 ECTS
  • 2 semesters
  • Baccalauréat or equivalent + 3 years


Open to students with the French baccalauréat level and a 3-year degree, a Master combines academic and professional knowledge with research. Organised by field, specialisation and curriculum, it lets you enter a wide range of sectors of activity. There are two types of Master degrees: a research Master targeting students who want to continue their studies with a Doctorate, or career-related Master programmes aimed at students who want to enter the working world.

  • 120 ECTS
  • 4 semesters
  • Baccalauréat or equivalent + 5 years


A Doctorate is usually prepared in three years after having received a Master degree or an equivalent. Doctoral schools award the PhD title of 'doctor' after a thesis is defended. Doctorates can be carried out in any field: science, literature, human and social sciences, etc.

  • 180 ECTS
  • 6 semesters on average
  • Baccalauréat or equivalent + 8 years

Graduate Programmes

Graduate Programmes are international courses of study coordinated by the Graduate Research School. The programmes are inspired by Anglo-Saxon university systems, merging the aspects of Master (Bac+5) and Doctorate (Bac+8) degrees. They offer post-Bachelor courses, mainly geared towards research in scientific fields of excellence.

There are currently 7 Graduate Programmes focused on several specialisations (materials chemistry, cancer biology, neuroscience, etc.) and others are also being created.

  • 300 ECTS
  • 10 semesters
  • Baccalauréat or equivalent + 8 years

European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS)

At universties throughout Europe, each level is reached by earning ECTS. The academic year is divided into two semesters, each semester corresponding to 30 ECTS. The number of credits accumulated depends on the student workload, the number of course hours and the course objectives.

Health degrees

Since September 2020, new ways to access health degrees have been set up to broaden the profiles of the students admitted and ensure they can all pursue their degrees with a variety of prospects for entering the professional world. Two choices are now available: a licence with an 'access to health' option (L.AS) and the specific 'access to health' curriculum with an option in another field (PASS).

A personalised, step-by-step education

Specialise gradually

The LMD university system lets you specialise as you go, choosing the courses adapted to your aspirations and career objectives.

At the University of Bordeaux, courses in your specialisation are not the only ones that matter; elective courses (in other fields) and cross-disciplinary courses (such as computer or language skills) are also important.

And since what you study is validated via course units and credits, you can change programmes, degrees or transfer to another field without losing the credits earned.

Whatever your level of study, there are always gateways to enter other areas!

Individualised course of study

At the University of Bordeaux, all programmes are made up of three parts: core curriculum, electives and personalisation. The balance between the three is what allows you to make unique educational choices based on your degree or career objectives.

Core curriculum

The core part of the curriculum is the identity of the programme, the fundamentals to be mastered. It is the common denominator for all the students pursuing the degree, given the diversity of student profiles and objectives. The core curriculum also includes cross-disciplinary skills (foreign languages, library research, digital technology, scientific integrity, multiculturalism, analysis and problem solving, etc.).

Completing the core curriculum successfully is mandatory in order to validate a degree, regardless of the specialisation.


Electives are aimed at enriching your education, in particular studying subjects outside of your main field.

They correspond to at least 10% of the course units (UE) required for the degree.


The personalised part of your studies is adaptable based on your profile and objectives. Personalising your education and gradually specialising is a principle aimed at rounding out the core curriculum: course units (UE) in relation to your post-degree plans (further study, joining the working world, etc.), broader education, experience abroad, remedial support, etc.


At the University of Bordeaux, your knowledge can be evaluated in several ways:

  • continuous assessment: homework to hand in, work to be done in tutorials (travaux dirigés - TD) or practical/lab work (travaux pratiques - TP)
  • end-of-semester exams
  • or a combination of both

Exam schedule

The exam schedule is set every year by the heads of the universities, institutes or schools concerned, indicating the different exam sessions planned. The dates are announced (with each department defining the means of notification) at least two weeks before the exams begin.