Everything you need to know about the international degree: validity abroad, double degree

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How do I know if a degree is valid internationally?

After graduating from graduate school, a student may want to move abroad to begin an international career. How do you know if your course of study is valid in other countries? Unfortunately, some of them do not recognize certain diplomas or their equivalent:

  • To obtain information about diploma equivalence, it is essential to contact ENIC-NARIC. A specialized advisor will answer all questions. This European organization is a partner of several states at the international level. It specializes in academic recognition and is currently the only one capable of issuing certificates of diplomas abroad and in Europe.
  • Some higher education institutions are able to issue international labels. It is important to find out if they can provide them. Although unofficial for the moment, these labels are a guarantee of the quality of education and training, and are awarded to different diplomas (Baccalaureate, Master’s degree, Bachelor’s degree, etc.) for a specific period of time.

What are the European labels for engineering schools called?

The different European labels for engineering schools are called :

  • EQUIS – European Quality Improvement System. This label is intended for institutions.
  • EPAS – European Programme Accreditation system. This label is intended for training courses

These two labels are obtained through the EFMD, European Foundation for Management Development.

What are the international labels for business schools?

As far as business schools are concerned, the international labels are called:

  • QUESTE – Quality System of European Scientific and technical Education.
    It is equivalent to EQUIS, but for business schools
  • EUR-ACE – This label is issued by the ENAEE association (European Network for accreditation of Engineering Education)
    These two labels highlight the international vocation of the courses, as well as the quality of the teaching
  • I’IACBE – International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education. This American organization aims to certify the quality of training of business schools
  • ACBSP – Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs. This American label highlights the quality of training in the field of management and business.
  • AACSB – Association to Advance Collegiate School of Business. It promotes excellence in the field of management and administration. American label, it’s an international reference.

Focus on ECTS points

Since their creation in 1988, the ECTS (European Credits Transfer System) have been designed to facilitate the academic recognition of training abroad, particularly through the Erasmus program. It is a credit accumulation system, calculated in proportion to the level of study achieved. It thus makes it possible to measure the volume of work carried out by the candidate. Are taken into account:

  • Lectures
  • Internships
  • The seminars
  • Personal research
  • The practical work

The usefulness of the credits is to allow the comparison of different study programs across several countries of the European Union. These credits are added to the degree, making it easier for students to move between countries and institutions. Thus, they allow the validation of different levels of studies. These credits provide the opportunity to create equivalencies. Thus, for a student who has obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Law or Management, for example, he or she will have the possibility of entering a Master’s degree in business school thanks to the credits.

ECTS credits can be issued by several types of institutions:

  • The Universities
  • Specialized schools (business, engineering, art, design…)
  • Public and private high schools

What is the principle of a double degree?

The principle of a double degree is to allow specialization in a complementary field in addition to one’s original degree. The second course is held in a different institution from the first. This principle makes it possible to be even more legitimate in a selective professional environment. This is a major asset for recruiters and a real sign of the candidate’s commitment. On the other hand, the workload is substantial. Dealing with the requirements of two different institutions can be a hindrance before making a commitment. There are essentially two double courses of study:

  • A double degree allowing to follow a training in a fundamentally different field, in order to acquire several skills. For example, a double degree in engineering/management can be combined with a business school education.
  • Double degrees allowing for specialization in a field already studied. The outcome here is to deepen one’s knowledge on the subject, or to enlarge one’s field of competence.

Who is a double degree program for?

The double degree program is open to students with an excellent level in all subjects studied, regardless of their original training. This ability to build a solid teaching base, in disciplines that are sometimes very different, requires a significant level of culture and general skills. A high level of motivation and work capacity is required to successfully complete this program. Thus, the application will be thoroughly examined. A file consisting of the first and last year’s report cards will be required, as well as a letter of motivation. An oral interview may also be required. In the long term, the opportunities will be even more important as recruiters are looking for hybrid profiles.


Updated 19 April 2023