Master, Master, MBA: how to find your way through the jungle of bac +4/5 diplomas?

The best known of them is undoubtedly the master. A name, or rather a spelling, that only certain establishments are entitled to use. Starting with all the universities, which thus name their fourth (M1) and fifth years (M2).

Masters or Masters?

If the master is a university degree, some private schools – business, engineering or specialized in different fields – can also claim it. To do this, they must submit an application file to the Ministry of Higher Education for each course. If accepted, training may take the name master for a maximum period of five years.

This spelling is therefore the guarantee of the quality of the education provided and of its recognition in the academic world. But you will also come across the term “master”. This means that the course in question did not go through the caudine forks of the ministry. However, it can be of excellent quality and well recognized by the professional world.

Duration: masters and masters are generally divided into two years, M1 and M2. The program is designed as a whole, with a more general common core in M1, more specialized and professionalizing in M2.



of students enrolled in master 1 at the university obtain a master 2, two years later

Ministry of Higher Education and Research

Cost: big difference between public and private. For a master’s degree at the university, you will have to pay 243 euros for each year. In public schools (like some engineering courses), the year will cost you between 600 and 2700 euros. In the private sector, the bill still rises: between 7,000 and 15,000 euros per year depending on the school.

Master of science (MSc)

Despite its misleading name, an MSc is not necessarily related to science. Diploma level bac+4, it is accessible after a license or a bachelor. Often taught entirely in English (at least 30% of lessons must be in order to qualify for this label), the MSc often welcomes many internationals on its benches. It is the most specialized of the bac+4/5 diplomas. We recommend it to those who have a fairly precise idea of ​​the skills they want to acquire.

Duration: 12 to 24 months.

Cost: 600 to 2,700 euros per year in a public school, 7,000 to 15,000 euros in the private sector.

Specialized Master (MS)

Label created by the Conférence des Grandes Ecoles (CGE), it can be given in Business Schools and engineering schools. The Specialized Master is a level above the diplomas mentioned above and will give you a baccalaureate +6. In theory, you must therefore have obtained a level of master 2 (bac +5) to access it, even if there are derogations to integrate it into bac +4, as long as you justify three years of professional experience. . This mixture of students and working people makes the specificity of the MS and one of its assets in terms of networking, sharing of experience, etc. Some use it to retrain professionally, change sectors; others to acquire dual skills after an initial course of study. Example, a commercial profile wishing to work in digital and gain technical knowledge, or an engineer seeking to complete his profile with more CSR.

Duration: 12 to 18 months

Cost: from 3,000 to 30,000 euros depending on the school.

And the MBA?

According to the courses, the term MBA (Master of Business Administration) does not designate the same thing. As its name is not regulated, an establishment can use it freely to name its courses. A piece of advice, therefore: do your research before choosing! Which participants does the training welcome? What functions do they then occupy?

In its best-known version, the MBA is in fact an Executive MBA, that is to say that it is intended for professionals: engineers who wish to train in management, young talent from a company who is destined to in hierarchy, entrepreneurs, etc.

According to the “Financial Times”, France has the world’s No. 1 MBA: Insead, in Fontainebleau (Seine-et-Marne). Its course welcomes participants of more than 90 nationalities, many of whom will work in consulting firms (51%), high technologies or even finance.

Duration: 12 to 18 months in France, rather two years in Anglo-Saxon countries

Cost: this is a real investment, because you will have to pay 10,000 to… 100,000 euros for a top-tier program.

Our file “Go into master mode!” »


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