JPA France Engineering FAQ
France is a country that is known more for its tourism and arts. Not many realised however that France has a solid scientific background. Some of the most important scientific and mathematical theories were written by the French, like Laplace, Fourier and Descartes.
France has a long history of engineering breakthroughs, ranging from sabot rounds to turbines. It has a large industrial base, and is sufficiently independent in most engineering fields. Some of France's key industries include automotive, defense, aerospace and nuclear. It is also the fifth largest economy in the world and a member of the G8, which represents the world's leading industrialised countries.
The French higher system of education is a little bit different than the others (ie universities) in which there is a difference of being a scientist and engineer. This leads to two separate independent systems; one to train those who wish to be engineers and another for those who would like to pursue the sciences.
Universités and Ecoles
There are two types of universities in France: First is called universités or facultés, which follows a standard university template around the world. They offer a variey of courses, ranging from arts to the sciences. Admission is usually not selective, and those who apply will normally be accepted unless the university is a very old establishment, like La Sorbonne.
The second is called les ecoles. Ecoles are schools that are focused on a particular discipline. The discipline is not limited to sciences only; there are ecoles that focus on business and arts. Unlike universités, however, admissions are selective. Candidates are normally required to take an entrance exam and an interview. Some of the more prestigious (and elitist) ecoles like the Polytechnique require the candidates to pass a fitness test. Since this is page about the Engineering course in France, we'll concentrate on ecoles d'ingenieurs (engineering schools).
Typical universités courses last 3 years to earn a bachelor's degree (2 years foundation + 1 year degree), named Licence in French. A Master's degree takes 5 years (2 years foundation + 1 year bachelor + 2 years Master). A doctorate takes normally 7 - 8 years (2 years foundation + 1 year degree + 2 years Master + 2/3 years PhD).
Ecoles d'ingenieurs courses last around 3-4 years. As most ecoles do not have their own foundation courses, they will only accept those who have completed their foundation. Upon completion of the course students will be awarded a Diplome d'ingenieur (Degree in Engineering) which is equivalent to a Master's degree. However it is important to note that a Diplome d'ingenieur is not Masters in Eng, rather its level is the same as a Master in Eng degree. Master in Eng does not exist in France.
France Engineering Course
Each year, the Public Services Department of Malaysia (JPA; Jabatan Perkhidmatan Awam) and Majlis Amanah Rakyat (MARA) awards a few selected students an opportunity to study engineering in electrical & mechanical & chemical disciplines in the Republic of France. Students will be divided into two batches:
Foundation & Degree in France
The students will be doing 6 weeks of preparatory course at INTEC, UiTM and then they will leave to France on the month of June. Because of the that, names of the first batch will be announced earlier. They'll stay with a foster family for a few months to get used to the french culture. Then, they have to find other place to stay.The students of this batch has the option of entering engineering school or Institute University Technology (IUT) after finishing their foundation.
Foundation in Malaysia & Degree in France
This programme starts in July and includes a 20 months preparatory course in French language and technical subjects like programming, physics, mathematics, chemical, electricity, mechanical and so on at UniKL MFI followed by 4 months of intensive French in France. After this Pre-U, students enter the University Technology Degree in engineering (mechanical, chemical or electrical) for year. Upon completion of this two years diploma, they have various options. Enter the last year of a Bachelor degree and then continue to masters at local universities, or pursue directly masters in a Grande Ecole of engineering. Among the first 2 batches, 65% of the students have decided to go for Grande Ecole. For most students, this programme is then a 2-year pre-U and 2+3 master.
Advantages and disadvantages of studying France
- Language: Learning a new language can be hard as you will have to face some difficulties when you study everything in french. However, sooner or later, you will get used to it and French will be an advantage for you when you look for work.
- Syllabus: The French syllabus is different. The French system wants you to know the basics in a general field of engineering besides specializing in your field of choice. For instance, when you to university at there, you will have to do two years syllabus which is quite general. Only the final years, you will specialize and get your degree. For example, if you are doing chemical engineering, you will be studying subjects related to petrochemical, environment, etc. Only in your final year, you can choose the specific field of chemical engineering.
- Risks: The France Engineering is more risky as system is not fully recognized in Malaysia. There are attempts to get it recognised. Thus, if you pass everything with flying colours, then you don’t have any problem. However, if you fail halfway, let say in your degree, you come to Malaysia with nothing. However, the possibility of scholars coming back with at least a degree is very high. Nearly 95% are able to overcome the risks.
- Doing Masters and Degree: After studying first two years in the university, if you do well, you can choose to do your degree at that university or go a an engineering school. If you go to engineering school means you will be doing straight to Masters with extra two years need to study which MARA and JPA will pay for it of course. Thus, do Degree- 3 years, Masters- 5 years.