Schools, studies and degrees in Art

You want to follow an artistic program in France

A long tradition of artistic training

National public institutions in France have offered training in the classical arts—music, dance, and theater—since the end of the eighteenth century. Today, in Paris and in every region of the country, one finds public postsecondary schools of art (nearly 60), as well as schools administered by local chambers of commerce and industry (called écoles consulaires), private schools, and art-related programs in nearly 50 universities. Given this variety anyone can find a program to suit his or her educational goals.

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Create Art

Long you have prepared your “book”: present your work online! (website, blog, portfolio …)
Looking preferably Public postsecondary schools of art or Public postsecondary schools of applied arts (Écoles Supérieures d’Arts Appliqués, ESAA), public or private.
Visual Arts, Design (graphic arts, industrial design, interior design, fashion …) are available in more programs, but also cinema, new technologies …

Degrees in Art and Culture
Study / Manage Art

The network now incorporates universities that offer not only many theoretical programs, but also management programs for a career in art. The network constitutes a center of excellence in French post-secondary education. In fact, cultural operators, event managers, directors and managers of artistic companies and various cultural centers of all kinds throughout the country now boast extensive and widely recognized know-how. Theorists and art critics, as well as “cultural managers” often come from universities.

Higher Schools of Art

Public postsecondary specific schools of art and design

These national public schools issue diplomas institutions.
Some qualifications of institutions confer master-level national diplomas in applied arts, visual arts, design and creation, industrial design, and photography:
• École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs (ENSAD), Paris
• École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-arts (ENSBA), Paris
• École Nationale Supérieure de la Création Industrielle (ENSCI-Les Ateliers), Paris
• École Nationale Supérieure de la Photographie (ENSP), Arles
• Le Fresnoy – Studio National des arts contemporains, Tourcoing

Two schools offer a 2–4 year curriculum in theater and film:
• École Nationale Supérieure des Arts et Techniques du Théâtre (ENSATT), Lyon
• « La Fémis » – École Nationale Supérieure des Métiers de l’Image et du Son (ENSMIS), Paris

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Public postsecondary schools of Art and Design, national and territorial

45 Public postsecondary schools of Art and Design, under supervision of the Ministries of Culture and, Higher Education, Research and Innovation, provide training in visual arts and are implanted in different cities of France. These school are sites of training and creative activity that combine learning with practice in the artistic act, artistic theory, research, and experimentation in contemporary art and design. Programs are offered at two levels (capping 3 or 5 years of postsecondary study). These schools confer national diplomas in art, design, and communication. The 1st cycle confers Licence-Level diploma and the 2nd cycle diploma confers the degree of Master.

• Public Schools list :
Charters for Studies and Research in Art Schools and French Public Highet Art Schools network – ANdEA web site

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Public postsecondary schools of applied arts

French arts, crafts, and know-how are found in more than 38,000 workshops, 100,000 artisanal enterprises, and 217 different occupations grouped into many specialty areas. The ESAAs award national diplomas in very specific areas upon completion of a 2–4 year curriculum. Graduates are prepared to begin careers in a variety of design-related fields: graphic design (media, multimedia); spatial design (interior architecture, lifestyle, sets); fashion, textile, and environmental design; design of products and services; and crafts (textiles, jewelry, books, glass, ceramics, and others).

• List of ESAAs:>Formation

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Music, dance, drama … In France there are four major types of conservatories: the National Conservatories of Music and Dance (CNSMD only two in France: in Paris and in Lyon), Conservatories in Regional Radiation (CRR), the Conservatories in Departmental Radiation (CRD) and Conservatories to radiation Communal (CRC). The CNSMD, CRR, CRC and CRD work in partnership with universities and offer part of the LMD system courses.

• Conservatories’ list:

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Three public schools of historic and cultural heritage offer advanced programs. Some curricula prepare students for careers requiring knowledge of historic and cultural heritage (art historians, guides and presenters), others for careers involving its preservation (conservators, restorers, architects of historic monuments and properties).
• École du Louvre (EDL), Paris : 1er cycle, 2e cycle, 3e cyclemuséologie
École Nationale des Chartes (ENC), Paris
Institut National du Patrimoine (INP), Paris

Other institutions offer degrees with conservation, restoration, heritage’s specialties : l’École Supérieure d’Art et de Design TALM – Tours, l’Université Polytechnique Hauts-de-France, …

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Many private schools offer 3- to 5-year postsecondary programs. The degrees are particular to each school and vary widely in cost and quality. Some of the certificates and titles conferred are registered in the RNCP, the National Directory of Professional Certification. The National Directory of Professional Certification ( is the official organization under ministerial supervision, responsible for validating these degrees and classify them according to the level of employment. (

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Most French programs in art history and theory – history of art, theater, cinema, and music – are offered in the universities at all three major degree levels: Licence (bachelor), master, and doctorate. Academic programs leading to a Licence professionnelle or professional master include a practical training component.

Universities offer three major art tracks:
• Performing arts : with programs in film analysis, the history of directing, and so on
• Fine arts : with programs in art history, the analysis of works of art, and aesthetics, among other subjects
• History of art : with programs in the history of artistic creation, painting, sculpture, architecture, and more.

Research in artistic fields is performed by more than a hundred teams affiliated with about 30 doctoral departments operating within institutions throughout France.

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Note: the French university is now only in France to grant Master-degrees. (Most public higher schools of art award degrees to the rank of Master). The term Master sometimes gives rise to ambiguities in the websites of some private institutions as the National Commission specifically seeks to raise.


Visual Arts: 

Applied Arts:

Art degrees and Culture within the LMD system

Art school admissions

Post-baccalaureate or equivalent, or after a preparatory year or level two years of art studies, admission to schools of public or private art and conservatories is made by a selective competition and portfolio presentation.

Many programs prepare for the entrance examination of public and private art schools.

• List of Public preparatory classes’ list in the National Association of Public Preparatory classes for the Graduate Schools of Art (APPEA) network:>Liste et carte des écoles

• List of classes and preparatory courses integrated in art schools list:

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Degrees in Art and Culture

France’s postsecondary schools of art and applied arts, like its universities, are excellent public institutions that award national diplomas recognized by the French government and transferable credits under the European Credit Transfer System.

Degrees in Art and Culture

Degrees, certificates and titles

Degrees, certificates and titles in French art schools

L2 Level - 2-year postsecondary study

L2 Level - 2-year postsecondary study

Brevet de Technicien Supérieur (BTS): in 2 years in 9 specialities

Diplôme des Métiers d’Art (DMA): in 2 years, specialization in art and acquisition of know-how expertise


L3 Level - 3-year postsecondary study

L3 Level - 3-year postsecondary study

Licence: in 3 years, 180 ECTS. 2 specialities, several mentions.
Diplôme National d’Art: in 3 years, 180 ECTS, Licence-Level.
3 options : art, communication and design.
Diplôme National d’Art des Métiers d’Art et du Design (DNMADE): in 3 years, 180 ECTS, Licence-Level. Mentions: fashion, digital, object, heritage, show …


M2 Level - 5-year postsecondary study

M2 Level - 5-year postsecondary study

Master:in 2 years, 120 ECTS. 2 specialities, several mentions.
Diplôme National Supérieur d’Expression Plastique (DNSEP): in 2 years, 120 ECTS, Master-level. 3 options Art, Communication and Design, several mentions.
Diplôme Supérieur en Arts Appliqués (DSAA): in 2 years, 120 ECTS Master-level. Form some “designers-creators.”

Post-M Level - 6-year postsecondary study

Post-M Level - 6-year postsecondary study

Post-M Level: between one and three years after the Master degree. Research in the field of contemporary art, design or graphic design.

PhD Level - 8-year postsecondary study

PhD Level - 8-year postsecondary study

PhD: 3 years (at leat) after research topic approval: thesis writing, seminars and training.


Recognition and certification of qualifications

The National Commission for Professional Certification is an agency state charged with developing a new classification of certification levels, could allow the European and international comparisons through transparency implies. Outside of qualifications in higher education Level I and II (bachelor, master, diploma referred …), all certifications should be included soon.

WARNING: many institutions, generally private, yet intitulent degrees they issue “Master”; it is not Master degree (awarded by the University), but establishment titles which are described only Master level: an indication of the number academic years after the baccalauréat. To be eligible to enroll in 3 cycle University degree (PhD) must have a diploma conferring the rank of Master.