Like other French universities, the Université Grenoble Alpes (UGA) participates in larger European systems of degrees and course credits. On this page, you will find basic information about French grades, transfer credit, transcripts and degrees, as well as links to the UIGA's library and archival resources.

Academic Calendar and Exams

The French academic year typically begins in September or October and finished in May or June, depending on the university and course of study. Calendars may vary by academic department and program, particularly for master’s programs.

Please note: in some cases, the exam session for first semester happens in January, after the Christmas break.

The European Higher Education System

Following the Bologna process, French universities have adopted the European system for credits and degrees. This shared system allows for comparisons across European countries, student mobility, and degrees which are easily understandable in European labor markets.

There are three degree levels or cycles: bachelor’s degrees (licence), master’s degrees, and doctoral degrees. The Bologna accords signatories also use a shared credit system, the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). ECTS are based on student outcomes, and take into account both contact hours in the classroom and expected work outside of the classroom. A semester of full-time study is 30 ECTS, a year 60.

Each degree requires a certain number of credits, and typically takes the same number of years of full-time study.

Types of courses

You may see individual courses described with the abbreviations CM, TD, or TP. CM – cours magistraux – are large, lecture-style courses. TD and TP – travaux dirigés and travaux pratiques – are smaller group work, lab sections, or discussion groups. A course may have both a CM and TP or TD, or may be taught simply in CM. Make sure that you are properly enrolled in all the necessary components of your courses.

Evaluation and Grades

Student work is evaluated either by contrôle continu or by final exam, or both. Contrôle continu is an ongoing evaluation of student work, which may take the form of essays, homework, class participation, labwork, or other assigned work throughout the semester. Exams are held during the exam period, and students must make sure that they are enrolled for the final exam, present and on-time for the exam session, and that they have proper identification.

It’s in your best interest to establish how your work in the course will be evaluated, and to ensure that you are registered for the final exam session. If you have questions about the exam, you should ask them well before the exam starts, not on the day of the exam itself. Students who miss or fail an exam can retake that exam in the second exam session, typically held in June or July for both semesters. As is the case for regular exams, students must be present for these rattrapages on the day on which they are scheduled, and may not take them online or at another institution.

French grades are assigned out of 20. Students need a global average of 10/20 for the year to advance to the next year of studies; in this sense 10 is the “passing” grade, though it is possible to have a lower grade in a single course and an overall average of 10 (though no single grade can be lower than 7/10). French grading is quite strict: it is unusual to see grades above 16 or 17, particularly in disciplines which are graded subjectively. France also has a system of honors: students with a high average can earn a mention assez bien (average = 12), mention bien (average = 14) and mention très bien (average =16).

Accreditation by year

Students enrolled in degree programs are evaluated on their total performance for the academic year. In order to advance to the next year or earn a degree, a student must have a minimum average of 10/20 for all work in the academic year. Student performance is evaluated by a system of juries, and grades are typically not available until after these juries have met and made their decisions.

Non-degree seeking students, such as exchange students, are not evaluated by jury, but the grades for their courses are typically not available until after the process is complete.

Transcripts and diplomas

Transcripts are not available until after grades are established by jury, even for students (such as exchange students) whose work is not evaluated during this process. Diplômes are typically available in the year following the completion of degree requirements; dates vary but there may be up to a year’s delay. Attestations de réussite are provided immediately after results are known to cover the period while degrees and diplomas are being prepared.

Students generally receive only one copy of their final transcript and one copy of their diploma. Students are expected to make copies for employers or admission to further studies.

Libraries and archival resources

The UGA is fortunate to have a number of libraries and archives with rich resources in all disciplines. Five branches of the main university library house extensive collections in the humanities, social sciences, law, and business (the BU Droit-Lettres), Science and Technology (the BU Sciences), Medicine and Health (BU Médecine Pharmacie), and Education and Teacher Training (BU Professorat Education); the Valence campus also has a library serving the students enrolled in programs there. In addition, students and researchers have access to specialized collections in subjects ranging from foreign language literature to math to business.

Updated on July 11, 2016