Studies, degrees and Fine Art Schools

You wish to enroll in a study program at an art school 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.




Create Art: today, the CampusArt network is mainly focused on fine arts, applied arts and design.  The network comprises both private and public schools offering programs geared towards candidates destined for a career in art in various creative fields, including fashion, interior design and graphic design: in other words, those who wish to create art.

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.

Postsecondary schools of art

In the arts there is a distinction between fine and applied arts. Diplomas are distributed according to this distinction.

Public postsecondary national schools of art
Like engineering and management, the arts in France have their very selective Grandes Écoles, the public postsecondary national schools of artconfer 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

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

Public schools of fine arts
Some 50 schools of fine arts (national, regional, and municipal), are sites of training and creative activity that combine learning with practice in the artistic act, artistic theory, research, and experimentation in contemporary art.Programs are offered at two levels (capping 3 or 5 years of postsecondary study). These schools confernational diplomasin art, design, and communication.
• List of public schools:

Public postsecondary schools of applied arts (Écoles Supérieures d'Arts Appliqués, ESAA)
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

Music, dance, drama ... In France there are four main types of conservatories: the National Conservatories of Music and Dance (CNSMD only two in France, one in Paris and one in Lyon), Conservatories in Regional Radiation (CRR), the Departmental Radiation Conservatories (CRD) and Conservatories in Communal Radiation (CRC). The CNSMD, CRR, CRC and CRD work in partnership with universities and offer courses that are part of the LMD system.
• List of conservatories :>Guide pratique de la musique>Base de données>Conservatoires et écoles de musique

Schools for the preservation and promotion of historic and cultural heritage
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
• École Nationale des Chartes (ENC), Paris
• Institut National du Patrimoine (INP), Paris

Private postsecondary schools of art
Many private schools offer 3–5 year postsecondary programs and confer diplomas specific to the school. Such programs are often costly. Some are listed in the RNCP, the national registry of professional certifications:

Note: the French university in France is now only issuing master's degrees. The term master sometimes gives rise to ambiguities on the websites of some private institutions as the National Commission specifically seeks to raise.


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.

The 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.

Art school admissions

After the baccalaureat or equivalent, or even after a year of preparation, see a level of 2 years of art studies, admission to schools of public art (almost 60) or private and conservatories is made by a competition selective presentation of an art portfolio.
Many training preparing for entrance exams of public and private art schools.
• List of Public preparatory classes belonging to the Association nationale des classes Préparatoires Publiques aux Écoles Supérieures d’Art (APPEA) :>Liste et carte des écoles

Art degrees and Culture within the LMD system

Higher art or applied art schools and universities are public institutions of high quality, where education is free and national diplomas recognized by the state.
In order to facilitate the mobility of students from one school to another these diplomas are accompanied by an ECTS and Diploma Supplement. View site chapitre « French higher education ».


1 - A brief description of national degrees on offer :

L2 Level - 2 years postsecondary study :

- Brevet de Technicien Supérieur (BTS) in Applied Arts : issued by the ESAA, training lasts two years and form designers in 9 specialties choice

- Diplôme des Métiers d’Art (DMA) : curriculum in two years prepared in ESAA, it allows for specialization in art and transmission of traditional business expertise.

L3 Level- 3 years postsecondary study :

- A Licence's degree is awarded following six semesters in higher education and the validation of 180 ECTS “credits”.  Students gradually specialize in their chosen field: arts, law, economics, math, physics, philosophy, history…

- Diplôme national d’arts et techniques (DNAT) : art and technology curriculum consists of a single cycle of 3 years. It comes in three options: space, graphic design and product design design. At the end of this course, students can choose to insert directly into the labor market or pursue graduate studies.

- Diplôme National d’Arts Plastiques (DNAP) : First cycle of the curriculum art and artistic expression of the art of the Ministry of Culture schools. It lasts three years and confers the rank of License. A common core year ends with an examination, after which successful students choose one of three tracks: art, communication, or design. The next 2 years (known as the program phase) are spent in that track.

M2 Level- 5 years postsecondary study :

A Master’s degree is awarded after four additionalsemesters of study following a bachelor’s degree and the validation of 120 ECTS « credits ».  A Master’s degree has two main orientations: - the professional Master’s degree, the purpose of which is to enable students to join the workforce; - the research Master’s degree, which basically leads on a doctorat. 

- Diplôme National Supérieur d’Expression Plastique (DNSEP) : 2nd cycle courses art and artistic expression of the art of the Ministry of Culture schools, called project phase. It is dedicated to the development of the personal project of the student. It lasts two years and confers the rank of Master.

- Diplôme Supérieur en Arts appliqués (DSAA) : to holders of BTS, DMA, DTA or equivalent qualifications. The course lasts 2 years and confers the rank of Master. In their final year, students complete a project on a specific theme. DSAA programs train true creative designers. The degree recognizes artistic training accompanied by practical internships.

D Level- 8 years postsecondary study :

A doctorat can be obtained after a research Master’s degree or a DEA, which is awarded after one year’s research on a specific topic:  a dissertation is compulsory as it is one of the conditions for obtaining a doctorat.  Three years of doctoral study (or more) once the topic for research has been accepted: dissertation, seminars, etc.

2 - Recognition and certification of degrees :

The « Commission nationale de la certification professionnelle » is a government organization in charge of introducing a new classification for the certification of degrees. Thanks to a greater degree of transparency, this will enable European and international qualifications to be easily compared.  The commission has created a national directory of professional qualifications with over 2300 descriptive sheets. In addition to post-secondary education level I and II certification (Licence, Master…), all other recognized qualifications should be included shortly. 

WARNING: many institutions, generally private, yet intitulent securities they issue "MASTER", they are not master's degrees (awarded by the University), but titles of establishment which are only described Master's level: an indication somehow the number of academic years from the tray. To be eligible to enroll in university 3rd cycle (doctorate) must have a diploma conferring the rank of master.

(to now more : )

Resource Center

> Institutional profiles : here

> Degree descriptions :art

> Subject area profiles :

Following profiles above give the main ideas regarding these teachings in France. See also the list of internet links proposed reference.

> General Links of arts : Document Acrobat

> Research profiles :


French higher education

You will find all information about French higher education here.