A lexicon of useful terms and vocabulary for university life

To help you become familiar with university life in Poitiers you will find below a glossary of the most commonly used abbreviations and terms.

The LMD (Licence / Master / Doctorat, or Undergraduate /Graduate / Postgraduate) system

LMD is the French acronym for Licence Master Doctorat, which means Bachelor Master Doctorate. These diplomas correspond to three levels or grades:
3 years after High School Leaving Certificate
5 years after High School Leaving Certificate
8 years after High School Leaving Certificate

The three grades BA/BSc, Master and PhD are common to all member countries of the European Higher Education Area.

ECTS credits

Teaching modules (called Unités d’enseignement or UE) are expressed in ECTS (European Credit Transfer System). One module may include different subjects and different class formats (lectures, tutorials, seminars, labwork, personal work, etc.).

Each module has a given ECTS value that factors in the amount of work students must put in to pass this module. The student who succeeds in a given  module is awarded all the ECTS credit points associated with it.
Each course semester is assigned a total ECTS value of 30 credit points. In other words, a completed semester is worth 30 credits.
Degrees are obtained by accumulating ECTS credit points.
ECTS credit points are used in all European countries. They are a “common currency” of exchange and accumulation of acquired skills and knowledge.

BA/BSc = 6 semesters or 180 credits

BAs/BSc include:

Core courses specific to each specialty, according to subject and choice of major and minor;
Electives which add up to a tailor-made degree;
Transversal courses: computer science, foreign languages, methodology modules etc.
Optional modules (culture, sport, community project, computer science, foreign languages, etc.) to be chosen from a list offered by the University of Poitiers.

University Diplomas of Technology (DUT) = 4 semesters or 120 credits

The 2-year University Diplomas of Technology aim at providing students with the scientific and technical expertise required for immediate employability in relatively wide career fields. As such, they also allow for further studies in vocational undergraduate programs or integration into general undergraduate programs or engineering schools. DUTs are now integrated in the LMD system, which facilitates bridges to (and from) undergraduate programs.

Vocational Undergraduate Programs = 2 semesters is 60 credits

Admission to Vocational Undergraduate Programs is selective and requires the prior accumulation of 120 ECTS credit points (four completed semesters of undergraduate study) or a completed BTS or DUT. At the end of this one-year specialized program, the student will have validated 60 new credits and will hold a vocational undergraduate degree, intended as a preparation for direct professional employment. Further studies are not allowed, barring special exceptions.

Master = 4 semesters or 120 credits

The University of Poitiers offers Masters degrees in a wide range of fields. Admission to the 1st year of the programs is open to all holders of an undergraduate degree in the same field (i.e. 180 credit points) except for selective courses. Students from other fields may be accepted by special decision of the relevant authorities. Admission into the 2nd year of Master's degrees is selective, based on student performance, personal project, and the number of available places.


P.A.C.E.S. is the acronym for the 1st year of common core subjects for medical and health study programs; the final competitive exam at the end of the year gives access to study programs in medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, midwifery and physiotherapy. At the end of the first semester, students choose the exam(s) they wish to sit.

Engineering Diplomas

With its network of collaborations with the professional sector, the ENSIP offers 3-year engineering programs specialized in flourishing fields, especially engineering for the protection of the environment.


The doctorate (PhD) is a postgraduate degree accessible to holders of a research-oriented Master’s degree. It is issued after the defense of a PhD thesis or dissertation. In addition to their thesis work, doctoral students complete their training in one of the doctoral schools of the University of Poitiers.

Université de Poitiers - 15, rue de l'Hôtel Dieu - TSA 71117 - 86073 POITIERS Cedex 9 - France - Tél : (33) (0)5 49 45 30 00 - Fax : (33) (0)5 49 45 30 50 - webmaster@univ-poitiers.fr