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Obtaining the degree

The Master’s degree in design

All the MDes programs offered by L’École de design Nantes Atlantique lead to the master’s level degree (Diplôme de design) certified by the French Ministry of Higher Education.

L’École de design Nantes Atlantique is one of the very few design school(s) to have obtained certification from the French Ministry of Higher Education and Research for its Master’s degree in design. The certification was renewed in 2010. This degree is also registered in the Registre National des Certifications Professionnelles (the French directory for vocational qualifications or RNCP) as a Level I Master’s degree.

All degrees certified by the French Ministry of Higher Education and Research are guaranteed by the State. They are awarded by the schools on behalf of the State and, in return, the training programs are subject to additional monitoring and assessment.

A certified degree gives access to university master’s programs in France or abroad. It also allows students to receive equivalency credentials for foreign qualifications. In the international sphere, this quality certification gives a school the credibility needed to conclude cooperation agreements with top international universities.

Validating the 1st year

The students’ progress is assessed by continuous evaluation, including the validation of internships.
In order to pass from the first year of the MDes program to the final year, the student must have:

  • validated his/her 1st semester internship (30 ECTS)
  • obtained a general average of at least 12/20
  • no average less than 8/20 in any pole of studies
  • obtained 30 ECTS in the 2nd semester.

The terms and conditions of students’ possible admission to the final year or repeating a year if the above conditions are not met, will be decided by the Class Council and notified by the Director of Studies.

Validating the final year

Continuing evaluation includes the validation of the professional internship in a company or research laboratory (30 ECTS). The students must produce a thesis and an individual project, which are assessed by an internal jury. This represents 40 % of the grade average for the final degree.
In order to present themselves in front of the Board of Examiners (external jury), students must have a grade average of at least 10 out of 20 on this final degree project (averages of the 3 project phases + of their thesis). The final oral defense before the Board of Examiners, in which the student defends his/her career plan preparation and thesis project, counts for 60% of the grade average for the final degree.

Final degree examination

The thesis
Writing the thesis helps the students to construct their project by exposing them to different areas of knowledge. It should encourage the student to take an open-minded and curious approach to the chosen subject. The thesis (which can otherwise be referred to as “master’s dissertation”) should reflect the fundamental steps of research: formulate the subject, establish a state-of-the-art review, state the methodological framework and formulate the problem which will serve as the basis for the final degree project.

The project
Through his/her final degree project (which can otherwise be referred to as “master’s project”), the student must demonstrate the capacity to:

  • define and follow the different stages of project management, from the design brief to the realization of the project
  • choose the appropriate methodological and technical tools for the project.
  • assert a personal positioning and a strong innovative flair
  • project the chosen theme onto the professional field of the relevant topic-based program, taking into account social, economic and cultural factors.

The 4-month internship
The student must demonstrate the capacity to manage a project, plan and develop each stage of the project to ensure it runs smoothly, and work well as part of a team.
The academic pathway and career plan preparation
The student presents the skills acquired over their entire studies and professional experiences before a jury: these include technical, methodological and managerial skills. They must demonstrate their expertise in their chosen option, defend their skills in innovation, autonomy and critical open-mindedness, and finally prove their conviction in defending a professional project.

Composition of the jury

The jury, or Board of Examiners, under the authority of the chief education officer, is made up of 4 members from outside the school: two professional designers, a manager from the world of business or industry and an institutional representative. The President of the jury and the Vice-President are members of the university teaching staff, representing the Ministry of Higher Education.

Organization of the oral defense (viva)

  • 60 minutes to defend the final degree
  • 15 minutes to answer questions from the members of the jury

Conditions of obtaining the degree

The degree is delivered by the final Board of Examiners to students that have obtained:
1. A TOEIC score of at least 800 points*
2. A grade average of at least 10 out of 20 that breaks down as follows:

  • 40% corresponding to the grade attributed in continuous evaluation,
  • 60% corresponding to the grade obtained during the final defense/viva pertaining to the student’s course (final degree project, internship and any other element left to the choice of the student).

Should the student fail to obtain the diploma, they may ask to repeat the final year, subject to the approval of the Director of Studies and validation by the School Board.

*If the student has not obtained the required number of points in the TOEIC during their course, but has obtained at least 10/20 for the final Board of Examiners, he/she will not be able to obtain the degree. Students can still seek to obtain the required results in this exam within the two years following graduation. If the student has not obtained the required results within the deadline, they will not obtain their degree