The Diplôme de design is based on a five-year curriculum, divided into two cycles (a 3-year undergraduate program, BDes followed by a 2-year master’s course, MDes).

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 and 2016. 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 is equivalent to a 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.

The authorization to issue a certified degree is granted by the ministry, for a period of up to 6 years following the assessment of the training progams. Schools must resubmit their application periodically. The school’s MDes degree was assessed again in 2016 by the Haut Conseil pour l’Evaluation de la Recherche et de l’Enseignement supérieur (the French evaluation agency for research and higher education, or HCERES), and received the highest grade possible.

Obtaining the degree

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.

Final Oral defense: 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)
45 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

BDes - Undergraduate studies


MDes - Postgraduate studies