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Masters: evaluation criteria

Challenges and aims

A master's degree speciality is part of the institution's range of training programmes up to year five of the higher education cycle in a major subject area (or a significant part of this) – and even in a multidisciplinary field. It is positioned within the institution's policy, is based on research strengths and factors in the local, regional and – at this level – national environment. It offers students taking it a professional future at executive or engineer level or the option to continue their studies via research or more directly in a company or services as soon as they graduate. It is made up of inter-consistent sub-specialities and allows students to gradually hone their study pathway to a given career.

Evaluation of master's degrees

Evaluation of a training programme by the AERES must follow its self-evaluation by the institution. This self-evaluation sets out to position each training programme with regard to the institution's strategy and its declared objectives, and it shows where each programme stands in the overall range available, in the way it is understood and is in keeping with the whole. Lastly, through its self-evaluation, the institution can detect the strengths and weaknesses of its training programmes and how these make use of the schemes placed at their disposal.

4 criteria are applied for the evaluation:

  • The educational project: the master's degree speciality leads to the expected learning outcomes and skills at the end of the programme. These are expressed in an educational project, designed over a two-year period, M1 and M2, which presents overall consistency between the sub-specialities, with pooling enabling students to gradually hone their study pathway to a given career. The organisation of classes, possibly across different study pathways, is presented in sufficient detail (number of hours, content, credit attribution procedure, additional, cross-cutting and pre-professional learning outcomes).
  • Where the speciality stands in the scientific and socioeconomic environment: It is vital that renowned research teams and socioprofessional circles be associated with the training programme, even if the relative importance of these associations depends on the objective of the speciality and its sub-specialities (research, professional, non-differentiated). The speciality is positioned in the institution's range of training programmes available and in the regional and national environment and may present educational links with other universities, schools or institutes via possible co-accreditations. A good international outlook increases the programme's drawing power.
  • Integration into the job market and continuation of chosen studies: the analysis of the fate of graduates justifies the programme and the expected skills at the end of it. The numbers of students enrolling in doctoral schools after the speciality must be in line with the objectives of the sub-specialities making up the speciality. The numbers of students, pass and integration rates and level of integration of graduates into the job market are concrete proof of the drawing power, quality and career prospects of the training programme. The forecasts for the forthcoming period in terms of expected student numbers, careers concerned and continuation of studies considered, recruitment pools and sectors, must be realistic and in keeping with the programme's project.
  • Programme leadership: the speciality is managed by diversified teaching staff, whose appointment, skills and method of operating are clearly determined. This team is made up of outside staff whose level of competence and responsibility in the socioeconomic environment meets the requirements of the training programme. Management is carried out through a programme enhancement board (or similar structure) and data gathered (nationality, follow-up and fate of students, etc.); this data, along with the results of the various evaluation processes (of students, by the students and leavers, self-evaluation, previous evaluations by the AERES) is used for a regular examination of the educational project (and of such reference documents as RNCP sheets or Descriptive Appendices to the Degree (ADDs)) as well as of how it is implemented, in order to make any necessary improvements.