French education for engineers is significantly different from that of the United States. This fact will be the topic of this paper as well as the sequencing of French education. There are four schools in France that provide for the bulk of the engineering education after high school. These are called NATIONAL INSTITUTS FOR APPLIED SCIENCES or INSA. These institutions are very comprehensive and high level.
The NATIONAL INSTITUTS FOR APPLIED SCIENCES or INSA take students who have completed their secondary school studies and select them on the basis of their examination results and their academic records. The recruitment is highly selective. In 1991, 11,000 candidates with a science baccalauréat applied for about 1,200 places. It is therefore obvious, that the INSAs attract students with a high level of scientific education in mathematics, physics and chemistry.
The studies begin with a two-year basic study program in the PREMIER CYCLE, which is comprised of general science courses in mathematics, physics, chemistry, mechanics and computer science. These courses are also complimented with courses in the Liberal Arts. The students who pass the first and second year exams are admitted to the Engineering Departments where they continue their studies for three additional years. This enables the students to specialize in nearly all the different engineering sciences: computer studies, mechanics, physics, chemistry and biochemistry. One original aspect of the INSAs is that, the number of students in a department can vary depending on the state of employment prospects. All the INSAs train their students according to the same principles and curricula as the other four institutions.
The First cycle is a two-year program of common core classes that welcomes secondary school graduates. Its goal is to prepare students for entry into one of the Institute's specialized departments. The initial qualifications of those who apply...