The French Loi de Modernisation Sociale (Law of Social Modernization) of 17 January 2002 (and decree number 2002-590 dated 24 April, 2002) specifically authorized the granting of degrees based entirely on an assessment of the candidate’s work experience, through the process of VAE (validation des acquis de l’expérience).
The VAE has since been incorporated into the French Code of Education (Legislative Part, Third Part, Book VI, Title I, Chapter III, Section 2, Art. L613-3 to L613-6.) It is important to note that Art L613-4 states: “The validation produces the same effects as the knowledge or aptitude testing process that it replaces.” Moreover, the academic titles granted through VAE are identical to those gained by conventional study and any mention of VAE in those titles is considered discriminatory and is prohibited by law. All universities and other higher education institutions in France are legally required to apply the VAE if requested.
VAE has proved extremely popular in France. The candidate, who must have a minimum of three years of work experience, submits a portfolio of achievement which is then considered by a jury of professors, who meet either in person or electronically.
The wider French-speaking world has also embraced VAE. Those countries that are members of the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie typically include educational institutions that operate according to the French education system. European-American University was initially established in a member state of the Francophonie, the Commonwealth of Dominica, and first implemented its VAE procedure during this period. Today, it is a registered French établissement d’enseignement supérieur under the name Ecole Supérieure Euro-Américaine.
Our VAE process is presently offered at all academic levels and is undertaken entirely via distance learning. Our awards are legally classified as certificats d’enseignement supérieur privés which are degree-level awards made by private French higher education institutions. They are not grades ou titres universitaires which are reserved to French public universities. There is no system whereby certificats d’enseignement supérieur privés consisting of VAE assessment delivered by distance learning can receive endorsement, accreditation or validation from the French Ministry of Education. Consequently they stand on their own merits as legally-issued private degrees comparable to similar private degrees issued in other European countries such as Switzerland.
The system of academic awards is adapted in each case to reflect the needs of the candidate. The majority of candidates prefer degree titles that are recognisable in the English-speaking world, giving them a greater international comprehension. The diplôme de M.B.A and diplôme de Ph.D. are among the potential awards. Awards are mapped to UNESCO ISCED levels of achievement for easy comparison between different educational systems.
We follow the traditional French academic system (which has also been adopted in former French colonies and Francophone countries) which can be summarized as follows:
- High School Diploma
- (Première cycle) Diplôme de Associate – AA, ASc etc., following completion of two years of academic studies above high school graduation level or equivalent VAE assessment.
- (Deuxième cycle) Diplôme de Bachelor – BA, BSc, BBA etc., following completion of three years of undergraduate studies or equivalent VAE assessment.
- (Troisième cycle) Diplôme de MBA, MA, MSc, etc. following completion of two years (sometimes one year for executive business and technical disciplines) of graduate studies or equivalent VAE assessment.
- Diplôme de PhD, DBA, ThD, DMus, etc. following completion of a research thesis or equivalent VAE assessment.
Our degrees by VAE, like all EAU degrees, are covered by the UNESCO Conventions on the international recognition of credentials and may be designated as representing any postsecondary level of achievement and any degree title (including those above) that is permitted by the law.
The degree certificate is accompanied by an explanatory Supplement in English according to guidelines developed by the European Commission, the Council of Europe and UNESCO/CEPES.
A Jury of professors is convened to examine each VAE assessment, which is composed of members of our Fellowship and other academic experts as applicable.