The American Equivalents of French Education Levels

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CE1, 5ème, Terminale… the French education system has an entirely different vocabulary for levels of education. Here’s a list of the French years of study and their American equivalents.

L’École Maternelle (equivalent to preschool)

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La crèche — nursery, day care

Moyenne section de maternelle — Pre-kindergarten

L’École Primaire — Elementary school, primary school

Grande section maternelle — Kindergarten

CP (cours préparatoire), 11ème — 1st grade

CE1 (cours élémentaire niveau 1), 10ème — 2nd grade

CE2 (cours élémentaire niveau 2), 9ème — 3rd grade

CM1 (cours moyen 1), 8ème — 4th grade

CM2 (cours moyen 2), 7ème — 5th grade

Le collège — Middle school, junior high school, junior high

6ème — 6th grade

5ème — 7th grade

4ème — 8th grade

3ème — 9th grade

Le lycée — High school

2nde — 10th grade

1re — 11th grade

Terminale — 12th grade

L’université, la fac — college, university, undergrad

Licence, Bac+3 — bachelor’s

It is not possible to compare the undergrad years in France with those of the United States because the number of years of school isn’t equivalent.

L1, 1ème

L2, 2ème

L3, 3ème

Masters, Bac+5  — graduate school, grad school (master’s degree)

M1 — first year of master’s

M2 — second year of master’s

Doctorat, Bac+8 — graduate school, grad school (doctoral degree)

D1 — first year of doctorate

D2 — second year of doctorate

D3 — third year of doctorate