French Language Blog

La Cérémonie De Remise Des Diplômes – Graduating In France Posted by on Dec 7, 2016 in Culture

After many months of hard work on mon mémoire and years of studying for mon master, I finally received mon diplôme (my diploma) here in France!

Me signing for my diploma.

Signing for my diploma

La plupart des universités (most universities) in France do not have a special ceremony when it’s time to graduate. Normalement (normally), you receive le diplôme in the mail or have to go to le secrétariat (the administration office) and have them hand it to you. It’s a very mundane affair.

Cependant (however), the head of the department for my degree is une Américaine, and she likes to give les étudiants a special sendoff for completing the degree, including une cérémonie de remise des diplômes (a graduation ceremony).

I had the good luck of getting to wear un costume universitaire (a cap and gown) and walk across a stage thanks to la cérémonie de remise des diplômes! Mon professeur (my professor) handed me le vrai diplôme (the real diploma) and we took a photo together after I signed for it. I then waited with mes camarades de classe (my classmates) while the rest of my class was called on to the stage.

It was a fun way to end mes études (my studies) here in France and an experience I’ll remember for the rest of my life.

As for le diplôme lui-même (the degree itself), les diplômes and les notes (grades, marks) have everything you would expect: the official title of le master and the official signatures and seals of l’université. There is also a system similar to graduating with honors or cum laude:

Avec mention, avec mention assez bien – Cum laude
Avec mention bien – Magna cum laude
Avec mention très bien – Summa cum laude

It may be the end of my adventures in French academia, and while I still don’t understand all the intricacies of why classes have to be separated into les CMs et les TDs, I now have a deep appreciation for their education system and all it has taught me.

As for mes notes finales (my final grades), I may not have received un vingt sur vingt, but I did graduate avec mention bien!

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About the Author: John Bauer

John Bauer is an enthusiast for all things language and travel. He currently lives in France where he's doing his Master's. John came to France four years ago knowing nothing about the language or the country, but through all the mistakes over the years, he's started figuring things out.


  1. Chris:


  2. Helena:


  3. cristian sampayo:

    Congrats Jhon!! hahaah it’s true! France, it is not that fancy for these ceremonies! even if many may believe or wonder !! can not imagine my graduation In Paris!! OMG!! well ups not! POSTTTTT DELIVERY in your Boîte Mail!!

    It looks like nobody cares about the well-deserved diploma but companies ask it for everything when you are looking for a job… Just to get into cultural differences.. In Colombia or Latin America. The graduation ceremony is a serious affair!! It’s like you are taking office dudes!! they play the national Anthem, lots of speeches…you swear on the holy bible to respect and accept your profession with honor to serve society…….Serious thing! Then of course , huge party, food, dancing, pictures, alcohol more food = disaster, hang over and finally U R ready to be embraced by a world of unemployment.. YEAH