CDEFI releases its 2023 overview of French Schools of Engineering

On 16 June, CDEFI released its annual overview of French Engineering Schools during its 2023 colloquium, which took place in Bruxelles. Data presented cover the 2021-2022 academic year.

Every year, CDEFI gathers global data regarding French Engineering Schools’ activities, focusing on key issues such as student population, admissions, graduates, international strategy, research and occupational integration. These data provide a comprehensive view of French Engineering higher education. Since 2016, data are submitted by Schools through a dedicated online platform. 

CDEFI would like to express its gratitude to Engineering Schools’ boards and administrations for their collaboration and availability that made this data collection possible. We also warmly thank all members of the Data Collection Steering Committee for the quality of their contribution.

88% of Schools answered this year’s survey, showing their investment in the collective project that is this initiative, which aims to give an objective overview of their activities and to inform the public of their specificities.

Similar to last year, the Schools’ key figures are released as a written report, supplemented with a video presentation that was conceived as a promotional support of French Engineering Schools intended at CDEFI’s various counterparts, including institutions, partners, students, etc.

Let’s now review the 2021-2022 key figures collected by CDEFI and completed by data gathered by other institutions like the CTI or the French Ministry of Higher Education and Research.

Student population

During the 2021-2022 academic year, French Engineering Schools recorded a total of 246,000 students all courses combined. Among them, 193,000 were preparing for an Engineering Degree in 3 or 5 years and 1,700 for a Bachelor in Science and Engineering.

Looking at the types of registration, data show that state Schools that are under the supervision of the Ministry of Higher Education and Research gather 51% of apprentices preparing for an Engineering Degree, decreasing 6 percentage points compared to the previous year. Private Schools comes right after (34% of apprentices, slightly increasing 3 points), followed by state Schools supervised by another Ministry (15%). It is interesting to note that close to 16% of students preparing for an Engineering Degree enrolled for apprenticeship training.

In addition, women represent 32% of the Schools’ total student population, with a relatively higher rate in state Schools supervised by a “technical” Ministry, i.e. either the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Defence, the Ministry of Ecology or the Ministry of Economics and Finance.


According to the Ministry of Higher Education and Research’s data from Parcoursup1, close to 17,900 Baccalaureate graduates entered an Engineering School at the beginning of the 2022-2023 academic year. Among them, more than 16,100 enrolled in preparatory classes within Engineering Schools (first two years of training). Like last year, more than half of incoming freshmen entered a private School. Most common high school specialties chosen by these new students are the “mathematics + physics” pair, taken by 56% of incomers.

Additionally, around 48,200 students entered an Engineering School two years after the baccalaureate in 2022, which represents a 18% increase on a five-year period.

Data collected by CDEFI show around 46,500 new Engineering students in 2022. These last years, a diversification of these incoming students’ profiles has been observed, with a decreasing number of students coming from preparatory classes for Grandes Ecoles (CPGE), whereas more students enrol after a preparatory class taken within Engineering Schools (CPI). Currently, CPGE students represent 33% of incomers (2 percentage points lower than the previous year), and CPI students 32% (3 points higher).

Further details on women students and apprentices’ admissions can be found in the written report.


French Schools of Engineering graduated more than 46,800 students in 2021, which represents an increase of 6% compared to 2020, a rate of increase that has been consistent for the last 3 years (+3% in 2020). The majority of graduates who followed an apprenticeship training still come from private Schools and state Schools that are parts of universities, which both combined graduated 57% of these students in 2021.

International openness

During the 2021-2022 academic year, about 41,000 foreign students were registered in French Schools of Engineering, representing more than 18% of the total student population, with 3% coming from the European Union and 16% from outside. Most of the thousand identified European PhD students is registered in state Schools. 

In addition, half of students preparing for an Advanced Master are foreign students. Abroad courses, including those provided on remote campuses, play a substantial part in the schools’ international strategy. In CDEFI’s data, around 50 French Engineering Schools are involved in overseas campuses worldwide, except for Oceania and North America.

Concerning abroad internships, 38% of all French Schools of Engineering’s students did an international internship.

Research and innovation

In 2021, almost 4,000 PhD thesis were conducted under the supervision of a team including at least one Engineering School’s staff member, which represents 58% of all thesis submitted in the field of Exact Science. Moreover, more than 120 patents were issued in 2021, making a total of 2,200 since 2019.

Occupational integration

The employment rate of young Engineering graduates is 95%, with an average first job search duration of 4 months after graduation.

Most common contracts are permanent contracts (CDI) and main recruitment sectors are IT activities and information services (17%), the construction industry (11%) and the automobile, aeronautics, naval and railway industries (10%).

For more detailed facts and figures, feel free to read and download the written report below (only available in French).

The French national higher education application platform.

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