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I did my PhD in the UK. During my third year, I was an exchange researcher in Paris (PSL).

As I was keen to get further qualifications, I enrolled as an "M2" student (2nd year of a Masters) and, after completing all the course work and a thesis, I was awarded a Masters.

I'm now applying for postdoc fellowships in both the UK and the US and I am not sure how to indicate my French degree on my CV.

I fear that "MA" might not do justice to the work I did, which was very research-focused. I feel that "MPhil" is probably more adequate, but MPhils don't exist in France, so technically, that is inaccurate.

Can I put down "MPhil ('M2')" on my CV, or would that be misleading?

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2 Answers 2

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You should name the degree exactly as it was awarded by the institution. Anything else is misconduct. Let others make "equivalence" decisions.

You can explain, but not change titles, that the work was research heavy and point to publications if any.

But, use the wording of the French institution as shown in any of their official documents such as a transcript.

Note that those evaluating such things are pretty sophisticated about it and will object to anything that seems "fishy". I wouldn't even try to say that it is equivalent to xxx, but only that it involved extensive research - i.e. a description of the work, not a title of the degree.


You can, of course, provide links to official documentation about the nature of the degree from that institution. Even if they are in French, people can deal with it.

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You have to put the exact title, in French. This is what was awarded to you.

You did not get an "M2" but probably a Master (sorry, I got carried away in the previous version and referred the wrong word) -- it depends on the year and generally speaking French academic labeling is a heap of mess 1. Please write it exactly as it is on your diploma.

After that you can try to provide an equivalence based on the Bologna classification and go for something like "Master in Philosophy" (with a reference to the Bologna classification). Hopefully the committee will have some equivalence map as well.


1 Mostly because we feel that our education is so unique that it requires incompatible titles and no other can provide the shining it deserves. Anyway.

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    Mastères are usually delivered by private institutions, as a non-standard Master-ish diploma; in this case this post is wrong because ENS Paris doesn't deliver any Mastères, they deliver regular, standard, state-recognized Masters, and they are able to do so because they are affiliated with Université PSL
    – zdimension
    Commented Nov 25, 2023 at 12:10
  • Agree with @zdimension, I have actually never heard of “Mastères” as someone who studied in France and got a Master from ENS. The second year of the Master was indeed called M2. So this seems like an incorrect answer.
    – user126108
    Commented Nov 25, 2023 at 13:46
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    @zdimension: Master, of course Master - I even mentioned it later. Corrected, sorry, sorry.
    – WoJ
    Commented Nov 25, 2023 at 14:21
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    @leonos yes yes, see my other comment. But M2 is not a diploma, Master is. M2 is just the 2nd year (after the License and M1)
    – WoJ
    Commented Nov 25, 2023 at 14:21

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