MINES Saint-Étienne

ISMIN – Master degree in Microelectronics and Computer Science

The ISMIN engineering diploma is obtained after 5 years of higher education of which the first two correspond to the preparatory classes (ending with a competitive exam) and the last 3 are to be taken at MINES Saint-Étienne (with exceptional exemption of the school’s first year for outstanding students from the university system). It is equivalent to a Master level in the Bologna system. International students can be admitted for the last 2 years of the ISMIN diploma (see admission requirements).

The ISMIN engineering degree was initiated at École des mines in 2003. From the beginning, it has been associated with the Centre of Microelectronics in Provence (CMP). The CMP has four cutting-edge research departments, Manufacturing sciences & Logistics, Bioelectonics, Digital harware security and Flexible electronics.

An “Ingénieur ISMIN” is qualified to innovate, design, set up, organize and manage industrial projects in the global environment of microelectronics, computer science and new technologies.

The ISMIN engineering program is a degree in engineering mostly taught in French, and accredited by the national “Commission des Titres d’Ingénieurs”. ISMIN offers an educational program focused on 4 different majors. It combines theoretical knowledge with hands-on projects, development of management and communication skills through international experience and practical training in partner companies. Small-classes teaching and close educational supervision are essential features of the program.

A course tailored to meet the needs of both students and industry

In order to meet the demands of industry and to anticipate the development of technologies and innovations in microelectronics design and computer science, ISMIN provides a learning environment which enables future engineers to:

  • Master the sciences and techniques in this highly-specialised field;
  • Understand the working methods of associated companies both from a human and economic point of view;
  • Develop the skills needed to study and work abroad, notably through practical involvement (particularly in English and other foreign languages).

In their final year (Master 2) students can major in one among 3 fields:

  • Computer Science
  • Embedded Systems
  • Micro-electronics design

and choose one of the following specialisations:

  • Mobility and Security
  • Electronics and Energy
  • Information Technology and Supply Chain
  • Bio-Medical Devices

The third year courses can be offered in English.

Engineering students in uniform during the graduation ceremony

The majority of students are recruited via the competitive « Télécom-INT » national exam. However, a parallel, credential-based enrollment  is available for excellent university graduates.

Candidates holding a Bachelor’s degree in mathematics, physics, mechanical engineering or computer science can join the School as first-year students. Candidates holding a Bachelor degree plus a first year of graduate studies or equivalent in the above mentioned disciplines, electronics, computing, mathematics and engineering can be directly enrolled into the second year.

The graduate course in microelectronics — ISMIN (Ingénieur Spécialisé en Microélectronique, Informatique et nouvelles Technologies) also welcomes international exchange students from partners or non partner universities as auditors for one or two academic semesters or for lab internship in its 2nd or 3rd year (4th or 5th year of higher education).

French Summer School and integration programs for international students are available.

Academic requirements

Bachelor of Science or engineering with honors either equivalent  or admission under the framework of an agreement (contact your office of international relations).

Language requirements

Level B1 (CECR) in French and English are required for students joining graduate engineering degrees taught in French.

Step 1

Check our list of international academic partners (PDF)

Step 2

If your university of origin is an École des Mines agreed university

You have to be approved by your university to apply for studies at École des Mines. The study abroad team of your university or the contact faculty in charge of the partnership will inform you about the application process, the course choice, as well as the funding opportunities.

If you want to apply as an independent candidate (degree-seeking students only)

You must hold a bachelor degree with honors or equivalent in mathematics, physics, electronics, IT, mechanics, civil engineering or other engineering sciences to apply for an enrollment in the next academic year (starting in September).

Auditions of candidates
  1. In France: Auditions are organized by a consortium of 14 French « Grandes Écoles d’Ingénieurs ». The application process, and the course selection are available online. Shortlisted candidates are invited to written tests in general science and French.
    Online application at https://astgrandesEcoles.fr/
  2. Abroad: École des Mines is part of the Mines-Telecom National Institute which organizes overseas auditions every fall in India and in China.

Financial information

  • Course registration fees:
    • €1,800 per year (ca. US $2,500) for EU students - fee waived in the case of dual degree agreements.
    • €3,850 per year (ca US $ 5,200) for non EU students- fee waived in the case of dual degree agreements.
  • Living expenses: approximately 700€/month.
  • Stipends are generally offered to students during their internship periods (4 to 6 months per year).
  • If you own the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or the SE401Q106 (Quebec), or any proof of international student insurance coverage, you don′t have to be affiliated to the French Student′s Social Security. In every other case, the affiliation to the French Student′s Social Security is compulsory. The minimum annual cost for the basic insurance is approximately 200 €, to be paid at EMSE office of the registrar during Welcome days (optional supplementary benefit coverage between 60 and 400 € annually).

1st year

The aim of the 1st year at school is to enable students to acquire an in-depth knowledge of the scientific building blocks needed by an engineer in all domains, with special emphasis given to EEA subjects, that is to say Electronics, Electro-technology and Automation. It also gives the students a solid grounding in engineering methods.

A four-week work placement is included in the course (February). Its primary objective is to introduce the future engineer to the world of industry and also give him/her hands-on experience of production methods.

1st year common-core syllabus Hours
Mathematics and Physics 175
Computer Science 175
Electronics 175
Management 115
Languages (English + 2d language.) 115
Internship 140
Civic and Associative Activities 85
Sports 85

2nd year

The 2nd year focuses, from a scientific and technical point of view, on EEA subjects and industrial computing. A large proportion of the course is devoted to general engineering studies.

At the end of the year, (15 March to 30 June) students undertake a 16-week in-house industrial project, on behalf of and financed by partner companies. The strict framework in which the ISMIN teachers/researchers work enables the students to gain practical experience and valuable insight into their future profession.

2nd year common-core syllabus Hours
Mathematics and Physics 110
Computer Science 110
Electronics 110
Management 85
Languages (English + 2d language.) 72
Industrial Project 400
Civic and Associative Activities 55
Sports 100

3rd year

In the 3rd year of the ISMIN course students choose to major in one of the three options. Each option represents 10 ECTS. The courses for the major take place from september to end of november.
From december to end of march they choose among one of the 4 specialisations (10 ECTS each).
The two core courses : Engineering Methods (4 ECTS),  English and another foreign language (4 ECTS),  and a one week workshop (2 ECTS) in february complete the semester.

The third year course finishes with a 6-month placement period. The advantage of scheduling it at this time is that upon graduation, students are better equipped to undertake engineering tasks and appreciate the work of a professional engineer. In addition, the placement period can be seen as a final stepping stone between the academic and business world.

Following their final year placement over 50% of our students receive full-time job offers from their host companies.

3rd year : Majors

  • Computer Science
  • Embedded Systems
  • Micro-electronics design

In addition to the major students choose one of the five following modules:

  • Mobility and Security
  • Electronics and Energy
  • Information Technology and Supply Chain
  • Bio-Medical Devices

The assessment of students is based on the European Credit and Transfer System: ECTS.

Teaching hours are divided into modules called ‘groupes pédagogiques’(GP) to which credits are allocated. These credits, 60 per year, are proportional to the workload produced by the students.
The number of hours specified for each module corresponds to the total amount of lectures + lab work + homework.

A GP is composed of a set of teaching activities explicitly and separately assessed : lectures, lab work, projects, bibliographical research, seminars, industrial placements… In accordance with the ECTS advocacy, the board of studies of each GP gives students a grade based on the student’s relative achievement. A good student may end up with a B or C if he/she is situated in the next to top group and if the group’s performance happens to be outstanding.

Pass Grades Level Percentage Numerical value Equivalent US Grades
A Outstanding 10% 4 A+
B Very good 25% 3.5 A
C Good 30% 3 B+
D Just above average 25% 2.5 C
E Pass 10% 2 C-
Failing grades Explanation
Fx Incomplete: must repeat course
F Failed: must repeat or withdraw
V Deferred exam
W Exempted

For each grade between A and E, the GP is successfully completed and the corresponding credits are transferred to the students.

Requirements for successful completion of a full year of study :

  • Each GP of the program must be completed;
  • A minimum Grade Point Average (GPA) must be obtained.
    The GPA is obtained through transformation of A, B, C, D and E grades into points (see chart above). The correspondence between French and US grades and points has been established in accordance with North-American institutions and the GE4 recommendations.

To obtain the diploma, a student must have completed every academic year and obtained a minimum score from an internationally recognized exam of English as a foreign language.

This minimum score and the minimum GPA are the requirements for the completion of the results of each academic year and are established by the board of studies.

The present passing GPA is 2,50.
Website: Correspondence between French and US grades

Contact us

For any information, please contact:

Philippe Beaune
Head of Master degree in Microelectronics and Computer Science
Phone: +33 4 42 61 66 31