MINES Saint-Étienne

ICM – Master degree in Science and Engineering

This Master, named « diplôme d’Ingénieur Civil des Mines (ICM) » in French, is the signature diploma of three French elite Schools of Engineering, Mines Paris-Tech, Mines Saint-Étienne, and Mines Nancy.

The ICM diploma is obtained after a 5-year higher education curriculum of which the first two are taken in the Preparatory Classes, ending with a competitive exam, and the last 3 are taken at the École des Mines.

Based on their academic credentials, international students can be enrolled for the last 2 years of the ICM diploma (see admission requirements). ICM welcomes an increasing number of international students from Europe, Asia, Africa, Latin America, and North America.

The ICM degree in executive engineering is accredited by the national “Commission des Titres d’Ingénieurs”. It is a high level scientific and management training, mainly taught in French.

It was originally created to meet the needs for elite executive staff in the French mining industry.

Associated with the “Mines” label, a symbol of excellence for nearly 200 years, the ICM curriculum offers a broad educational program focused on nine different majors. Regularly ranked among the top 15 of the 230 French engineering courses, ICM combines broad theoretical knowledge with hands-on projects, development of management and communication skills through mandatory international experience and practical training through long term interships in partner companies.Teaching in small classes, and close educational supervision are essential features of the program. Research-oriented projects are offered to students wishing to start a PhD program after graduation.

After graduating from EMSE, an “Ingénieur Civil des Mines” is able to innovate in a chosen field of expertise, interact with experts in other fields, manage complex organizations and lead teams, operate in a multicultural and global context, respond quickly to professional challenges.

The majority of students are recruited via the competitive « Mines-Ponts » national exam. However, a parallel, credential-based enrollment  representing 20% of the class 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, physical chemistry, applied mathematics and engineering mathematics can be directly enrolled into the second year.

The graduate course in science and engineering—ICM (Ingénieur Civil des Mines) also welcomes international exchange students from partner universities as auditors for one or two academic semesters or for lab internships at graduate level.

French Summer Schools and integration programs for international students are available in partner institutions:

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

What level are you expected to have in French ?

If you are applying for :

  • a lab internship : no preliminary French is required,
  • an exchange academic period : a B1 level is highly recommended,
  • a double diploma : a B1 level is mandatory.

In all cases, classes of French as a foreign language are available from October to May with different level groups and 2 to 3 hours per week .

Language competences description

Here is a description of the language competences commonly graded into 6 levels by the Council of Europe.

Proficient use

Preliminary French classes are not required.


Can understand with ease virtually everything heard or read. Can summarize information from different spoken and written sources, reconstructing arguments and accounts in a coherent presentation. Can express him/herself spontaneously, very fluently and precisely, differentiating finer shades of meaning even in more complex situations.


Can understand a wide range of demanding, longer texts, and recognize implicit meaning. Can express him/herself fluently and spontaneously without much obvious searching for expressions. Can use language flexibly and effectively for social, academic and professional purposes. Can produce clear, well-structured, detailed text on complex subjects, showing controlled use of organizational patterns, connectors and cohesive devices.

Independent user

Preliminary French classes are not required.

Can understand the main ideas of complex text on both concrete and abstract topics, including technical discussions in his/her field of specialization. Can interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity that makes regular interaction with native speakers quite possible without strain for either party. Can produce clear, detailed text on a wide range of subjects and explain a viewpoint on a topical issue giving the advantages and disadvantages of various options.


In addition, French classes are highly recommended.

Can understand the main points of clear standard input on familiar matters regularly encountered in work, school, leisure, etc. Can deal with most situations likely to arise whilst traveling in an area where the language is spoken. Can produce simple connected text on topics which are familiar or of personal interest. Can describe experiences and events, dreams, hopes & ambitions and briefly give reasons and explanations for opinions and plans. Proof of B1 level is required ( official French certificates such as TCF are accepted).

Basic User

French classes are compulsory.


Can understand sentences and frequently used expressions related to areas of most immediate relevance (e.g. very basic personal and family information, shopping, local geography, employment). Can communicate in simple and routine tasks requiring a simple and direct exchange of information on familiar and routine matters. Can describe in simple terms aspects of his/her background, immediate environment and matters in areas of immediate need.


Can understand and use familiar everyday expressions and very basic phrases aimed at the satisfaction of needs of a concrete type. Can introduce him/herself and others and can ask and answer questions about personal details such as where he/she lives, people he/she knows and things he/she has. Can interact in a simple way provided the other person talks slowly and clearly and is prepared to help.


Language department
Phone : +33 (0)4 77 42 00 82

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 (or equivalent) with honors 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://admission.gei-univ.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).

The ICM curriculum is a flexible and adaptable three-year program designed to allow students to explore and to achieve their own career aspirations.

First year / Undergraduate

Introduction to the fundamental disciplines

During his/her first year, the École des mines student not only learns new knowledge, but learns how to combine an integrate knowledge. From the outset the fundamental disciplines are considered in an industrial and professional perpective. The first-year course is broken down into four core subjects: mathematical modeling, computer science, physics and economy-management-law (approximately 120 to 150 hours for each subject, that is to say 9 to 10 ECTS).

Second year / Graduate year one

Basic engineering skills

Building on the first year general foundation, students chose four elective courses from a list of twenty pre-majors.

These twenty study topics cover three major fields, fundamental sciences, engineering sciences and management (120 hours of instruction per subject). With this choice the future engineer begins to define his professional direction.

Third year / Graduate year two


The third year is fully dedicated to the major which has to be chose among nine broad fields of study (each made up of four 90-hour modules):

  • Process engineering and energetics
  • Industrial environment and land management planning
  • Innovation and project management
  • Computer science
  • Intelligent systems and applications
  • Biomedical engineering
  • Applied mathematics and quantitative finance
  • Materials and mechanical engineering
  • Industrial engineering

According to the general engineering specifications, the major is in no way a specialization, but rather an opportunity for the student to show his or her ability to explore a topic in depth. The major is also meant to springboard the young engineer career.

Over the three years each student will take:

  • 600 hours of core courses (essentially during the first year);
  • 900 hours of instruction in elective courses (second and third year);
  • 300 hours of 9 foreign languages including French as a foreign language (spread over the three years);
  • At least 12 weeks of international exposure (obligatory for French students only) and 36 to 49 weeks of professional internships in companies.

Graduate academic calendar

ICM YEAR 2: 4th year of higher education (corresponding to the 1st year of graduate studies)

  • Academic period 1
    September- End of January: elective courses
  • Academic period 2
    February - Mid May: elective courses + major core course
  • Internship
    Mid May – September

ICM YEAR 3: 5th year of higher education (2nd year of graduate studies leading to master's degree)

  • Academic period
    October-Mid March: Major focus (courses/industrial project)
  • End-of-study project
    Mid March - September

60 ECTS credits/year, 120 credits over 2 years according to the European standard for master’s degrees.


Syllabus ICM website

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

Professional placements

École des mines has always maintained an intimate relationship with the various economic sectors. As a natural feature, industries and companies are in close interaction with the graduate curriculum. Industrial placement is one of the most characteristic trademark of the engineering training, French style.

Industrial placements represent a substantial part of the graduate engineering curriculum from 36 to 49 weeks spanning over the 3-year curriculum. Placements aim at giving students a practical knowledge on how companies operate at various levels: first as a blue collar worker (1st year), then as an assistant engineer (2nd year), and finally as a junior engineer (3rd year). These placements are assessed through both a written report and an oral defense.

Aims of the industrial placements

1st year

Industrial placement as a worker - operator / 4 weeks

  • To acquire an applicative knowledge of the labour world by participating to workers tasks.
  • Become aware of human and social realities in the company.
  • Learn to communicate: report presenting the experienced placement, under written and oral forms.
2nd year

Industrial placement for technical application / 16 to 19 weeks

  • Discover the job of an engineer in the variety of his functions and by his contexts.
  • Give the possibility of deepening and assessing the relevance of one’s personal project.
  • Apply to an industrial problem the know-how acquired during the school program.
  • Pursue the training in the written and oral communication by a report and an oral presentation of the technical work.
3rd year

Industrial placement as a junior engineer - final year project in company / 16 to 26 weeks

  • Validate the themes and the methods learned in connection with the choice of specialty.
  • Verify that one’s personal project fits to realities
  • Tackle the engineer duties and share some of his responsibilities.
  • Prepare one’s full integration in the company
  • To communicate at an engineer level : technical and global communication both written and oral.

The Student Residence: a world apart

Residence Hall on Saint-Étienne Campus

Maison des élèves de l’École des mines
20, bd Alexandre de Fraissinette - F-42030 Saint-Étienne Cedex 2 - France
Phone: +33 (0)4 77 46 31 00

Three hundred and fifty rooms are available in the Student Residence or ME (maison des élèves).

  • 224 -12 sq.m rooms (130 sq.ft) equipped with a half-bathroom, room furnitures, basic applicances, TV and WIFI,
  • 123-20 sq.m (215 sq.ft), with full bathroom, plus a kitchenette,
  • 4-30 sq.m two-room accommodations (322 ft²) for couples.

Located half a mile from the School, the residence hall was built in 1965 and entirely renovated in 1989.

ME offers every modern convenience; almost every floor has a kitchen equipped with hobs, microwave and traditional ovens, offering the possibility of frequent and sometimes memorable communal dinners. The basement contains a launderette with washers and dryers, which is open 24 hours a day. Three of the four wings have a lift. ME is situated in a two-hectare wooded park, planted with cedars, sequoias, rhododendrons and Japanese cherry trees. The place is being changed to welcome disabled persons.

A bicycle garage and a safe car park with one hundred and fifty two parking lots are also available.

Sports lovers too are spoiled: tennis and a volleyball courts are situated next to ME. Indoor sports are not forgotten, with a gym, a fitness center and a squash court.

There is also a TV room, a piano room and sound-proof music studio, a photo development lab and a  cafeteria.

For any information (availably, rental terms, etc.), please contact the ME administration: