The “Diplôme d’études approfondies” (DEA) is an old diploma delivering a fifth year of higher education.
It validated the first year of the third cycle, in order to prepare a Doctorate. The registration to this one year long training was conditional on obtaining a “Maîtrise” diploma or on having a level judged equivalent.
In the context of the three-cycle system (bachelor/master/doctorate), implemented between 2003 and 2006, this diploma has been progressively replaced by the research master, whose training proceeds in four semesters and belongs to the second cycle. The DEA has been removed in 2006 and the access to doctorate degree studies is since conditional on obtaining a Master’s degree or equivalent, at the end of a training path establishing the ability to research.
It was therefore classified at the level I in the French classification of education levels and level 7 in the international standard one (ISCED 2011).