The VAE – Recognition of Prior Experience
The VAE (Validation des Acquis de l'Expérience) is a procedure established in 2002 and regulated by the French Act of August 19, 2013, which allows previous experience to be counted toward the completion of all or part of a diploma. It is an individual right enshrined in the French Labor Code (books 6 and 7) and the Education Code (articles R613-32 to R613-37).
Benefits and main objectives of the VAE:
- Earn a national diploma or DGE (grand établissement degree)
- Develop your skills
- Update your knowledge and skills
- Transition to a new career
While it is an individual right, it does not automatically result in a diploma being granted. This procedure is subject to an initial assessment of your eligibility on the basis of your professional career and the diploma desired.
To qualify for the VAE, you must demonstrate, by drafting and defending your VAE case, that you have the skills, knowledge, and aptitudes outlined in the competency dictionary for the diploma/degree in question.
This requires a real investment of your time; drafting your VAE case file and providing the documentation expected by the accreditation panel is a considerable task. The panel will review your file, your oral presentation, and all supporting documents.
- Show proof of significant experience (paid, unpaid, or volunteer work) directly connected to the competency dictionary for the degree
- For a single diploma: submit only one application in a single calendar year to one institution
The VAP or VAP 85 –
Recognition of Professional Experience
The VAP (Validation des Acquis Professionnels) is used to gain direct access to a university program without having the required diploma, through the accreditation of professional experience (paid or unpaid), prior training, or personal experience not covered by a training system.
Interested in applying for a degree program using the VAP?
Apply directly for the degree you want; just make sure it can be earned as executive education. The orientation and registration department will tell you which enrollment process you should use.
REVAE – The Office of Continuing
Studies and Recognition of Prior Learning
The Office of Continuing Studies and Recognition of Prior Learning (REVAE) at Université Paris Dauphine – PSL can help you carry out your project within the management, computer science, economics, sociology, mathematics, and legal fields taught at Dauphine-PSL.
They will accommodate you and answer any questions about:
- the VAE and VAP procedures for our university
- which degrees at our university are best suited to your experience
- VAE coaching provided by a specialist unaffiliated with the university, for help drafting and supporting your case
Choosing a degree/diploma
Pre-orientation application and Report 1
Assembling documentation or Report 2
Interview with the accreditation panel
Decision, accreditation, and ruling
Following the ruling
What Dauphine Executive Education has given them
I undertook the VAE process so I could find a new job at a level at least equivalent to the one I had just left.
I had just been laid off as part of a redundancy program. I undertook the VAE process so I could find a new job at a level at least equivalent to the one I had just left. I had a very operational degree, equivalent to a Bachelor's, from a training institute that isn't well known in the job market, and I wasn't able to grow professionally. I was lacking certain foundational knowledge, and so I went with the Master's program at Université Paris Dauphine – PSL because it had an excellent reputation.
I found it especially difficult to put together my case [for the VAE]. I decided to get support so I could benefit from advice on drafting the accreditation file, in terms of both form and content. The support I received helped me summarize my varied professional experiences, which was also a benefit during my job search interviews.
I was particularly struck when I went before the panel because of the reputation of the Master's program director. I had to showcase my work experience within 30 minutes, and I didn't really know what it would be like. After my presentation, the questions I got were fairly broad but always precisely focused on my career path. I answered them honestly, including when I was pointing out a lack of knowledge, but this allows the panel to tailor their ruling. I was approved for about two-thirds of the degree, which was validating on a personal level, and I'm sure I wouldn't have received that level of accreditation without the support. The remaining courses seemed to line up well with the new basics I was lacking.
So I resumed my studies as a "regular" student to complete three courses and the Master's thesis. The workload is intense, especially with the group work that's required, so you need to have plenty of time available. That said, it was so enriching!
This degree was an definite asset in my returning to work. And now, first of all, I've found a position identical to my old job in the field I wanted. However, I see this position differently and I work differently, given my new view of the role and a now complete perspective of the company. I have no doubt about my growth prospects in the medium term, knowing I am now able to apply for higher levels of responsibility. I put a lot of faith into this project and at no point was I disappointed.
Master's in Control, Governance, and Strategy
I saw this degree as a necessary step to restart my career.
I started the VAE process at a time when I felt my professional career was going to stagnate. Up to that point, I'd thought my experience and motivation compensated for my lack of a degree. Having previously completed initial training – Bac+2 (2-year post-secondary degree) and an ITB – for the first time in my career, I could compete with those who completed a Bac+5 (5-year post-secondary degree). I saw this degree as a necessary step to restart my career.
How would I translate my work experience into acquired learning? It required me to step back. I had to stop thinking in operational terms and instead consider the meaning of my work, place my activity in a wider context. The support I received was crucial in helping me understand the scope of the work to be delivered, along with my shortcomings. Applying for the VAE allowed me to recognize my weaknesses, the main one being an incomplete perspective that was almost entirely operational.
Thanks to the assistance I got, I felt very well prepared. I was expecting and hoping for a partial accreditation.
Putting in the extra work needed to receive full accreditation has been essential. The subjects the accreditation panel asked me to pursue were theoretical – precisely what I was missing.
The hardest part was putting together the written file and preparing for the VAE oral presentation. I realized that my professional approach was more geared to execution than reflection. With my degree, I raised my level of professionalism. Before, when managing a case, I would propose a solution I had implemented on a previous case, relying on my experience. Now I know there are several methods for managing a case. I know why some aren't suitable, and I know how to argue for the one I'm proposing.
Would I do it all over again? In a heartbeat! The program was really enjoyable! I was finally able to connect different ideas. I could understand certain concepts. On a personal level, I'm more at ease now. My circle of friends and family is full of well-educated people, and I'm delighted to be one of the gang!
Master's in Banking
The desire to complete my studies
I wanted more professional mobility and "only" had a Bac+4 (in Computer Methods Applied to Business Management). I was sometimes led to think I'd be passed over for other applicants because I didn't have the adequate background, even though I had 10 years of professional experience in my field (first as an IT project manager, then as a data center PM). That desire to complete my studies, to prove that I could, even after a long time, led me to pursue the VAE.
First I went about arranging with my company to get this VAE accepted, which took quite a long time, as the HR department was somewhat unfamiliar with it. Then, at the university, I received really good support. The extra assistance, including regular interviews, was beneficial. It was nice how no one judged me and people listened to me. Preparing for the accreditation process was much more work than I expected, but at the same time, this allowed me to reflect more deeply on my career path and my trajectory.
At first I wasn't too eager to go back to school at Dauphine-PSL. But in the end, the atmosphere was quite nice, and meeting with instructors and the other students was very enriching, along with the content of the courses. All of it allowed me to question myself in terms of what I could do at work on a daily basis. And by the end, I almost didn't want it to be over!
A headhunting firm contacted me after the accreditation process, and ultimately I had a new employer a few weeks later. The work involved in preparing proof of my skills and career path for accreditation made the interviews smooth and easy, although for the first time in my career, I encountered a supervisor who also had a Bac+4 and actually didn't care that much about a Bac+5. I've also been contacted to lead courses at Dauphine-PSL for the CIP (Center for Educational Technology).
I really appreciated that experience, and I'll do it again this year because I love it. I'm really happy the VAE provided new opportunities for me. Plus, I made my mother very happy; she's delighted that I finished my studies and can flaunt a Bac+5 Master's diploma!
Would I do it all over again? Absolutely, and I recommend it to everyone I know!
Master's in MIAGE-SITN
Seeing the knowledge and skills I had acquired throughout my career validated by a Master's degree
After studying linguistics in college, I built a career in marketing over about 10 years. I've held several positions, including category manager (purchasing and marketing interactions) at Akzo Nobel, a global company of 50,000 employees that specializes in paints, chemical products, and health products. I pursued the VAE with the goal of seeing the knowledge and skills I had acquired throughout my career validated by a Master's degree, as well as to refresh my skills in a field – marketing – that is ever changing.
I settled on the Master's in Marketing (the Distribution and Customer Relations track); this program and degree are recognized by recruiters and businesses specializing in trade. My superiors supported and encouraged me, and what became a mutual involvement in the process was critical to my success.
Preparing my case took 6 months – as with a thesis, it requires you to be good at writing, research, and reflection. I devoted many hours to it, during vacation time and on weekends, but I enjoyed it and felt proud doing so – this task, which goes far beyond a skill assessment, allowed me to retrace my entire professional career, to take stock, to closely analyze my skills, and to identify my areas of knowledge.
I felt very anxious presenting my case to the accreditation panel, but it went quite well in the end. Positive stress can improve your performance too! The panel required me to complete three courses to receive a full diploma. With my employer's approval, I took these courses at the rate of one morning a week. The additional work I had to do was completely manageable in relation to my professional workload. I found it very rewarding, including:
- High-quality instruction, with a combination of practical, concrete assignments that provided me with new ideas and insights and prompted useful reconsiderations
- A theoretical focus that allows you to see your job in a new light; getting an introduction to various different sectors through professional speakers from several companies, allowing you to discover actual benchmarks
- A strategic perspective, geared toward innovation, new developments in marketing
My perspective on marketing has therefore evolved and become broader.
The other students were welcoming, cheerful, and friendly, which allowed me to fit in very easily. Being around them made me feel younger!
I completed my degree with honors and was promoted to group leader shortly thereafter. Each step required preparation, involvement, and investment, but I feel so proud of the accomplishment. This program bolstered my professional growth; I gained confidence and professionalism, and now I feel completely suited to my new position.
Would I do it all over again? I would definitely do it again; as soon as I finished the program, I started wondering how I could do an executive education MBA, but that plan is still percolating.
Master's in Distribution and Customer Relations