Universities in Tunisia

About universities in Tunisia

Before 1960, Tunisia had very scattered standards for their higher educational programs. Thankfully, this changed with the founding of the University of Tunisia and the adoption of the French educational system. The University was an overall integration of institutions that was officially spearheaded by Tunisia’s government. Though this university played a pivotal role in developing tertiary education in the country, it was later divided into three separate universities, and now there are dozens of institutions taking root across the nation.

There are over 200 public and private institutions in Tunisia, the majority of which are government operated. In order to ensure high quality instructional standards, the Ministry of Higher Education in Tunisia supervises and regulates tertiary education. There is not a large influx of foreign schools in Tunisia, mainly due the strict regulations. Most students in Tunisia are advised to achieve at least the second-cycle, as most employers require this level of education.

The structure of university level of education in Tunisia consists of three cycles. Most students in Tunisia are advised to achieve at least the second-cycle, as most employers require this level of education. The cycles and corresponding diplomas include:
  1. First Cycle – Diploma d’Etudes Universitaires du Premier Cycle – undergraduate level
  2. Second Cycle – Maitrise – equivalent to a master’s degree, graduate level
  3. Third Cycle – Diploma d’Etudes Approfondies – master of advanced studies or doctorate level
First Cycle
There are several prerequisites that students must meet before studying the first cycle in Tunisia’s higher education programs. Natives of Tunisia must achieve their Diploma du Baccalaureate, or a similar secondary school leaving certification, in order to gain entrance to a Tunisian college or university. This is usually the only requirement for post-secondary education.

By attending courses at an accredited higher education institution, students can major in a variety of fields, ranging from technology to architecture. The first cycle of university education typically lasts for two years and ends with the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree.

Second Cycle

A maitrise – or master’s degree – is the certification earned at the end of the second cycle of Tunisia’s education program. Students must complete the first cycle and successfully earn an undergraduate degree before attending a master’s program.
The length of time dedicated to a master’s study depends on the chosen course. Typically, most degrees can be earned in two years, but students pursuing studies in engineering, medicine, and architecture may take from three to five years. Medical degrees, especially, are known to take up to five years of coursework.

Third Cycle

Individuals who hold a maitrise, or master’s degree are eligible for further educations toward a doctorate program. In Tunisia, there is a two-year interval of study after the achievement of a maitrise, but before entrance into a doctorate program. This is the time where candidates must earn a Diploma d’Etudes Approfondies (DEA).

Usually, the DEA program requires two years of study, along with the preparation of a thesis. Students that successful complete the DEA are eligible for a doctorate program. Once entered in such a program, students typically spend three years working on their doctorate. Their studies encompass a massive amount of research, along with the development of an approved dissertation. Students who complete this course successfully will achieve a doctorate known as a Diploma de Doctorat.

Technical and Professional training.

A third option for students in Tunisia is to pursue technical training in an employment field. Considered closely related to the first cycle and run by the Ministry of Employment, these schools prepare individuals for jobs in specific fields, as opposed to providing a multi-disciplinary approach. They are mainly geared towards engineering, and typically require candidates to pass an additional entrance exam before admission.

This type of course lasts two to three years. Graduates may then study at a university, complete basic technician training or move forward with their studies to achieve a Diploma d’Etudes Superieures de Technologie.

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