The French "Grandes Écoles" are a system of highly selective public engineering universities authorized to deliver the prestigious "diplôme national d'ingénieur".
The "diplôme national d'ingénieur" is awarded after five years of study following the obtaining of a secondary school diploma (the Baccalauréat). The first two years are spent at preparatory classes and followed by a competitive national examination. The Engineering Degree is therefore comparable in educational advancement to a Master of Science, although it is frequently broader in scope.
The engineering "Grandes Écoles" have common and specific features:
small size: at most 300 to 500 graduates per year,
a highly selective admission process,
the Grandes Écoles attract the highest ranking students