IMT Atlantique is a French public "Grande Ecole" in engineering (Master level) and research center in IT and energy. It is the result of a merge in January 2017 between Mines Nantes (formerly Ecole des Mines de Nantes) and Télécom Bretagne (formerly Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Télécommunications de Bretagne). The educational institution is located in Nantes (Pays de la Loire), Brest, and Rennes (Brittany).
IMT Atlantique, as a public top French higher engineering school combining digital technologies, energy, and environmental sectors, proposes engineering degrees mainly through programs at Master level. Thanks to the 2017 full merge, the three School sites have now overall approximately 2.300 students in their campuses (730 graduates annually), with 50 international dual degrees. The number of own staff is ca. 780, inc. 290 full time researcher lecturers (1000 publications annually, 7 industrial research chairs). IMT Atlantique trains future professionals for careers in industry, services and research, and offers 1 business incubator, with 45 existing startups.
One of the programme on offers at IMT Atlantique is a medium size full-time generalist program (called FIG) with approx. 400 students per year of studies between Nantes, Brest, and Rennes campuses. Each student carries out a minimum of 8 months of training in a company. A compulsory 63 hours career preparation program (21 hours per year) supports the professional development. The periods of company “immersion” are important for the acquisition of skills, competency development and the affirmation of the professional and personal project. For such, a compulsory 6 months-minimum internship is in place at senior level. More than 40% of the FIG students also take a gap year in industry after their second year of study. An international stay of at least 9 weeks is compulsory (e.g. via an academic semester or an intern abroad). It is even possible to carry out the last year of engineering studies alternating with a company for 12 months (under salaried status).
The main features of this academic programme are:
Internationally-oriented (46% of non French students): 3 to 6 months international experience compulsory for all French students;
Large choice of courses, including minors/majors/optionals: to provide a wide range of career prospects;
multi-disciplinary courses, including PjBL: both technical and intra-inter personal skills, and human science; using professional-type situations to help develop know-how and interpersonal skills, integrated competency-oriented curriculum since 2003;
Preparing engineering careers (strong ties & links with companies): compulsory internships (6 to 9 months) for students to guarantee successful integration into the workplace. Recognition of Prior Learning for vocational and EQF (French RNCP) compliant with the latest EU strategies.
In 1992, a French law extended the possibility to deliver higher education degrees by apprenticeship. The French accreditation body for engineering, the Commission des Titres d’Ingénieurs (CTI), puts strong constraints to make apprenticeship a success and not a second-hand cursus: precise definition of expected learning outcomes, role and training of the apprentice’s monitors (in the company and in the school), innovative pedagogy adapted to new profiles of students, etc. At IMT Atlantique, at the Brest campus, a small size specialized apprenticeship program (FIP) is in place since 2002, with approximately 120 students. The students come from technical degrees, introduced thanks to the creation of French University Institutes of Technology. These institutes offer +2 professionally-oriented university degrees (called DUT) to ambitious students at K-12 level to pursue engineering. With less French traditional prestige, Master level Graduates from this program often move into technical expert positions in IT companies in the national area. The programme is designed and evaluated in partnership with the regional ITII branch (Institut des Techniques d'Ingénieurs de l'Industrie de Bretagne). At the Nantes campus, 24 engineering students per year are graduated in software engineering via apprenticeship. These two programs are accredited by French CTI. They are also awarded the EUR-ACE label [EUR-ACE 2015] by ENAEE (European Network of Accreditation of Engineering Education). They thus comply with the European Higher Education Area (EHEA), in line with the Bologna process.
Close to the labor market, Engineering Grandes Ecoles are the principal medium to create a tank of future high skilled managers for large industries, in France and abroad. IMT Atlantique is accredited. Generalist and apprenticeship delivered degrees comply with the European and national higher education accreditation systems (EUR-ACE by ENAEE and CTI labels).
Engineering Education Research is fully considered at IMT Atlantique via the TREE research group (http://recherche.telecom-bretagne.eu/tree/), including more than 10 research member, where research and innovation areas span a range of educational categories: supporting internationalization and diversity in engineering education, transforming engineering educationnal programmes for better quality alignments.