Validation of Acquired Experience (VAE)

What is the Validation of Acquired Experience (VAE)?

This is a system that allows obtaining all or part of a certification (diploma, professional degree or professional qualification certificate) on the basis of salaried, self-employed, voluntary and/or charitable professional experience. Anyone with at least one year of experience related to the degree or certification concerned can apply for VAE. The certifications registered in the National Directory of Professional Certifications (RNCP) are accessible by the VAE.

More information

The stages of VAE at ENSTA Paris

Analysis of administrative admissibilitye

  • This administrative step allows verifying the number of years of experience of the candidate, who must be able to justify one cumulative year of activities directly related to the Engineering degree of ENSTA Paris. The candidate submits the following documents to the Registrar’s office of ENSTA Paris:
    • CV
    • Cover letter
    • Admissibility booklet (download the booklet from the right column)
    • a cheque for 100 euros payable to the Accountant of ENSTA Paris
  • The VAE manager of ENSTA Paris will rule by letter on the admissibility of the file. The administrative admissibility of the request in no way prejudges the final decision of the panel.

Dates of submission of the admissibility file:

  • before 1 October for an examination in November
  • before 1 April for an examination in May

The feasibility study

  • When the application is deemed admissible, the  applicant fills in a pre-application  that will allow the feasibility of the project to be judged.
  • ENSTA Paris VAE pre-panel gives an opinion on the relevance of the request based on the candidate's experience and professional project.
  • If the opinion is positive, the candidate who decides to follow the procedure must compile the VAE file and notify their decision to the VAE manager.
  • Otherwise, the detailed opinion allows the candidate to move towards another degree or course.
  • The processing of the pre-application file by the VAE pre-panel is subject to a flat rate of 500 euros.

The compilation of the VAE file and support (optional)

  • In the event of a positive opinion on the feasibility, the applicant receives the “explanatory note for the compilation of the VAE file” and the “RNCP file” of the engineering degree of ENSTA Paris.
  • The candidate may benefit from leave to validate the acquired experience as provided for by the decree no. 2002-795 of 3 May 2002.
  • The content of the VAE file must allow the panel to assess the level of mastery of the candidate's abilities and skills.
  • To help them in their process, the candidate may be guided by a teacher-researcher from the School. This methodological guidance remains optional. There is no obligation to achieve a result. In about twenty hours, it mainly covers face-to-face time between the guide and the candidate and time for the guide to read the VAE file. Assistance in preparing for the defence may be offered. The guidance fee is set at 3,900 euros for the year 2017.

Submission of the VAE file and enrolment for the degree

  • The VAE file (see the corresponding section at the bottom of the page) for obtaining the degree and the request for enrolment for the degree will be sent to the VAE Manager.
  • The candidate must pay the amount of the enrolment fees for the degree for the current academic year (2,150 euros in 2016-17) and a lump sum of 5,000 euros for the convocation of the VAE panel.
  • The VAE file compiled by the candidate is then submitted by the School to the members of the panel.
  • Within a minimum of 3 months after the VAE file is submitted, the director of ENSTA Paris convenes the VAE panel.

The VAE panel

The members of the panel analyse the candidate's request on the basis of the VAE file and a defence. After the defence, the panel decides:

  • either the total validation of the degree: the panel considers, in view of the defence and the file, that the candidate can validate the degree without additional training, and the file is sent to the School's degree panel which decides on the awarding of the degree;
  • or partial validation with a note on the components definitively acquired and the components yet to be acquired: the panel decides that additional training is necessary;
  • or a detailed refusal which puts an end to the process.

Additional training in case of partial validation:

In the case of partial validation, the panel defines the organisation and content of additional training within the framework of continuing education:

  • drafting and signing of a learning agreement or a tripartite agreement specifying, among other things, the mode of financing (FONGECIF, DIF, etc.) and the obligations of the parties: attendance, tutoring, evaluation method and organisation of the training course;
  • appointment of a mentor within the School to provide guidance for the proposed track;
  • organisation of the schooling within ENSTA Paris;
  • validation of teaching modules.

New meeting of a VAE panel:

After verification the follow-up of the recommendations of the first VAE panel and possibly a new defence, the panel decides:

  • either the total validation of the degree;
  • or failure, which ends the process.

The degree panel

  • The degree panel, which meets every year in November, decides on the awarding of the degree to the candidate.

The VAE fees:

  • Analysis of administrative admissibility: €100
  • Feasibility study, VAE pre-panel: €900
  • Guidance for the compilation of the VAE file (optional): €3,900
  • Enrolment for the degree: payment of enrolment fees for the current academic year
  • Summons before the VAE Panel: €5,000
  • 2nd meeting of the VAE Panel: €1,300

The VAE file

Compilation of the VAE file:
The thesis drafted by the candidate must prove that they have the skills of an engineer of ENSTA Paris. This thesis should not exceed 40 pages, including appendices.
The presentation of the thesis must clearly show that their skills match with those of ENSTA Paris benchmark. The candidate will have to prove the level of their skills by examples, descriptions of activities, tasks or achievements corresponding to the positions held.
The candidate should endeavour to think critically on the activities and tasks carried out, highlighting the implemented means, the difficulties encountered, the solutions provided, their personal contribution and their level of responsibility.
The candidate must provide a TOEIC validation certificate (score greater than or equal to 850 points in 2017). 

Help with drafting the thesis
Refer to the website, the tool file: Draft your validation file

Reference texts

The text establishing the Validation of Acquired Experience is the law for social modernisation no. 2002-73 of 17 January 2002 (consolidated version of 8 November 2016) and decree no. 2002-795 of 3 May 2002.

The following texts specify the organisational arrangements for VAE:

  • labour code, art. L. 900-1 et seq., L. 900-4-2, L. 935-1, L. 951-1, R. 950-3, R. 950-13-3 et seq. and R. 950-19 et seq.
  • labour code, art. L. 6411-1 et seq. (new legislative part applicable from the entry into force of the new regulatory part of the labour code and no later than 1 May 2008)
  • education code, art. L. 214-12, L. 214-13, L. 335-5 et seq., R. 335-5 et seq. and R. 361-2
  • Specific to higher education: art. L. 331-1, L. 613-3 et seq. and L. 641-2

VAE financing mechanisms


Financing mechanisms


  • Tripartite agreement: employee, employer, establishment
  • DIF (individual training entitlement)
  • Training leave (fongécif)


  • VAE leave
  • Regional council

Trader or self-employed person

  • Association for the Management of the Funding of the Training of Company Heads (AGEFICE)
  • Training tools available, terms of support for training actions

Liberal profession

  • FIF-PL (Interprofessional Fund for Liberal Professionals)

Public official (holder or not)

  • Identical to employees (without the possibility of fongécif)

Disabled person

  • Aid from AGEFIPH

Individual funding

  • VAE contract with the organisation providing support