What is the difference between a bachelor’s degree and a license in finance?

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Each student who wishes to specialize in finance from his or her first year of study has the choice between two types of training: a bachelor’s degree or a licence. The bachelor’s degree and the licence are both three-year post-baccalaureate courses. The first one is delivered in private business schools or management schools such as INSEEC, the second one is delivered at the university. Yet, there are many differences between these two courses, well beyond their teaching environment. Length of studies, internship period, openness to work-study programs, specializations, pedagogy, recognition or not by the State… Find out more about the differences between a bachelor’s degree and a bachelor’s in finance in our article.

To know the difference between a bachelor’s degree and a bachelor’s degree in finance, you must first know the general differences between these two types of training.

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The Bachelor’s degree, a professional and demanding training

The Bachelor’s degree in Finance is the prerogative of the major business and management schools. With a strong international reputation, the Bachelor of Finance offers its students a closer supervision and support during their studies than university students who must demonstrate a certain degree of autonomy immediately. The Bachelor’s program is also very much rooted in the professional world, where the vast majority of professors are already working in companies, as is the case at INSEEC. In addition, unlike the Bachelor’s degree, students have the opportunity to specialize in Finance from the 1st year to discover the market and the various possible outlets before specializing.

Internships and work-study programs are also an integral part of the Bachelor’s program, as they are widely encouraged and even mandatory from thesecond year of study. Indeed, the pace of study in a Bachelor’s program allows for dedicated time for students to work in a company. These periods in the company are evaluated by the tutor or apprenticeship master, which allows the student to validate his or her course.

On the international side, students who decide to do a 4-year Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA ) can do internships abroad – which are mandatory in their curriculum – and follow part or all of their training in English.

Finally, the associative life in a business school bachelor’s degree is an essential component of the pedagogy. At INSEEC, students are encouraged to join or create an associative project which is evaluated during the course of their studies, particularly in the2nd year.

The licence, a theoretical university education

The Bachelor’s degree is an undergraduate degree that is part of the LMD (Licence, Master, Doctorat) system at the university. Very theoretical, the Bachelor’s degree focuses more on research in its pedagogy since it leads to research masters and doctorate in pursuit of studies. Thus, students wishing to do internships or work-study programs to gain experience must turn to the professional licenses, which are accessible only by application and in the third year. Indeed, the degree does not or very rarely offers time dedicated to periods in a company. The specializations offered in bachelor’s degrees are fewer and more specialized than those offered in business schools.
Nevertheless, college students must be self-sufficient immediately to take control of their education because they receive less guidance and coaching. The university encourages initiative and resourcefulness because of its more anonymous environment compared to business schools. The degree also offers a rich associative life to students, but participation in it is not mandatory in the curriculum.

What is a finance degree?

A Bachelor’s degree in Finance is a course of study that is mainly taken in the 3rd year of a Bachelor’s degree at university, since it is a specialization. After the baccalaureate, students have the option of enrolling in a mathematics degree or an economics and management degree for the first two years in order to acquire a double skill set. During these first two years, students have the opportunity to complete an internship at the end of the academic year, but this is not made mandatory by the universities. Afterwards, students choose a specialization in finance, auditing and management control or in banking for a third year of a professional degree that can be completed in a work-study program.

What is a bachelor’s degree in finance?

A bachelor’s degree in finance in a business school also offers two generalist first years, but with a progressive specialization. Learners have the opportunity to study both mathematics and the basics of management and economics during these two years, skills that are essential for future work in the finance sector. The internship is an integral part of the curriculum as it is mandatory to validate each academic year. Students also have the opportunity to attend more technical courses in finance to get a feel for the market, taught by professionals. They may therefore have courses in financial management and cash flow, accounting for current operations or corporate taxation during these first two years, which helps them to consolidate their choice of specialization in the third year.

The third year, the year of specialization, can be completed in alternating years and the validation of a professional experience is always mandatory to validate the curriculum.

Summary of the differences between a bachelor’s degree and a licence

  • Bachelor
  • 3 years of post-baccalaureate studies (4 years if admitted to a BBA, Bachelor in Business Administration)
  • Professional specialization possible from the1st year
  • Mandatory internship from the1st year
  • Alternate work experience possible from the2nd year
  • Issuance of a level 6 RNCP title (Recognition by the Ministry of Labour)
  • Issuance of 180 ECTS credits
  • Supervision and support of proximity
  • Professionalizing pedagogy
  • Rich associative life
  • Better reputation on the international market
  • Compulsory courses and internships abroad if you join a BBA
  • Possible gap year
  • Recognized by companies
  • Possibility of entering the job market directly
  • Tuition fees are higher than for a bachelor’s degree, but there are assistance mechanisms (work-study programs, student loans, etc.)
  • License
  • 3 years of post-bac studies
  • Non-compulsory internships
  • Alternate training possible only in the3rd year, provided that you are admitted to a professional degree program
  • Training more theoretical than practical in the vast majority of licenses
  • Issuance of a Bachelor’s degree
  • Little supervision and support (the university is known to be more
  • Classic associative life
  • Better reputation in European academic circles
  • Low tuition fees
  • Ideal training for students wishing to do university research (research master’s degree and doctorate in pursuit of their studies)
  • Possible gap year
  • Recognized by companies
  • Possibility of entering the job market directly, only for students in a professional license

What kind of studies in finance after a bachelor’s degree?

After a bachelor’s degree, the student has several options available to him:

  • pursue studies in Master of Science or MBA in initial or alternating courses to obtain a level 7 professional certification registered with the RNCP
  • pursue studies in the Grande École program, either initially or through a work-study program, to obtain a master’s degree
  • enter the job market directly

Special Finance FAQ’s

Find the answers to the questions commonly asked by our future students:

Updated 2 August 2023