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Higher Education in Cameroon

Cameroon is one of the only countries that has two educational systems operating simultaneously: one that is based on its British/Anglophone colonial past and one on its French/Francophone colonial past.

Higher education

Admission to higher education requires a Baccalauréat de l’Enseignement Secondaire, Baccalauréat Technique, four passes on the General Certificate of Education Ordinary Level or two passes on the General Certificate of Education Advanced Level. Universities are either Francophone or Anglophone, or offer programs in both languages.

Anglophone university education closely mirrors British higher education. Admission requires sufficient passes on the General Certificate of Certificate of Education Advanced Level. Undergraduate programs leading to a bachelor’s degree consist of three years of study. Graduate studies include a one-year Postgraduate Diploma and master’s programs that are one to two years. All graduate programs require a bachelor’s degree for admission. Doctoral programs are three years and require a master’s degree for admission.

Francophone higher education is virtually the same as higher education in France, including the adoption of the L-M-D (licence-master-doctorat) system that France implemented in response to the Bologna Declaration. The L-M-D system was introduced in the 2007-08 academic year with the Université de Buea being the first to adopt the system, and other universities are in various stages of implementation.

Prior to the introduction of the L-M-D system, Francophone university education consisted of a three-year first cycle (premier cycle) that began with a two-year program leading to the Diplôme d’Études Universitaire Générales/DEUG (Diploma of General University Studies) which was followed by a one-year Licence (Licentiate program). The second cycle (deuxième cycle) included a one-year Maîtrise (Master) program that required a Licence for admission. Third cycle (troisième cycle) studies began with one-year programs leading to a Diplôme d’Etudes Approdondies/DEA (Diploma of Advanced Studies) and the Diplôme d’Etudes Supérieures Specialisées/DESS (Diploma of Higher Specialized Studies). The DEA or DESS were required for doctoral studies. Doctoral studies consisted of at least three years of original research. Upon defense of a dissertation based on the research, students were awarded a Doctorat du Troisième Cycle (Third Cycle Doctorate).

Admission requirements to universities did not change with the implementation of the L-M-D system. First cycle studies begin with a three-year Licence (Licentiate). Secondary cycle studies are a one-year Master (Master) program. A one-year Maîtrise Professionnelle (Professional Master) is also available, but does not lead to doctoral studies. Third cycle programs require a Master for admission, and are three years of original research leading to a Doctorat du Troisième Cycle (Third Cycle Doctorate) following defense of a dissertation.

Post-Secondary Vocational/Technical Education

Post-secondary vocational and technical education programs are two years. In the Francophone system, they lead to a Brevet de Technicien Supérieur/BTS (Higher Technician Certificate) or the Diplôme Universitaire de Technologie/DUT (University Diploma of Technology), and the Higher National Diploma/HND in the Anglophone system. Students enter the workforce after completion of these programs or can continue in universities studies, usually in the third year.