Can a foreign degree be recognised?
One must distinguish between professional recognition (possibility to practice the profession corresponding to the foreign degree owned) and academic recognition (possibility to pursue some further studies after the foreign degree owned). Concerning the professional recognition for the exercice of a non-regulated profession (most independent and salaried positions), the owners of foreign degrees are submitted, within the European space, to the "rules of labour market and the behaviours of this market, rather than juridical constraints regarding the degree", which means that any degree, even foreign, can be recognised. If the profession you want to practice is not regulated, the access is free and you don't have to ask for a recognition of your professional qualifications. "In cases where the professionals go to a non-regulating Member State, there is no legal requirement to have their professional qualifications recognised". In most countries, when the profession is not subject to a specific regulation, the appreciation of the degree and of the professional level belongs to the employer. Concerning the professional recognition for the exercise of a regulated profession (particularly physician, nurse, dentist, midwife, veterinarian, pharmacian and architect), there are some strict rules and some specific bodies, which will not be developped here because UMI doesn't issue degrees for these professions.
Do your degrees have an equivalency with French degrees?
The question of equivalency, or more exactly academic recognition, arises for somebody who wants to pursue some studies in his country and owns a different degree than the one usually required to enrol in these studies. Although there is no legal principal of equivalency between the titles and degrees obtained abroad and the national ones of any country (no mechanism of systematic recognition or conversion for university degrees), which means that no foreign degree has any automatic equivalency in any European country, the academic recognition (commonly said "equivalency") is granted case by case by the receiving institution, therefore the case of a bachelor in law from UMI, who wants an equivalency to enrol in a master in law in an Italian or German university, will be individually studied by this university, in the same way as if he was bachelor in law from a Belgian or a Canadian university. Here one must precise that all foreign degree, either issued by a small African private school or by a big European public university, are submitted to the same regime and evaluated according to the same process (which doesn't deter more and more people from internationalising their curriculum by passing foreign degrees). Nevertheless this recognition is particularly facilitated by the Diploma Supplement that UMI issues to its graduates since 2003.
What is the Diploma Supplement?
The Diploma Supplement is a document conceived by the European Commission, the Council of Europe and the UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) to improve international transparency as well as academic and professional recognition of qualifications. It carries information about the qualification attested by the degree, but also the institution which issued it and moreover the national system of reference. Therefore this document allows to specify some "knowledge units" (or competencies) counted according to the ECTS grid (European Credit Transfer System), but also to help a future receiving institution to situate the level of the degree more accurately than by simply trusting the title, which from one country to the other can be just unknown or, worse, mistaking. Thus this annex is very useful for the pursue of further studies in another country.
What is a Master?
Litteraly, Master is the English term for Maîtrise (latin Magister). The UNESCO (United Nations), the Council of Europe, the education ministry of the USA and (at least until the end of the XXth century) French universities consider the Northern American Master as equivalent to the French Maîtrise or the English Bachelor with Honours. Nevertheless the "grandes écoles" (highly selective higher institutions) have been proposing, for now twenty years, some advanced courses called Masters and Mastères Spécialisés, and the French government, upon advice of the National Council of Research and Higher Education, shortly created a "Mastaire" rank, and then decided to replace the DESS (Diplôme d'Etudes Supérieures Spécialisées) and the DEA (Diplôme d'Etudes Approfondies) by a degree of Master (decree 2002-480 of April 8, 2002), respectively "Master Professionnel" and "Master de Recherche". From now on the Master is the only French degree (and university rank) issued by a university or a "grande école" after five years of post-baccalaureate studies, in the optic of the so-called "3-5-8" European harmonisation.
Do you use the same criteria and tool as public universities for APL?
UMI first used a methodology based on the evaluation of competencies in companies, thus very analytical, before conducting a study on the best pratice of universities relative to VAP (the previous system of "validation des acquis professionnels"), and more recently to VAE. Today UMI uses, for VAE where UMI is still a precursor, the same methods than public French universities. But UMI represents an additional chance for the candidates, since according to the texts a candidate can present only one demand per year in France for a specific degree (three maximum for three different degrees), so by presenting a parallel dossier before UMI (which is not French and doesn't count for this limitation), the candidate doubles his chances, even if he ends up saying no to UMI if he obtains satisfaction with the other university since in UMI the dossier is free of charge and without commitment.
In which way a request "just in case" through UMI is advantageous?
If you are already gathering your file for another university, UMI will be pleased to study a copy free of charge (while the other university will have charged you some dossier fees), and will give you an answer before you deburse one cent (while in another university in order to depose you VAE file you must first register to the course or cycle normally leading to this degree, so paying even before knowing whether you will get a full validation or not). And the experience shows that universities are, in practice, still reticent to grant the integral validation that the law allows, so there are so far more disappointed hopes and partially refused cases than what the advertisement campaing was promising.
Are your degrees European?
The countries that apply the Lisbon Recognition Convention (Council of Europe and UNESCO/UN) apply it whatever the origin of degrees, since so far nothing distinguishes a degree from a European country than another degree (there is no specific regime for European degrees). It is for instance the case for France, which (like all European Union and ex-EFTA members) applies the same regime to all degrees, European or extra-European. But it is also the case, for example, of Canada and the United States, signatories of the Lisbon convention of April 11, 1997.
Are your degrees "homologated" (accredited)?
The notion of homologation (by the Technical Homologation Commission suppressed by the law 2002-73 and dissolved on April 28, 2002) applied only to degrees of French institutions, thus not to the ones of UMI; the French system comprises public and private institutions, and until 2002 homologated and non homologated degrees, but does not make these distinctions among foreign degrees, which are all considered the same way.
Nevertheless UMI has a domain name in .edu?
This only means that UMI meets the criteria fixed by the Internic (US ministry of commerce) and the Educause for the attribution of a domain name in .edu, mainly the granting of degrees of graduate or postgraduate level.
So your degrees are valid and recevable in other countries?
The answer is categorical, UMI degrees are valid for the exercice of all non-regulated professions (are regulated essentially the medical professions).
And to pursue further studies presenting your degree?
Because of its general knowledge of the international education landscape, its advanced knwoledge of the French system, and its experience in human resources evaluation, UMI is able to efficiently help its graduates for the constitution and presentation of their application to a further higher study, especially in France (where the Diploma Supplement was officially adopted by the decree 2002-482 and where universities know it well although they still refuse to make it individually specific).
Are your tariffs negotiable?
The tariffs of UMI represent only a few hours of work of a consultant in human resources and allow its candidates to save time (sparing them the need to ask for leave or holidays) and travel/lodging fees by making universities degrees available for a price representing barely the equivalent of one or two weeks or training in communication or software. Thus, in principle they are not negotiable (except for collective operations). Nevertheless, anybody who introduced a candidate to UMI can get a commission on the amount that he will pay.
Is UMI a private university?
Yes, private universities exist in a lot of countries (USA or Italy for example), and in some small states there is not even a public university, like in Monaco, Luxembourg and precisely Dominica until very recently.
What is the status of your office in France?
The French office of UMI is just a commercial representation (an agent). From the contractual and legal point of view candidates are client of a Dominican university, exactly as if they were following a foreign distance-learning course or where travelling to Dominica to sit for an exam.
What are your physical coordinates?
The phone/fax in France is 01.53.01.06.95 (Paris), from abroad it is (+33)1.53.01.06.95 or (+1)707.924.2695 (USA). All distance activity is administered from Córdoba, X5153BDA (Argentina), while on-site activity is done at the see, 19 Castle Street, Roseau (Commonwealth of Dominica).