Bac : The importance of the speciality choices for International studies


Expat Student helps you understand the issues involved in choosing specialities for study abroad projects



The new reforms to the French Baccalaureat mean that your child needs to start thinking about their subject choices during Seconde class. During this first year of Lycée, they must pick their three specialities for Première, and then the following year they will choose which two of these subjects they want to continue studying in Terminale.

This decision depends on your child’s interests and abilities, but also on their post-Bac plans.

It might seem difficult for your child to plan for higher education so early, but an understanding of what is expected by different universities will ensure that they are in the best position to apply to their desired course when the time comes. 

Whether your child plans to study abroad or in France, their choice of specialities will have a big impact on which possibilities are open to them. Admission to international universities is often dependent on academic requirements, including subjects that must have been taken in high school, and sometimes the grades achieved. 

Therefore, we strongly recommend that, from the second trimester of Seconde, you check that your child’s choice of specialities will allow them to meet the requirements for each of the courses they are aiming for. These may vary from one country to another, from one university to another, and may also differ from comparable courses in the French higher education system.

Here are some of the questions frequently asked by students planning to study abroad


How important is maths for Business Studies?

One of the recurring questions asked by our students and their parents is whether it is necessary to continue mathematics until Terminale in order to study at a business school.

  • There is no general answer to this question as each university has its own requirements
  • However, it is important to know that in most cases, you will need to have at least taken Maths in Première. This is required, for example, to apply to an International Management course at Warwick University in England. Of course, even if it is not compulsory, the fact that you continue to take maths in Terminale, by taking the option of Maths Complémentaires, for example, could strengthen your application
  • Many courses, such as International Business at Rotterdam Erasmus University in the Netherlands, or a Management course at McGill University in Canada, require you to have taken either Maths Complémentaires, or Maths as a speciality until the end of Terminale.

Therefore, it is essential to assess all the courses your child is interested in, along with considering their aptitude for either Maths Speciality or Maths Complémentaires, when choosing their specialities and options. 

What science subjects should I choose for veterinary studies?

Again, the requirements between courses can vary. If you wish to apply to a university in the UK, it is strongly recommended that you take the Physics/Chemistry and SVT (Biology) specialities through to Terminale, and the Maths speciality in Première, ideally continuing into Terminale with Maths Complémentaires.

Are there any country-specific requirements for studying International Relations? 

If your child is planning to study International Relations or Politics, you should know that some universities require Maths. For example, to apply for a degree in International Relations and Organisations at Leiden University in the Netherlands, it is recommended that you have taken Maths up to Terminale, either with the speciality or with Maths Complémentaires. 

What if there are no requirements for your chosen course?

To prepare for courses with no subject requirements, your child should choose specialities that are relevant to their aims, and in which they can excel.

It is important to remember that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to choosing specialities, and at Expat Student, we take all criteria into account when giving advice to families, and always put the student’s well-being and aspirations first. 

Are you still unsure? Do you need tailored advice?

Do you have questions about studying abroad? 

We offer a free individual consultation, lasting 30 minutes on average, to discuss your child’s study plan with you, and help you in your choices. 


Expat Student accompanies you in all your international study plans by providing individual and tailored support. 

We help you apply stress-free to prestigious universities in the UK, Europe and Canada, for courses as diverse as International Business, Management, Engineering, English Literature, History, International Relations and Politics, International Law, Medicine, Veterinary Studies. 

Reach out for a free call to discuss your child’s options by contacting us at by mail or by phone + 33 (1) 34 84 70 94

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