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ONDES report: Discrimination based on origin and religion in access to university

On Tuesday March 26, the results of the third part of the MASTER study (Measuring Access to Higher Education through Representative Sample Testing), concerning discrimination in access to Master's level courses, were presented at the Université Gustave Eiffel. The study was carried out by a team of researchers from the CNRS TEPP federation and its GEODE research group. The presentation will be made in the presence of the French Ministry of Higher Education and Research, France Universités, the Ligue des Droits de l'Homme and the LICRA.

Since the attacks of October 7, 2023 and the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war, the last quarter of 2023 has seen an increase in anti-Semitic acts in several European countries. This is the case in France, which has both the largest Jewish and Muslim communities in the European Union. This study analyzes the effects of war on religious discrimination against Jewish and Muslim minorities in France, in terms of access to Master's-level university courses.


The originality of this new study is threefold. Firstly, the work is based on an invariant protocol of correspondence tests, repeated in two waves, in early 2023 and early 2024. The tests cover a total sample of 3071 training courses, for which 9213 requests for information were sent to course managers by fictitious female students, distinguished only by their first and last names. This enables us to measure the impact of the Israel-Hamas war on religious discrimination against Jews and Muslims in France.

Secondly, the study covers access to education, specifically testing access to higher education, a little-explored area. Finally, the correspondence test is carried out on a representative sample of recruiters on a national scale, and consists of simple requests for information.

This study is part of the MASTER research program, which aims to assess discrimination in access to university in France. Every year since 2021, the research team has been testing a large sample of more than 2,000 selective Master's courses, sending them between 6,000 and 8,000 requests for information prior to submitting an application for enrolment.

Waves I and II examined the effects of applicants' origin, disability and gender. The present study exploits waves III and IV of the tests, which focus on religious affiliation in 2023 and 2024. The tests cover a total sample of 3071 training courses, for which 9213 requests for information were sent to training managers.


Read the full study report (FR)



Study authors : Denis Anne (Université Gustave Eiffel, ERUDITE, TEPP), Sylvain Chareyron (Université Paris-Est Créteil, ERUDITE, TEPP), Berlanda Desouza Fils Aimé (Université Gustave Eiffel, ERUDITE, TEPP) et Yannick L’Horty (Université Gustave Eiffel, ERUDITE, TEPP).