Paris Descartes University

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Paris Descartes University
Université Paris 5 René Descartes
Paris Descartes University Logo.jpg.png
Motto Des Sciences de l’Homme et de la Santé (French) - Of Humanities and Health
Established 1971, following the division of the University of Paris (circa 1150–1793, 1896–1970)
Type Public
Chancellor Patrick Gérard
Chancellor of the Universities of Paris
President Frédéric Dardel
Students 33 500
Undergraduates 15 000
Postgraduates 18 500
Location Paris, France
Colours Magenta and white         
Affiliations University of Paris
Paris Descartes University is located in Paris
Paris Descartes University
France Paris

Paris Descartes University (French: Université Paris 5 René Descartes), also known as "Paris V", is a public research university in Paris, France. It was established in order to succeed the medicine department of the world's second oldest academic institution, the University of Paris (often referred as the Sorbonne), shortly before the latter officially ceased to exist on December 31, 1970, as a consequence of the French cultural revolution of 1968, often referred to as "the French May". It is one of the best and the most prestigious French universities, mainly in the areas of medical sciences, biomedical sciences, and psychology.[1]

Headquartered in the historic École de Chirurgie in the 6th arrondissement of Paris, the university strongly focus on medical sciences (medicine, dental medicine, pharmacy, psychology), biomedical sciences (cellular and molecular biology, biochemistry, chemistry, biomedical physic), social sciences (sociology, anthropology, linguistics, demographics, science of education), mathematics, computer science and law.

A major pole of research and learning, Paris Descartes is one of the most prestigious universities in France and the best one in its main domains.[2] On that basis among others, it was rated by the 2013 QS World University Ranking 51-100th in Pharmacy and Pharmacology (1st in France), 101-150th in Biological Sciences (1st in France), 101-150th in Medicine (2nd in France), 151-200th in Psychology (1st in France), and 151-200th in Linguistics (2nd in France).[3]

The University Paris Descartes supports a modern approach of social sciences on the basis of fieldwork, participant observation and ethnography (Master's degree in cultural and social anthropology, at the School of humanities and social sciences - Sorbonne). The dual master's degree ("Economics and Psychology" and "Cogmaster") in partnership with other important French academic institutions such as the École Normale Supérieure and the Pantheon-Sorbonne University emphasizes opportunities offered as far as research is concerned.


The historic University of Paris (French: Université de Paris) first appeared in the second half of the 12th century, but was reorganised in 1970 as 13 autonomous universities after the student protests of the French May. Following months of conflict between students and authorities at the University of Paris at Nanterre, the administration shut down that university on May 2, 1968. Students of the Sorbonne protested the closure and the threatened expulsion of several students at Nanterre on May 3, 1968. More than 20,000 students, teachers and supporters marched towards the Sorbonne, still sealed off by the police, who charged, wielding their batons, as soon as the marchers approached. While the crowd dispersed, some began to create barricades out of whatever was at hand, while others threw paving stones, forcing the police to retreat for a time. The police then responded with tear gas and charged the crowd again. Hundreds more students were arrested.

Negotiations broke down and students returned to their campuses after a false report that the government had agreed to reopen them, only to discover the police still occupying the schools. The students now had a near revolutionary fervor. Another protest was organized on the Rive Gauche by students on May 10. When the riot police again blocked them from crossing the river, the crowd again threw up barricades, which the police then attacked at 2:15 in the morning after negotiations once again foundered. The confrontation, which produced hundreds of arrests and injuries, lasted until dawn of the following day.

Wall over a million people marched through Paris on Monday, May 13; the police stayed largely out of sight. Prime Minister Georges Pompidou personally announced the release of the prisoners and the reopening of the Sorbonne. However, the surge of strikes did not recede. Instead, the protesters got even more active.

When the Sorbonne reopened, students occupied it and declared it an autonomous "people's university." Approximately 401 popular action committees were set up in Paris, including the Occupation Committee of the Sorbonne, and elsewhere in the weeks that followed to take up grievances against the government and French society.

With the fall of the French Fourth Republic after the tumultuous events of May 1968, the French Fifth Republic proposed various drastic reforms of the French university system. In 1971, the five ancient faculties of the former University of Paris were split and then re-formed into thirteen interdisciplinary universities by the Faure Law.

Four of these new universities now share the premises of the historic Sorbonne building, which, until that time, had been mainly reserved for the Faculties of Arts and Human Sciences. These four universities were also given other premises in different locations throughout Paris.

Three universities have kept the Sorbonne name as part of their official title: the University of Paris I Pantheon-Sorbonne, University of Paris III - Sorbonne nouvelle and the University of Paris IV Paris-Sorbonne. The Sorbonne premises also house part of the Paris Descartes University (inheritor of the Medicine department) and the Chancellery, the educational authority of Paris.


Descartes university has ten campuses in Paris. Its headquarters are centered on the "Collège de chirurgie", which was built in place of the "Collège de Bourgogne", in the Quartier latin, on the rue des Écoles. The teaching facilities and the research laboratories are housed in the Saints-Pères university center, as far as the medical school and the social sciences school are concerned. The refurbished Henri-Piéron center contains the school of psychology, whereas the Law school is located in Malakoff. The dentistry school is located in Montrouge.

View of "Place de la Sorbonne" nowadays.

Notable people[edit]

Faculty members[edit]


Points of interest[edit]



  1. ^ [1], Le Nouvel Observateur Etudiants Number 6, Spécial « Pépites de la fac ».
  2. ^ Model United Nations Conference in Paris - 31 May 2013
  3. ^ QS World University Rankings 2014 – Subject Rankings. Top Universities (1 March 2014). Retrieved 2014-03-01.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 48°51′05″N 2°20′26″E / 48.85139°N 2.34056°E / 48.85139; 2.34056