École Centrale Paris

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Ecole Centrale Paris
(Central School of Paris)
Ecole Centrale Paris Logo.svg
Motto Leader, Entrepreneur, Innovateur
Type Public, Grand établissement
Established 1829
President Hervé Biausser
Postgraduates 2,505
(1,789 engineer candidates)[1]
Location Châtenay-Malabry, France
Affiliations University of Paris-Saclay, Centrale Graduate School, TIME, CESAER, UniverSud Paris
Website http://www.ecp.fr

Coordinates: 48°45′56.8″N 2°17′18.3″E / 48.765778°N 2.288417°E / 48.765778; 2.288417

École Centrale Paris (ECP, often referred to as École Centrale or Centrale) was a French postgraduate-level institute of research and higher education in engineering and science. It was also known by its official name École Centrale des Arts et Manufactures.[2]

Founded in 1829, it was among the most prestigious and selective grandes écoles, rooted in the rich tradition of leadership for the modern industry of France since the industrial revolution era. Since the 19th century, its specific model of engineering education had also inspired the foundation of other schools, such as École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland.[3]

In 2015, École Centrale Paris merged with Supélec to form CentraleSupélec, a constituent institute of the University of Paris-Saclay.


"Between 1832 and 1870, the Central School of Arts and Manufactures produced 3,000 engineers, and served as a model for most of the industrialized countries."

— Mathias, Peter; Postan, Michael (1978). The Cambridge Economic History of Europe. Cambridge university press. p. 313. ISBN 9780521215909.

École Centrale des Arts et Manufactures was founded in 1829 as a private institute by Alphonse Lavallée, a lawyer and a prominent businessman from Nantes, who put forward most of his personal capital into founding the school, together with three top scientists who became its founding associates: Eugène Peclet, Jean-Baptiste Dumas, and Théodore Olivier. Notably, Lavallée was a shareholder of Le Globe, which became in 1831 the official organ of the Saint-Simonian movement.

The founding vision of École Centrale was to train multidisciplinary engineers who will become the first "doctors of factories and mills" of the then-emerging industrial sector in France, at a time when most of the other engineering schools trained students for public service.[4] As the scientific discoveries in this era were beginning to have a major impact on industrial development in Europe, a new breed of engineers with a broad and rigorous knowledge of sciences and mathematics were needed in order for France to develop its industry and consequently compete amongst the world's superpowers.

The school was initially located in various premises in Paris, including Hotel Salé (which now hosts the Picasso Museum) and buildings which now belong to Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers. Lavallée served as the first president of École Centrale.

In 1857, Lavallée transferred the ownership of the school to the French state in order to ensure its sustainability. Under Napoleon's initiative for an imperial university, the school was then temporarily renamed as École Impériale des Arts et Manufactures.

In 1862, graduates of the school were awarded accredited graduate diplomas in engineering, with the official academic title of 'ingénieur des arts et manufactures', which was the first of its kind in France.

The school was transferred in 1969 to a new campus located in Châtenay-Malabry. The Châtenay-Malabry campus was designed by architect Jean Fayeton, and was inaugurated by President Georges Pompidou, who was accompanied on this occasion by Robert Galley. The school was renamed as École Centrale des Arts et Manufactures.

In 2015, the school formed a strategic alliance with Supélec to create CentraleSupélec, which is part of the University of Paris-Saclay. The new campus is located in Gif-sur-Yvette, approximately 20 km from the center of Paris.


École Centrale Paris was one of the Centrale Graduate Schools associated as the Groupe Centrale network with its sister institutes (Lille, Lyon, Marseille, Nantes, Beijing, Hyderabad (with Mahindra Group) and Casablanca).

Since 1837, the school had established several international partnerships (double degrees, exchanges, research collaboration) with the world's leading universities, such as California Institute of Technology, University of Cambridge, ETH Zurich, Georgia Institute of Technology, Harvard University, Indian Institutes of Technology, KAIST, Princeton University, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Politecnico di Milano, National University of Singapore, Stanford University, University of Toronto, Tsinghua University, TU Delft and Technische Universität München. It was a founding member of the TIME (Top Industrial Managers for Europe) network among top engineering schools in Europe, and also a member of the UniverSud Paris and the CESAER association of European engineering schools.[5]


Initially located in the Hôtel de Juigné (now Hôtel Salé and home to the Musée Picasso), the main campus of the school was transferred to rue Montgolfier in 1884, where it stayed until 1969. Its current location neighbours the Parc de Sceaux.

Former location of the École Centrale, rue Montgolfier in Paris (3rd arrondissement):

The school is now located at Châtenay-Malabry, Hauts-de-Seine, a southern suburb of Paris, France (in the Île-de-France region), next to the Parc de Sceaux and its Château de Sceaux. Within the main campus at Châtenay Malabry, ECP hosts eight laboratories:

  1. Molecular and Macroscopic Energy, Combustion[6]
  2. System Analysis and Macroeconomics Modeling[7]
  3. Industrial Engineering[8]
  4. Chemical Engineering and Materials Processing Laboratory[9]
  5. Applied Mathematics[10]
  6. Soil and Structure Mechanics[11]
  7. Technology and Strategy[12]
  8. Solids Structure and Properties[13]

Most of the 2000 students at École Centrale Paris stay in dedicated on-campus student residences, which is located near the research labs and easily accessible via public transport.

Following the merger of the school with Supelec, now forming CentraleSupelec, the progressive move of the campus has started from Chatenay-Malabry to Gif-sur-Yvette.


Most French students who were admitted to École Centrale Paris had completed 2 to 3 years of post high school education in sciences through the classes préparatoires or prépas, which corresponds to (freshman and sophomore years at US universities). The entrance examination to the grandes écoles including École Centrale Paris is taken at the end of their second year (Mathématiques spéciales).

For its general engineering program leading to the degree Diplôme d'ingénieur, École Centrale Paris recruited among the top 4% of students in classes préparatoires for a quota of about 400 students, as well as about 50 top students from overseas partner universities after a highly selective process each year.[14] A small number of places was also reserved for students who have successfully completed a 3-year undergraduate program in a French university.


The general engineering program at Centrale was multidisciplinary and typically lasted between 3 and 4 years. The curriculum was similar to those offered at other general engineering schools (écoles d'ingénieurs généralistes). All courses were taught in either French or English.

During the first year (Tronc Commun, or Common Core), students were required to study several subjects in science (mathematics, quantum physics, biology…), engineering (continuum mechanics, heat transfer, algorithms, programming…), as well as social sciences (economics, management, foreign languages…). In the second year, students were given the option to choose elective courses but with heavy emphasis in science nevertheless. The first two years were also used to train students in various research, startup and industry projects. In the third year, students could choose to major (specialize) in a particular field depending on their academic and professional interests. Upon graduation, students received the degree of Diplôme d'Ingénieur (equivalent to Master of Science) along with the title of Ingénieur diplômé, which was more commonly called Ingénieur centralien.

The Graduate School[edit]

The school offered a broad range of specialized master's programmes in science and engineering (one-year or two-year programs).[15]

It also offered various Ph.D. programmes for holders of a master's degree. More than 200 doctoral candidates currently work in one of the eight laboratories of the school.


Gustave Eiffel, designed the Eiffel Tower and internal structure of the Statue of Liberty in New York

The following is a non-exhaustive list of notable alumni of Ecole Centrale Paris, also commonly known as Centraliens or Pistons, which is a reference to the piston engine as one of the key innovations that powered the French industrial revolution.

Name (Year of graduation):

Notable faculty[edit]

They include, in alphabetical order:

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

External links[edit]