École centrale de Nantes

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École Centrale de Nantes
Centrale Nantes Logo.svg
Motto Shake the future
Type Public, Graduate engineering
Established 1919
Director Armel de la Bourdonnaye (Acting Director)
Academic staff
Students 2320 students
Location Nantes, France
47°14′55″N 1°32′53″W / 47.24861°N 1.54806°W / 47.24861; -1.54806
Affiliations Ecoles Centrale Group,
Website ec-nantes.fr

École Centrale de Nantes, or Centrale Nantes, is a Grande Ecole d'Ingénieurs - a French engineering school - established in 1919 under the name of Institut Polytechnique de l'Ouest. Its graduate, master and PhD programmes are based on the latest scientific and technological developments and the best management practices. Centrale Nantes is consistently ranked within the top engineering schools in France - joint 6th out of the 168 French engineering schools in L'Etudiant 2017 ranking

Centrale Nantes is one of the members of the Ecoles Centrale Group alongside its partner institutions CentraleSupélec, Centrale Lille, Centrale Lyon, Centrale Marseille and Centrale Beijing. It is also a member of the TIME (Top Industrial Managers for Europe) network, that enables student exchanges among the leading engineering institutions in Europe.


The Centrale Nantes campus is situated in the heart of Nantes, France in the Pays-de-la-Loire region. Nantes is two hours by train from Paris. Nantes is the sixth largest city in France, located along the banks of the Loire 50 km away from the Atlantic coast.


Centrale Nantes was founded in 1919. First known under the name Institut Polytechnique de l'Ouest, it was renamed Ecole National Supérieure de Mécanique (ENSM) in 1948 when it became an Ecole National Supérieure d'Ingénieurs. Thirty years later, the school relocated to new premises - the current site on the banks of the River Erdre. In 1991, it became, by decree published in the Official Journal, the Ecole Centrale de Nantes, joining the newly-created Ecoles Centrale Group. As a member of this group, it offers a Centralien multi-disciplinary engineering programme.

In 1993 the school became an 'EPCSCP', a public institution with a scientific, cultural and professional vocation. Centrale Nantes joined forces with Centrale Lille in 2006 within the Fondation Centrale Initiatives, and with Centrale Lyon in 2009 creating a joint subsidiary for the development of research: Centrale Innovation In 2011, the school became a member of France AEROTECH.[1]. Centrale Nantes formed a structuring alliance with Audencia Business School in 2013 and ensa Nantes (Nantes School of Architecture) in 2014.


Centrale Nantes trains 360 students per year within its general engineering programme leading to the 'diplôme d'ingénieur' equivalent to a Master of Science and Engineering. This qualification is awarded to students after a total of five years of higher education. The admissions process is highly selective. French students with excellent high school results spend two years in the intensive 'classes préparatoires aux grandes écoles' preparing for the 'concours' - competitive entrance examinations to French engineering schools. Successful candidates then undertake three years of study at Centrale Nantes - corresponding to the senior undergraduate year and two graduate years.

30% of the students on campus are international students. Opportunities for international students at Centrale Nantes are available at undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate level and for students of academic partners on an exchange or double degree programme or for a research internship

Undergraduate Programme[edit]

At undergraduate-level a four-year Bachelor of Science (Hons) in Engineering at Centrale Nantes Mauritius Campus opened in Autumn 2016 to respond to the increasing demand for engineering education in Africa and the Indian Ocean.

Graduate Programmes[edit]


Centrale Nantes offers 6 Masters of Science, Technology and Health - in marine technology, mechanical engineering, control and robotics, civil engineering, city and urban environment, and industrial engineering. A number of specialisms are proposed within each Master programme, taught mainly in English:

  • Marine Technology:

Hydrodynamics for Ocean Engineering; Atlantic Master on Ship Operation & Naval Engineering

  • Mechanical Engineering:

Advanced Manufacturing; Computational Mechanics; Energetics and Propulsion; Materials, Processes and Technology of Composites

  • Control and Robotics:

Signal and Image Processing; Advanced Robotics; Embedded Real Time Systems; Control Systems; Supervision - Production Management

  • Civil Engineering:

Materials and Structures in their Environment

  • City and Urban Environments:

Atmosphere, Water and Urban Environment; Ambiances, Architecture, Urbanity

  • Industrial Engineering:

Agile Factory Management; Smart and Connected Enterprise

Erasmus Mundus Masters[edit]

Centrale Nantes is currently involved in three Erasmus Mundus Masters programmes:

  • Master of Science in Computational Mechanics
  • European Master on Advanced Robotics (EMARO+) - co-ordinated by Centrale Nantes
  • EMship Advanced Design Master

The Erasmus Mundus programme encourages and supports student international mobility and cooperation between European and non European universities. It also serves to promote European higher education.

Double Degree and Exchange Programmes[edit]

Aeronautics; Civil Engineering; Computer Science; Connected Home for Healthcare; Data Analysis and Applications in Signal and Image Processing; Digital City; Digital Sciences for Life Sciences and Healthcare; Embedded Control and Power Grids; Energy Production and Management; Engineering Science for Housing and Urban Environment; High Performance Computing in Engineering Science; Industrial Engineering; Management of Digital Business and Information Technologies; Mathematics and Applications; Mechanical Engineering for Materials and Manufacturing Processes; Modelling and Simulation in Mechanics; Ocean: Hydrodynamics and Marine Engineering; Product Engineering; Propulsion and Transport; Robotics; Virtual Reality

In their final year students also follow a professional option, honing in on a particular sector of activity or company function:

Business Finance; Entrepreneurship; International Business Development; Manager, Leader, Communicator; Perception and Sound Design; Personal Project; Research and Development; Science and Music; Sustainable City; Sustainable Industry; Engineering and digital sciences for art, culture and heritage.

Throughout the engineering programme there is a strong emphasis on management and social sciences as well as first-hand professional experience through internships.[citation needed] Students also study two modern languages, sports and leadership.


Opportunities exist for PhD study across numerous fields at Centrale Nantes in collaboration with the doctoral school ED SPI (Sciences pour l'Ingénieur - Sciences for Engineering). Scientific production each year, on average, leads to 30 to 35 doctoral theses.


Centrale Nantes collaborates with numerous industrial and educational partners within France as well internationally.

National partnerships[edit]

Centrale Nantes is a public institution and as such falls within the scope of the French Ministry of Higher Education and Research. The Ministry prepares and implements policy on the development of higher education and in the field of research and technology, and is responsible for the allocation of state resources and funds.

As one of the Ecoles Centrale Group alongside CentraleSupélec, Centrale Lyon, Centrale Lille, Centrale Marseille and Centrale Bejing, Centrale Nantes offers students the possibility of an exchange with another Centrale establishment.

In 2014 the Alliance Centrale - Audencia - ensa Nantes was created, bringing together Centrale Nantes, Audencia Business School and l'Ecole Nationale Supérieure d'Architecture de Nantes. This strategic alliance brings together engineering, business studies, architecture and design. The double degree programmes in 'Engineering and Management' and 'Engineering and Architecture' are a further example of their active collaboration.[citation needed]

Centrale Nantes has numerous additional French academic partners, listed below:

  • Ecole de Design Nantes Atlantique
  • IMT Atlantique
  • Ecole Navale
  • Ecole Supérieure d'Agriculture d'Angers
  • ITII
  • Université Bretagne Loire - a community of universities and institutions federating seven universities, 15 grandes écoles and five research organisations in Brittany and the Pays de la Loire regions.

International partnerships[edit]

Student mobility is fostered by Centrale Nantes' membership of the TIME network with partner universities all over Europe and through its active participation in Erasmus Mundus and Erasmus+ and Programmes.

Centrale Nantes currently has 177 academic partners across 55 different countries.

Industrial partnerships[edit]

Centrale Nantes works with its industrial partners.

For students these close links come in various forms: company visits, internships, projects, participation in examination boards, sponsorship of options, participation of external speakers in courses, conferences, partner days, interview simulations, job or internship offers. The frequent interaction between students and companies greatly contributes to the professional integration of graduates. The school also forges close links with companies and networks in West of France (start-ups, SMEs, professional branches, Chambers of Commerce and Industry etc).

Centrale Nantes' industrial partners include Airbus Group, Atos Worldline, Bouygues Batiment, Mondelez International, Orange, Naval Group, Safran, Sopra Steria, to name but a few.


Research at Centrale Nantes is carried out in six highly competitive laboratories:

  • High Performance Computing Institute (ICI)
  • Jean Leray Mathematical Institute
  • Laboratory of Digital Sciences of Nantes (LS2N)
  • Research Institute in Civil and Mechanical Engineering (GeM)
  • Research Laboratory in Hydrodynamics, Energetics & Atmospheric Environment (LHEEA)
  • Urban Architecture Nantes Research Centre (AAU)


Centrale Nantes Alumni[edit]

Centrale Nantes Alumni is the alumni network of Centrale Nantes. Dating back to 1922, it has over 15,000 alumni today. It organises over 400 events per year designed to maintain ties and foster solidarity amongst its members. The association also helps members boost their careers, promotes the school's image and diploma, and acts as a contact point for its members with students, the school and industry.

Centrale Nantes Alumni is a member of the wider Centralien network which allows for joint actions for the whole Centrale community (Lille, Lyon, Nantes, Marseille, CentraleSupélec) in France and in 44 other countries.

Life on campus[edit]

International Relations Office[edit]

The "International Relations Office" at Centrale Nantes does its utmost to make the arrival and the stay of international students as easy and enjoyable as possible. The Office keeps in touch with all international students after they graduate.

Student accommodation[edit]

The "International Relations Office" can assist international students with finding accommodation near the Centrale Nantes campus.

  • For double-degree programme students, a room is automatically offered in the "Max Schmitt" halls of residence.
  • For international students on a Master's programme or an exchange or research internship, accommodation is available in the CROUS university residences near the campus.
  • For PhD students, it is possible to book accommodation in the "Maison des Chercheurs Etrangers".

Student clubs and associations[edit]

Over 80 clubs and association are present on campus, among which:

  • Centrale Nantes Student Association (Bureau des Elèves- BDE )

The BDE, elected annually, offers many services to students. It welcomes and facilitates the integration of new students, organizes student events, supports initiatives and represents students at regional and national level. It is also the vehicle for communication between students and other bodies of the school.

  • Student Sports Association - (Bureau des sports - BDS)

The BDS is part of Centrale Nantes' Sports Association. The school is present at major university and federal sporting events: participation in the inter-regional and French championships, French sailing competitions, Paris half-marathon etc.

  • Student Arts Association (Bureau des arts - BDA )

The BDA organises cultural activities for the student body, such as concerts, exhibitions etc on the school premises; and music, dance, drawing lessons on campus. The BDA also keeps the students informed about cultural events in Nantes.

Students can find an activity that allows them to express their talents, to develop their organization, project management, and communication skills. A great experience on a personal level, but also a first step towards professional skills. Other clubs include: CNE - Junior Entreprise, Centrale Nantes Saildrone, Centrale Nantes Hydrocontest, Centrale Vert, Robotics club, film club, poker, cookery, Zik, ski week, participation in 4L trophy ... and many more!

Exceptional moments[edit]

  • Integration Weekend: Organised for all the new Centrale Nantes students to get to know each other.
  • Nantralien Weekend: This annual event follows the graduation ceremony and brings together students, alumni, their families and staff. Sports tournaments and visits to the research platforms are organised prior to the main event - the annual gala.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]