Paris-Saclay University

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Paris-Saclay University
Université Paris-Saclay
Logo Université Paris-Saclay.svg

Polytech Paris Saclay Août 2022.jpg
École normale supérieure Paris-Saclay 5 - Université Paris-Saclay.jpg
LAL Paris-Saclay.JPG
CEA Saclay.JPG
Former name
University of Paris Sud XI
Paris Faculty of Sciences in Orsay
TypePublic research university
Establishedc. 1150 University of Paris
1956 University of Paris in Orsay
1971 Paris-Sud University
2014 As a community[1]
2019 Replaces Paris-Sud University
ChancellorChristophe Kerrero (Chancellor of the universities of Paris)
PresidentEstelle Iacona[2]
Academic staff
Location, ,
48°42′42″N 2°10′17″E / 48.7117343°N 2.1712888°E / 48.7117343; 2.1712888Coordinates: 48°42′42″N 2°10′17″E / 48.7117343°N 2.1712888°E / 48.7117343; 2.1712888
CampusCampus of Saclay (Orsay - Gif), Campus of Versailles, Campus of Évry , Campus of Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, Campus of Paris

Paris-Saclay University (French: Université Paris-Saclay) is a public research university based in Paris, France. It is one of the 13 prestigious universities that emerged from the division of the University of Paris, also known as the Sorbonne. Paris-Saclay is ranked 1st in France and 13th in the world in the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) ranking. In subject rankings, it is placed 1st in the world for Mathematics and 9th in the world for Physics, as well as being in the top 15 for Medicine and Agriculture.[4]

It is part of the Paris-Saclay project, which is a research-intensive academic campus, and is the main center for training and research within the technology cluster of Paris-Saclay.[5][6] The University integrates several leading grandes écoles, faculties, colleges and research centers that are part of the world's top research organizations in various fields.[7][8]

Paris-Saclay has achieved particular renown in mathematics.[9] As of 2021, 11 Fields Medalists have been affiliated with the university [10] and its associated research institutes, which include the Institut des Hautes Études Scientifiques – generally regarded as the birthplace of modern algebraic geometry and catastrophe theory.[11]


In 2019, the Paris-Saclay University succeeded to University of Paris-Sud (Paris XI) founded in 1971,[12] which itself succeeded to University of Paris founded c. 1150.

After World War II, the rapid growth of nuclear physics and chemistry meant that research needed more and more powerful accelerators, which required large areas. The University of Paris, the École Normale Supérieure and the Collège de France looked for space in the south of Paris near Orsay. Later some of the teaching activity of the Faculty of Sciences in Paris was transferred to Orsay in 1956 at the request of Irène Joliot-Curie and Frédéric Joliot-Curie. The rapid increase of students led to the independence of the Orsay Center on March 1, 1965. It became the University of Paris-Sud (Paris XI) in 1971.

Now it hosts a great number of laboratories on its large (236 ha) campus in Paris-Saclay. Many of the top French laboratories are among them especially in particle physics,[13] nuclear physics,[14][15] astrophysics,[16] atomic physics and molecular physics,[17] condensed matter physics,[18] theoretical physics,[19] electronics, nanoscience and nanotechnology.[20]

The Paris-Saclay University was established in 2015 as a universities community (ComUE) and in 2019 as a university, with the aim to become a top-ranking, research-focused French university. In order to be recognized as an entity of sufficient size and quality, the university regroups some of the top grandes écoles in France with public universities under a single campus on the Saclay plateau. Each member institution will remain independent but share a significant portion of existing and newly invested resources. This follows a model similar to the one adopted by University of Oxford and Cambridge, where each constituent college keeps its independence while being grouped under a 'university'.[6]

The University System's first academic year started in September 2015.[21]

According to Dominique Vernay, chairman of the foundation developing Paris-Saclay, the university aims at a top-ten position in the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU), but "the first goal is to be the top university in continental Europe".[7]

Furthermore, the university aims to contribute to maximizing the economic and business potential of the Paris-Saclay project through research, via university and research spin-offs, as well as industrial research collaboration with established companies.[22]

In January 2020, it replaced University of Paris-Sud (Paris XI) and in 2025, Université de Versailles-Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines (UVSQ) and Université d'Évry-Val-d'Essonne (UEVE) will merge with it as well.[23]

In June 2020, Paris-Saclay University ranked 14th in Shanghai Ranking's top 1000 universities in the world, and first worldwide for Mathematics by Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) and 9th worldwide for Physics (1st in Europe).[4]


The Paris-Saclay University consists of five faculties in Sciences, Medicine, Pharmacy, Law-Economics-Management, and Sports Sciences; an Engineering school; three technical institutes specialised in scientific and technical subjects in Cachan, Orsay, and Sceaux; and an undergraduate university school.[24]

The University also brings together four grandes écoles: CentraleSupélec, AgroParisTech, ENS Paris-Saclay and the Institut d'Optique Graduate School, with two associate institutions: Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines University (UVSQ) and University of Évry Val d'Essonne (UEVE).[24]

It combines resources from the following French universities and grandes écoles, as well as partial resources from various research organizations and the Systematic Paris-Region cluster:[22]

Initially, the community of universities also included five other grandes écoles: École Polytechnique, Télécom Paris, Telecom SudParis, ENSTA Paris and ENSAE Paris. However, due to differences in University set-up, these five grandes écoles created their own separate university Polytechnic Institute of Paris. This was announced by French President Emmanuel Macron during a speech in Paris-Saclay.[25] Both of these clusters plan to co-operate and they engage in organization of several master's degrees with the Paris-Saclay University.[26]

Faculties and Institutes[edit]

Name Foundation[27] Academic degree Field Students Campus
Paris-Saclay Undergraduate University School[28] 2019 Undergraduate Law, Economics and Science 13,000[29] Paris-Saclay, Guyancourt, Sceaux, Évry-Courcouronnes
Paris-Saclay Faculty of Sciences 1956 and 1971 Undergraduate and postgraduate Science 10,000 Paris-Saclay
Paris-Saclay Faculty of Law, Economics and Management 1968 Law and economics 6,000 Sceaux
Paris-Saclay Faculty of Pharmacy 1972 Medicine 3,500 Châtenay-Malabry
Paris-Saclay Medical School 1971 3,400 Le Kremlin-Bicêtre, Paris-Saclay
Paris-Saclay Faculty of Sports Sciences 1985 Science 1,500 Paris-Saclay
Paris-Saclay Polytechnic School 2004 Engineering 820 Paris-Saclay
Orsay University Institute of Technology 1971 Science and engineering 440 Paris-Saclay
Sceaux University Institute of Technology 1970 1,500 Sceaux
Cachan University Institute of Technology 1971 1,000 Cachan

Grandes Écoles and graduate schools[edit]

Name Foundation Field Students Campus
AgroParisTech 1826 Life sciences 2,420 Paris-Saclay
CentraleSupélec 2015 Science and Engineering 5,350 Paris-Saclay, Rennes, Metz
ENS Paris-Saclay 1892 Science 1,360 Paris-Saclay
Institut d'optique Graduate School 1917 Optics 440 Paris-Saclay
Paris-Saclay Graduate School of Law 2019 Law Guyancourt, Sceaux
Paris-Saclay Graduate School of Physics 2019 Physics Paris-Saclay, Versailles, Évry-Courcouronnes
Paris-Saclay Graduate School of Economics and Management 2019 Economics Guyancourt, Sceaux
Institute of Light Sciences 2019 Science Paris-Saclay
Paris-Saclay Graduate School of Life Sciences and Health 2019 Life Sciences and Health Paris-Saclay, Le Kremlin-Bicêtre
Paris-Saclay Graduate School of Mathematics 2019 Mathematics Paris-Saclay
Paris-Saclay Graduate School of Sociology and Political science 2019 Politics and sociology Guyancourt, Sceaux
Paris-Saclay Graduate School of Engineering and Systems science 2019 Science and engineering Paris-Saclay
Paris-Saclay Graduate School of Computer Science 2019

Associated universities[edit]

Name Foundation[27] Academic degree Field Students Campus
Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines University 1987 and 1991 Undergraduate and postgraduate Science, social science and life science 19,000 Versailles, Montigny-le-Bretonneux, Guyancourt
University of Évry Val d'Essonne 1991 Science, social science and life science 10,500 Évry-Courcouronnes

Research organizations[edit]

The following research organizations have established research centers within the Paris-Saclay University. The resources contributed by these organizations will remain largely independent from other member institutions. Once the University of Paris-Saclay is fully integrated, its research centers are expected to achieve a profile similar to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory of Caltech:

  • CEA (Atomic Energy and Alternative Energies Commission)
  • CNRS (French National Centre for Scientific Research)
  • Inria (French Institute for Research in Computer Science and Automation)
  • INSERM (French Institute of Health and Medical Research)
  • Institut des Hautes Études Scientifiques (Institute of Advanced Scientific Studies)
  • INRA (French National Institute for Agricultural Sciences)
  • ONERA (National Board of Study and Aerospace Research)
  • SOLEIL (national synchrotron facility)
  • Pascal Institute - University of Paris-Saclay[30]

Academic programs[edit]

Each member school of the Paris-Saclay University organizes training in a given scientific field. Depending on the needs of their registered program, a student enrolled in a particular graduate school will have access to academic resources from other schools.

The various fields of study available at Paris-Saclay University are broadly categorized into the following:

  • Biodiversity, Agriculture and Food, Society, Environment (Biodiversité, Agriculture et Alimentation, Société, Environnement) ;
  • Biology, Medicine, Pharmaceutical studies (Biologie, Médecine, Pharmacie) ;
  • Law, Political Science (Droit et Science Politique) ;
  • Humanities (Humanités) ;
  • Engineering, Sciences and Information Technologies (Ingénierie, Sciences et Technologies de l'information) ;
  • Sport and Human Motion Sciences (Sciences du Sport et du Mouvement Humain) ;
  • Basic Sciences (Sciences Fondamentales) ;
  • Social Sciences (Sciences Sociales).

The academic programs in each of the 8 schools is expected to follow the Anglo-American model:[31]

  • Paris-Saclay Undergraduate School – The Bachelor's program is provided by Paris-Saclay faculties and the 2 public universities within Paris-Saclay, which are Versailles-Saint-Quentin University and University of Évry Val-d'Essonne.
  • Paris-Saclay Graduate Schools – Master's degrees are taught in both French and English. Altogether, 49 Master's degree are offered.[32]
  • Paris-Saclay Research or Doctoral Schools – PhD programs are offered through 20 doctoral schools.[21] Doctoral degrees received after September 30, 2015 are awarded under the name "Paris-Saclay University", with a mention of the student's associated university or grande école.

Research programmes[edit]

The Paris-Saclay University gathers together more than 300 research units, organized into 10 doctoral schools:[33]

  • Chemistry (Chimie)
  • Electrical engineering, optics and electronics (EOE: Ingénierie électrique, optique et électronique)
  • Mathematics (Mathématiques)
  • Mechanics, energy and physical processes (MEP: Mécanique, énergétique et procédés)
  • Subatomic physics and astrophysics (P2I: Physique des deux infinis)
  • Wave and matter physics (PHOM: Physique des ondes et de la matière)
  • Planetary science and cosmology (SPU: Sciences de la planète et de l'Univers)
  • Life sciences (SDV: Sciences de la Vie)
  • Human and social sciences (SHS: Sciences de l'Homme et de la Société)
  • Information and communication sciences and technologies (STIC: Sciences et technologies de l'information et de la communication).

University rankings[edit]

University rankings
Global – Overall
ARWU World[34]16 (2022)
CWUR World[35]32 (2022–2023)
CWTS World[36]112 (2022)
QS World[37]69 (2023)
THE World[38]93 (2023)
USNWR Global[39]60 (2022)

The Paris-Saclay University has been awarded the 13th world rank in the 2021 Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) ranking. It replaces University of Paris-Sud (Paris XI) in January 2020 which ranked 37 globally in 2019.[40] The same year it also has been awarded the 32nd world rank in the Center for World University Rankings (CWUR).[41]

University Paris-Saclay was included in the 2019 edition of U.S. News & World Report Best Global University Ranking. University Paris-Saclay was ranked 30 globally, 7th in Europe and 1st in France. It was ranked 1st in Europe for physics (5th internationally) and 1st internationally for mathematics.[42]

In the future, the Paris-Saclay cluster is hoped to help France secure a place among the world's top ten universities, and bring French education and research into the limelight.[6]

Nobel and Fields laureates[edit]

Paris-Saclay University formally replaced several pre-existing Parisian universities, grande écoles and research institutes. These continue to exist as departments within the broader structure of Paris-Saclay. The list below therefore includes those pre-2019 laureates whose institutions were later subsumed by the university. We list their institutional affiliation at the time too.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Establishment of Université Paris-Saclay «Décret n° 2014-1674 du 29 décembre 2014"". Retrieved 29 May 2016.
  2. ^ "Estelle Iacona is elected President of Université Paris-Saclay". Retrieved 28 June 2022.
  3. ^ a b "A World Class University". Archived from the original on 2015-09-24. Retrieved 2016-11-06.
  4. ^ a b "L'Université Paris-Saclay, première en maths – Technos et Innovations". L'Usine nouvelle (in French). 2020-07-12.
  5. ^ Université Paris-Sud / Zee Agency. "Paris-Sud University is part of Paris-Saclay's project – Université Paris-Sud".
  6. ^ a b c "France plans elite top-10 mega-university". 10 December 2014. Retrieved 29 May 2016.
  7. ^ a b Staley, Oliver (13 March 2014). "Nations Chasing Harvard Merge Colleges to Ascend Rankings". Retrieved 13 March 2014.
  8. ^ Nic Mitchell "Big is beautiful for merging universities",BBC News,25 November 2015
  9. ^ "Ranking of mathematics departments".
  10. ^ "Hugo Duminil-Copin has been awarded the Fields Medal". Retrieved 2022-07-11.
  11. ^ "The IHÉS at Forty" (PDF). Retrieved 2021-04-30.
  12. ^ à 12h31, Par Lola BretonLe 8 juillet 2020 (2020-07-08). "Paris-Saclay à la première place en maths du classement de Shanghai, «une conséquence de notre politique". (in French). Retrieved 2020-08-06.
  13. ^ Laboratoire de l'Accélérateur Linéaire. Retrieved on 2014-06-16.
  14. ^ Institut de Physique Nucléaire d'Orsay. Retrieved on 2019-11-03.
  15. ^ "French national synchrotron facility".
  16. ^ Institut d'Astrophysique Spatiale. Retrieved 2019-11-03
  17. ^ Laboratoire Aimé Cotton – UPR 3321. Retrieved on 2014-06-16.
  18. ^ Laboratory of Solid State Physics,
  19. ^ Laboratoire de Physique Théorique d'Orsay. Retrieved on 2014-06-16.
  20. ^ Centre de Nanosciences et de Nanotechnologies. Retrieved 2019-11-03
  21. ^ a b "Creation of University of Paris-Saclay". Universite Paris Sud/.
  22. ^ a b "Towards Université Paris-Saclay". Archived from the original on 4 June 2014. Retrieved 15 March 2013.
  23. ^ "Université Paris-Saclay to become one of the LERU members in 2020". 27 May 2019. Archived from the original on 22 July 2019.
  24. ^ a b "About Université Paris-Saclay". Université Paris-Saclay. 9 December 2019.
  25. ^ "Discours du président de la République, Emmanuel Macron, sur le campus de Saclay". (in French). Retrieved 2019-09-01.
  26. ^ "Institut Polytechnique de Paris officially established". Retrieved 2019-09-01.
  27. ^ a b Foundation of the oldest constituent part of the school
  28. ^ "Paris-Saclay Undergraduate University School".
  29. ^ "Université Paris-Saclay : Ouverture en septembre du premier cycle universitaire". Les Echos (in French). 2020-05-28. Retrieved 2020-08-06.
  30. ^ "Pascal Institute". 28 November 2019.
  31. ^ "Foundation of Paris-Saclay University" (PDF). Universite Paris Sud/.
  32. ^ "Masters Programs at Paris-Saclay".
  33. ^ "Various Labs at Paris-Saclay".
  34. ^ "ARWU World University Rankings | Academic Ranking of World Universities | Top 500 universities | Shanghai Ranking".
  35. ^ "Center for World University Rankings 2022-2023".
  36. ^ "CWTS Leiden Ranking 2022".
  37. ^ "QS World University Rankings 2023".
  38. ^ "World University Rankings". Times Higher Education (THE). 2022-10-12. Retrieved 2022-10-12.
  39. ^ "U.S. News Best Global Universities 2022".
  40. ^ "University of Paris-Sud (Paris 11) | Academic Ranking of World Universities – 2019 | Shanghai Ranking – 2019". Retrieved 2019-09-01.
  41. ^ "Center for World University Rankings 2020-2021".
  42. ^ "Best Global Universities Rankings". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved 1 August 2019.

External links[edit]