Paris Sciences et Lettres University
Motto in English
|Dare to know|
|Type||Research and Higher Education Institution|
|Established||2010 (1530 for its oldest constituent college, the Collège de France)|
|Campus||Quartier latin, Campus Condorcet, Jourdan, Porte Dauphine, Meudon|
Paris Sciences et Lettres University (PSL University or simply PSL) is a public research university in Paris, France. It was established in 2010 and formally created as a university in 2019. It is a collegiate university with 11 constituent schools. PSL is located in central Paris, with its main sites in the Latin Quarter, at the Jourdan campus, at Porte Dauphine in northern Paris, and at Carré Richelieu.
PSL awards Bachelor's, Master's, and PhD diplomas for its constituent schools and institutes. It offers an education based on research and interdisciplinary instruction, and its 17,000 students have access to a broad range of disciplines in science, engineering, humanities, social sciences, fine art and performing arts.
In 2020, PSL University is ranked, globally, 36th by the Academic Ranking of World Universities, 45th by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings and 52nd in 2021 by the QS World University Rankings.
In 2004, institutions in the Latin Quarter began thinking of how to join forces to boost their international visibility. The French law on research promulgated in 2006, which encouraged the formation of research networks (in various forms including PRES and RTRA), paved the way for new projects such as Paris Universitas, PRES ParisTech and an early version of the PSL project. This new organization combined five institutions of higher education in the Latin Quarter: Chimie ParisTech, Collège de France, École normale supérieure (Paris), École Supérieure de Physique et de Chimie Industrielles de la ville de Paris (ESPCI Paris), and Observatoire de Paris. Together, they adopted the status of a scientific cooperation foundation (FCS) (fr). The new entity, called "Paris Sciences et Lettres – Quartier Latin", was initially conceived as a scientific alliance. In 2011, the five institutions submitted a joint application for the Initiatives for Excellence (IDEX) as part of France's Investing for the Future program (PIA), causing the project to evolve into a new form of French university. This university would have 70% of its students at the Master's and PhD level and offer a Bachelor's program, with an emphasis on equal opportunity students (40% scholarship students in the CPES multidisciplinary preparatory class).
Between 2011 and 2012, ten new institutions joined the foundation: Conservatoire National Supérieur d’Art Dramatique, Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris, École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs, École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, La Fémis, Pierre-Gilles de Gennes Foundation for Research, Institut Curie, Institut Louis-Bachelier, MINES ParisTech and Université Paris-Dauphine.
Their arrival reinforced PSL's scientific potential in the fields of engineering, biology, the arts, and management. In 2014, another four institutions specializing in humanities and social science joined the association: École Française d'Extrême-Orient, École des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS), École Nationale des Chartes, and École Pratique des Hautes Etudes (EPHE).
In 2015, PSL organized itself into a university community (ComUE: PSL Research University). PSL began awarding PhDs at that point.
"Investing for the Future" program
In 2010, the French government launched a call for proposals to boost higher education: the Investing for the Future program (also called the grand emprunt). PSL has successfully responded to several calls for proposals. In 2011, with the Initiatives for Excellence call for proposals, PSL was one of the first three projects selected, along with Université de Bordeaux and Université de Strasbourg.
While the diversity of project participants has sometimes been cited as a weakness, the promoters of PSL underline the complementarity of its institutions and the potential for collaboration. The funding of the Excellence Initiative has, in addition, supported the creation of 11 Laboratories of excellence (Labex) within PSL: CelTisPhyBio, DCBIOL, DEEP, DYNAMO, ENS-ICFP, ESEP, IEC, IPGG, MemoLife, TransferS, and WIFI. In 2014, the Corail, HaStec, and TEPSIS Labex laboratories joined the list with EHESS and EPHE becoming members of PSL. Also in 2011, PSL's institutions presented ten projects under the "Equipped with excellence" (Equipex) program. Among the initial submissions, they obtained 8 Equipex facilities: BEDOFIH, D-FIH, Equip@Meso, ICGex, IPGG, Paris-en-Resonnance, Planaqua, Ultrabrain. These projects have received funding ranging from 2 to 10 million euros.
In 2017, after a detailed review process, 9 institutions agreed to put in place an integrated budget and a multi-year strategy for academic recruitment, as well as to create a number of shared platforms and services. Chimie ParisTech, École Nationale des Chartes, École Normale Supérieure, École Pratique des Hautes Etudes, ESPCI Paris, Institut Curie, Observatoire de Paris, MINES ParisTech, Université Paris-Dauphine decided to jointly form Université PSL. The agreement approved by their respective boards calls for the schools and institutions that form the university to adopt a unified strategy, to submit to the budgetary authority of the president of the university, to jointly plan their recruitment, and to transfer the whole of their diplomas to PSL. Towards the end of the process, in 2018, one of the former members, EHESS, did not approve the new statutes and decided not to be part of the target University.
Beaux-Arts de Paris, Collège de France, Conservatoire National Supérieur d’Art Dramatique, Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris, École Française d’Extrême-Orient, École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs, La Fémis, Institut de Biologie Physico-Chimique and Institut Louis Bachelier are recognized as associates of the university pending later integration.
University status (2019)
In 2018, an opportunity to formally create a full University arose with a new Ordonnance (ordinance) allowing to create a collegiate University, whose constituents may keep their legal personality, quite similarly to the constituent faculties of a British university like University of Cambridge. This Ordinance was frequently nicknamed 'Ordonnance PSL' because it was generally considered that PSL would be one of the obvious beneficiary of this new opportunity.
In 2019, a few changes occur in the list of constituents, and finally 9 institutions approve the new statutes and become établissement-composante (constituent college): Chimie ParisTech, Conservatoire national supérieur d’art dramatique, École Nationale des Chartes, École normale supérieure, École pratique des hautes études, ESPCI Paris, Observatoire de Paris, MINES ParisTech, Paris Dauphine. In complement, two members with very specific statutes College de France and Institut Curie become associate-members, also participating closely to the governance of the University. Associate members contribute to the strategy of the University, receive financial resources from PSL University and may carry scientific programs on behalf and by delegation thereof.
Organisation and administration
PSL is a collegiate university (17,000 students). It consists of 11 constituent schools, with plans to gradually expand to include some or all other associate colleges. Three national research organisations (CNRS, Inserm, Inria) are involved in governance and help to define PSL's strategy, with which they coordinate their own strategies.
|École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts||1817||Grande école||Arts||530||Paris|
|École française d'Extrême-Orient (EFEO)||1900||Research institute||Culture||Paris|
|École nationale d'administration (ENA)||1945||Grande école||Public Administration||533||Strasbourg|
|École nationale supérieure des arts décoratifs||1766||Grande école||Art and design||700||Paris|
|École nationale supérieure des métiers de l'Image et du Son (La Fémis)||1943||Grande école||Film and television||230||Paris|
|Lycée Henri-IV||1796||Secondary school||1,948||Paris|
|Institut Louis Bachelier||2008||Organization||Economics and science||Paris|
|ENSA Paris-Malaquais||1968||Grande école||Architecture||Paris|
- 2012–2014: Monique Canto-Sperber, previously director of ENS, founder and first president of PSL
- September 2014 – February 2015 (acting) Romain Soubeyran, director of MINES ParisTech
- 2014–2017: Thierry Coulhon, previously director of the Mathematical Sciences Institute at Australian National University in Canberra
- June – October 2017 (acting) Marc Mézard, director of ENS
- 2017 – to present: Alain Fuchs, previously president of CNRS
PSL is administered by a Board of Directors chaired by the PSL president. It relies on the recommendations of an Academic Council and a Strategic Steering Committee. The executive organ of the university is the Executive Committee (the president, vice-presidents, and deans), supported by the Council of Members.
PSL offers education from undergraduate to doctoral level, across all academic disciplines, including life sciences, physical sciences, humanities and social sciences, creative arts, economics, administration and management.
All of PSL's institutions have adopted a model of education through research.
PSL and the Lycée Henri IV, along with Mines ParisTech, ESPCI Paris, Paris Dauphine University, Paris Observatory, Ecole normale supérieure and Lycée Louis-le-Grand have implemented a three-year undergraduate program : CPES Multidisciplinary undergraduate course.
At Université Paris-Dauphine, a constituent of Université PSL, bachelor's degrees are available for students in the following fields: management, economics and finance, accounting, applied mathematics, computing, journalism (IPJ-Dauphine).
Sustainable Development Goals
PSL is co-leader of the SDSN Network for France, under the initiative of the United Nations., together with Kedge Business School and Universite Cergy-Pontoise. In this context, Université PSL is promoting that all students shall have access to courses related to climate, biodiversity and sustainability.
PSL has launched in 2020 a bachelor program dedicated to sustainability sciences.
PSL organizes a yearly summer school open to European students, to help understand the challenges of sustainable development : the European School of Positive Impact and Responsibility (ESPOIR).
Université PSL offers training programs for graduate students through its constituent schools in a broad array of disciplines : engineering, fine and applied arts, management, economics, biology, humanities and social sciences, astronomy.
The first post-graduate/Master programme to be created under the umbrella of PSL between l’Université Paris-Dauphine and the Ecole normale supérieure, was the specialization Peace Studies launched in 2014 within the Master of International affairs and development.
More than 70% of PSL students are at the Master's or PhD level. University PSL Graduate Programs are inspired by the graduate schools that can be found in most of the world's research universities. The first two programs of this kind are a Graduate program in the Humanities (Translitterae) and a PhD program in Cognitive science (FrontCog).
SACRe Doctoral program
The "Science Art Creation Research" (SACRe) doctoral program aims at developing new fields of research by exploring the interfaces between the arts, and between arts and science (hard sciences as well as the humanities and social sciences). The program implements a new kind of PhD in Art strongly articulating practice and theoretical thinking. It brings together, along with the Ecole normale supérieure, five French schools of creative and performing arts : CNSAD (French professional acting school), Conservatoire national supérieur de musique et de danse de Paris (dance, music and sound design), École nationale supérieure des arts décoratifs, École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts, La Fémis.
PSL hosts some 140 laboratories, 2,900 research and teaching staff, and about 100 ERC grants. The scientific research strategy is organised around a core of discipline-specific programs and interdisciplinary programs such as the laboratories of excellence (Labex) (fr) and the Interdisciplinary and Strategic Research Initiatives. Examples of interdisciplinary programs are Scripta (History and practices of writing), the OCAV program (Origins and Conditions for the Emergence of Life), or the Q-Life Institute.
PSL's research landscape includes the following research fields: law, economics, and business administration; literature, literary theory, and philosophy; aesthetics and art theory; life and health sciences; area studies; energy and engineering; physics; chemistry; history; anthropology; informatics and data science; mathematics; materials science and soft matter science; cognitive science; sociology; earth & space science; religious studies; archaeology and heritage science.
|Global – Overall|
|ARWU World||38 (2021)|
|CWUR World||21 (2021–2022)|
|QS World||44 (2022)|
|THE World||40 (2022)|
The first recognition of PSL's existence as an integrated university came in 2017, when it appeared on the Times Higher Education ranking in 72rd place globally and 1st place in France, and 41st place globally in 2018.
In 2020, PSL University appears for the first time in two other major university rankings : CWTS Leiden Ranking and ARWU: in the Shanghai ranking it is ranked 36th and 2nd French University behind Paris-Saclay University. In ARWU Global Ranking of Academic Subjects (also known as Shanghai Ranking by Subjects) University PSL is ranked among the best world universities in 39 of the 54 subjects, e.g., 10th in the world for Mathematics and for Physics, and 12th in Ecology.
In 2020, Université PSL is ranked, globally, 45th by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, 52nd in 2021 by the QS World University Rankings and 21st by the Center for World University Rankings which places it 1st in France ahead of Paris-Saclay University.
International in scope, PSL has cultivated framework agreements with the University of Cambridge, UCL, EPFL, Columbia, Berkeley, NYU, Technion, ANU, Beida, Shanghai Jiao Tong, National Taiwan University, Tsinghua University, and Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.
PSL Symphonic Orchestra and Choir
The PSL Orchestra and Choir is a choral symphonic ensemble open to all members of the Université PSL community. PSL Orchestra and Choir's musical season consists of five different programs and incorporates contemporary work from different countries.
Nobel and Fields laureates
- Serge Haroche – B.A and Professor – Nobel in Physics – 2012
- Albert Fert – B.A – Nobel in Physics – 2007
- Claude Cohen-Tannoudji – B.A and Professor – Nobel in Physics – 1997
- Georges Charpak – B.A and Professor – Nobel in Physics – 1992
- Pierre-Gilles de Gennes – B.A and Professor – Nobel in Physics – 1991
- Louis Néel – B.A – Nobel in Physics – 1970
- Alfred Kastler – B.A – Nobel in Physics – 1966
- Jean Perrin – B.A – Nobel in Physics – 1926
- Gabriel Lippmann – B.A – Nobel in Physics – 1908
- Marie Curie – PhD – Nobel in Physics – 1903
- Pierre Curie – PhD – Nobel in Physics – 1903
- Jean-Marie Lehn – Professor – Nobel in Chemistry – 1987
- Frédéric Joliot-Curie – B.A and Professor – Nobel in Chemistry – 1935
- Irène Joliot-Curie – Professor – Nobel in Chemistry – 1935
- Paul Sabatier – B.A and PhD – Nobel in Chemistry – 1912
- Marie Curie – PhD – Nobel in Chemistry – 1911
- Henri Moissan – B.A – Nobel in Chemistry – 1906
- Jean Dausset – Professor – Nobel in Physiology and Medicine – 1980
- Jacques Monod – Professor – Nobel in Physiology and Medicine – 1965
- François Jacob – Professor – Nobel in Physiology and Medicine – 1965
- Charles Nicolle – Professor – Nobel in Physiology and Medicine – 1928
- Jean-Paul Sartre – B.A – Nobel in Literature – 1964
- Roger Martin du Gard – B.A – Nobel in Literature – 1937
- Henri Bergson – B.A and Professor – Nobel in Literature – 1927
- Romain Rolland – B.A – Nobel in Literature – 1915
- Esther Duflo – B.A – Nobel in Economics – 2019
- Jean Tirole – PhD – Nobel in Economics – 2014
- Maurice Allais – Grad Attendee and Professor – Nobel in Economics – 1988
- Gérard Debreu – B.A – Nobel in Economics – 1983
- Cédric Villani – B.A, PhD and Professor – Fields Medal – 2010
- Ngô Bảo Châu – B.A – Fields Medal – 2010
- Wendelin Werner – B.A and Professor – Fields Medal – 2006
- Laurent Lafforgue – B.A – Fields Medal – 2002
- Jean-Christophe Yoccoz – B.A and Professor – Fields Medal – 1994
- Pierre-Louis Lions – B.A and Professor – Fields Medal – 1994
- Alain Connes – B.A and Professor – Fields Medal – 1982
- René Thom – B.A – Fields Medal – 1958
- Jean-Pierre Serre – B.A and Professor – Fields Medal – 1954
- Laurent-Moïse Schwartz – B.A – Fields Medal – 1950
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- Foundation of the oldest constituent part of the school
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- "SDSN France". February 2020.
- "European Summer School on Positive Impact and Responsibility (ESPOIR)".
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- Jonathan Scott in Le Parisien: Paris / New York, 2015 archive