Engineering at ESPCI Paris - PSL

Program type Initial Training
Degree Master's
Domain(s) Engineering
Discipline(s) Chemistry, Entrepreneurship, Physics, Health - Medecine, Engineering Science, Life Sciences
Teaching language(s) French
Place Paris

PSL host school


Since 1882 ESPCI Paris - PSL has been educating 90 innovation engineers per year who are capable of inventing the future and solving the world’s great challenges of tomorrow.
The "diplôme d’ingénieur” engineering degree is unique to France and is synonymous with first-rate education. At the international level, students can build on this degree through a PhD. ESPCI Paris - PSL, one of France’s finest schools of engineering, offers a 4-year course of study blending theory and practice that equips student engineers to pursue a PhD in engineering, for competitive standing in the international market.
The engineering program at ESPCI - PSL is a comprehensive 4-year course of study that blends multidisciplinary scientific coursework, close interaction with research, and international exposure to industry.
The program boasts small class sizes and frequent contact with teaching faculty, who are regularly on campus conducting research. This encourages informal and enriching relationships between faculty and students.

This program is part of PSL Engineering Graduate program.

Learning outcomes:

Nowhere else can students receive as comprehensive an education in science as at ESPCI Paris - PSL. Students discover the rigorous concepts of physics and biology alike, and learn the unique approaches adopted in the field of chemistry.
This multidisciplinary physics/chemistry/biology approach is further bolstered by even distribution between theory and practice. 50% of class time is spent conducting experiments. The daily experience at ESPCI is to confront each discipline through a real-life lens, and to learn by doing. Student engineers become familiar with the full set of experimental techniques, from spectrometry to chromatography, laser optics to microfluidics.
As a complement to its physics/chemistry/biology cross-disciplinary approach, ESPCI Paris also provides student engineers the opportunity to take an active role in their education:

  • through laboratory work
  • through sessions with a mentor, an innovation introduced by Pierre-Gilles de Gennes, during which students work in groups of four to reflect on a topic presented by a professor. Topics for discussion must be inspired by research and reach beyond the scope of the corresponding classroom session.


This is a three-year course of study, with an optional fourth year. During the first two years, all students take core courses providing fundamentals in physics, chemistry, and biology, plus courses in socio-economics and foreign languages. Fifty percent of class time is spent conducting practical exercises, to familiarize student engineers with a maximum of experimental techniques. Students begin to specialize in their third year of study, choosing from tracks dominated by chemistry, physical chemistry, physics, or biotechnology. Students begin the third year with a four- to six-month corporate internship. Following the internship, students dedicate four months to their chosen field of specialization, followed by a laboratory research project of at least eight weeks.  
Options for the fourth year are broad, with the option to continue one’s studies in France or abroad. Students can opt to pursue a dual degree (Agro ParisTech, MINES Paris - PSL, ISAE-SUPAERO, IOGS, HEC, ESSEC) or, as a majority of students do, pursue a Master’s in Research. Approximately 70% of ESPCI graduates continue on to a dissertation. Some students travel abroad to continue their PhD studies, at universities such as Imperial College, MIT, Harvard, or Cambridge.

This program is accredited by the CTI (Commission des Titres d'Ingénieur) which is the French body in charge of carrying out evaluation procedures that lead to the award of the engineering degree “titre d’ingénieur diplômé”.

Who should apply?

Two-thirds of ESPCI Paris students are admitted following competitive entrance exams taken after their second year of PC-track preparatory classes for Grandes Écoles (common entrance exam with École Polytechnique) and following review of their written exam essays through the Écoles Normales Supérieures (ENS). A few spots are reserved for students recruited from the A PC BIO competitive entrance exam (BCPST track).
ESPCI Paris also practices degree-based admissions (2nd year CPES, MP or PSI CPGE, DUT, L2, L3). These are based on applications, oral exams, and interviews, and for some, on internal ranking of students from preparatory classes through the Fédération Gay-Lussac.

Several tracks are open to international students.


The engineering program intersects with 9 Joint Research Units: Physics and Materials Research; Soft Condensed Matter & Chemistry; Soft Condensed Matter Science & Engineering; Chemistry, Biology & Innovation; Brain Plasticity; Biology and Proteomics Mass Spectroscopy; Gulliver; Heterogeneous Media Physics & Mechanics; Institut Langevin; Waves and Images.

International mobility:

Through its network of academic and scientific partners, ESPCI Paris offers its students numerous opportunities for pursuing dual degrees and/or academic exchanges. Students can pursue a dual degree with Agro ParisTech, MINES Paris - PSL, ISAE-SUPAERO, IOGS, HEC or ESSEC. ESPCI Paris maintains partnerships with other schools as well, such as Polytechnique and IFP, and provides access to prestigious Master’s degrees in research. All student engineers complete at least one long-term stay abroad, and can study abroad through a dual degree program, academic exchange, or corporate internship.
One week in the third year of study is reserved for intensive training at a participating school of the ATHENS (Advanced Technology Higher Education Network/SOCRATES) network. 

ESPCI Paris - PSL: How to apply?

1/ Admission en première année

- Classes Préparatoires aux Grandes Écoles, filière PC : recrutement sur le concours commun avec l’École polytechnique et en banque d’écrits avec les Écoles normales supérieures.
- Classes Préparatoires aux Grandes Écoles, filière BCPST
- Classes Préparatoires aux Grandes Écoles, filières MP et PSI
   Sur dossier et épreuves orales.
- Classes préparatoires intégrées de la Fédération Gay-Lussac

Filières universitaires
Une dizaine de places en admission sur titre après épreuves orales :

  • aux niveaux L2, DUT et L3, pour les candidats issus des universités françaises ;
  • à partir de la 2e année de licence pour les étudiants inscrits dans des universités étrangères. 

2/ Admission en deuxième année

Quelques places en admission sur titre après épreuves orales au niveau M1 pour les candidats français.
Grâce à ses accords d’échange internationaux, auxquels s’ajoute une procédure de recrutement mutualisée entres écoles de ParisTech, l’ESPCI Paris intègre en deuxième année des étudiants étrangers issus des filières d’excellence de leur pays d’origine (États-Unis, Chine, Japon, Brésil, Russie, etc.), au parcours académique exemplaire et ayant démontré des aptitudes scientifiques larges.

Registration institution: ESPCI Paris - PSL
Diploma delivered: Engineering diploma

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