CPES Multidisciplinary Undergraduate degree
Demanding: a selective program in a unique scientific and cultural environment, backed by some of France’s most prestigious schools.
Interdisciplinarity: innovative modular study tracks, decompartmentalizing all fields of knowledge - Sciences, Literature, Social Sciences – based on the principle of gradual specialization.
Diversity: social, geographic, intellectual, cultural diversity... With openness driving innovation and creativity.
The CPES Multidisciplinary Undergraduate Degree is a general multidisciplinary program, providing broad exposure to culture, project-based teaching and introducing students to research. It is a 3-year program based on the principle of gradual specialization and teaching in small groups, created in partnership with Lycée Henri-IV.
Hosted by some of the most prestigious higher education institutions, the CPES educates very high-potential students who are both creative and daring. With a single goal: to create the new decision-makers, researchers and entrepreneurs for the economic, academic and cultural spheres.
- 1st year: at Lycée Henri-IV: cross-disciplinary core curriculum + choice of one of 3 tracks on offer:
- — Humanities
- — Sciences
- — Economics, Society and Law.
- 2nd year: gradual introduction to teaching at PSL institutions (ENS-PSL, Dauphine-PSL, MINES Paris-PSL, etc.) and choice of a double major. Choose from:
- — Humanities: "History + Philosophy" OR "Philosophy + Art History & Theory" OR "History + Art History & Theory"
- — Sciences: "Mathematics + Physics" OR "Mathematics + Experimental Sciences"
- — Economics, Society and Law: "Economics & Society + Law" OR "Economics & Society + Sociology & Political Sciences" OR "Sociology & Political Science + Law" OR "Mathematics + Economics"
- 3rd year: choice of one specialization
- — Humanities: History, Art History and Theory, Philosophy
- — Sciences: Mathematics-Physics, Mathematics-Computer Science, Mathematics-Economics-Finance-Actuarial Science, Advanced Mathematics, Experimental Sciences
- — Economics, Society and Law: Social and Political Sciences, Economics and Society or Law
The CPES is a selective and highly demanding multidisciplinary program, leading to a Bachelor’s degree awarded by the institution. Students can pursue their higher education by moving on to a Master’s degree at Université PSL or any of the other major universities and Grandes Écoles, either in France or abroad.
Who should tracapply?
The CPES is a highly demanding program, designed for students from France or abroad who are curious and creative, and who display critical thinking.
Depending on each student’s specific track (chosen specialization), the curriculum leads to different credentials (Physics, Chemistry, History, Art History and Theory, Philosophy etc.)
The CPES degree (for "cycle pluridisciplinaire d’études supérieures”) is a selective bachelor degree with “grade de licence” awarded by the French government. More information: Official decree
For the record, the selection rate for access to this diploma is among the highest in France (4300 high school candidates for a capacity of 150 students in the first year).
- A top-level academic environment, with 140 laboratories and 2,900 faculty
- Supervisory guidance from the preparatory class format, with autonomy and education through university research
- Customizable curriculum following the Anglo-Saxon model: Multidisciplinary common core, electives, major/minor
- Varied teaching formats: Small class sizes, practicums, lectures, seminars, group work, orals, mentoring
- Progressive specialization over three years
- Personalized guidance and support systems
- 100% rate of follow-on studies (Grandes Écoles and competitively-selected Master’s programs at the best universities in France and abroad)
- Full range of services | Joining PSL as an undergraduate means having a unique experience thanks to the many services on offer for students. Find out more here
Choosing the Humanities track
All holders of a general Baccalaureate or high school diploma are eligible to apply for the first year. The program includes basic courses in the main Humanities disciplines: literature, philosophy, history, art history and theory, ancient cultures, with English a compulsory part of the core curriculum. An introduction to quantitative methods and surveys completes this humanities program, plus one elective course. Teaching is provided by faculty and teachers of preparatory classes for Grandes Écoles.
In the second year, a system of double majors is offered, with each student choosing 2 of the following 3 majors:
- Philosophy Major: the Philosophy major includes courses that combine the history of philosophy and current affairs related to philosophy, based on in-depth reading, classes and discussion with teachers. These varied exercises and approaches ensure that a wide range of contemporary philosophy is covered: philosophy of art, of politics, of knowledge, of mind. An introduction to cognitive sciences completes this program;
- History Major: the History major offers courses covering the 4 main periods, focusing on analysis of one period and a limited context or offering transnational and global perspectives over long periods based on specific subjects. The aim is to enable students to access the most up-to-date and varied historical research, while consolidating their general historical knowledge;
- Art History and Theory Major: the Art History and Theory major enables students to begin to specialize in these areas of the humanities. The approach covers a wide variety of art forms, from both a historical and theoretical point of view, while paying close attention to forms of contemporary creation: painting, cinema, theatre, dance, etc. Pairings with the majors in the Economics, Society and Law track are also possible.
It is also possible to choose cross-curriculum double majors :
• Philosophy + Economics
• History + Economics
• Sociology and political science + History
• Sociology and political science + Philosophy
• Sociology and political science + Art History and Theory
The last week of the second semester is devoted to an introductory internship in journalism at the Institut Pratique du Journalisme at Université Paris-Dauphine - PSL. As part of the practical research they have worked on in the second semester, students prepare a research file in groups, supervised by a researcher, on a subject they have developed as part of a multidisciplinary approach. This file is presented according to academic research criteria, and an oral presentation must be given at the end of the year.
In the third year, 3 specializations are offered – Philosophy, History or Art History and Theory – a continuation of the choice of majors in the second year. Students must also choose 2 courses from another specialization, or from the Certificate of Media and Journalism, created by the Institut Pratique du Journalisme at Dauphine-PSL.
- Philosophy: the third year is a continuation of the general course in philosophy (meta-ethics, phenomenology, history and philosophy of science). The multi-disciplinary approach is continued with the selection of two compulsory courses in different disciplines from their specialization. Students produce an individual research file, enabling them to begin a specialization in a field of their choice and to learn how to write a research project with a view to preparing their follow-on studies in a Master’s degree;
- History: the third year is a continuation of the general curriculum in the different periods of history, plus a reflective and historiographic approach (writing history, public uses of the past). The multi-disciplinary approach is continued with the selection of two compulsory courses in different disciplines from their specialization. Students produce an individual research file, enabling them to begin a specialization in a field of their choice and to learn how to write a research project with a view to preparing their follow-on studies in a Master’s degree;
- Art History and Theory: the third year is a continuation of the general curriculum in art history and theory, extending the subject areas and periods studied and dealing with reflective and epistemological questions on the discipline (historiography, heritage, digital humanities). The multi-disciplinary approach is continued with the selection of two compulsory courses in different disciplines from their specialization. Students produce an individual research file, enabling them to begin a specialization in a field of their choice and to learn how to write a research project with a view to preparing their follow-on studies in a Master’s degree.
During the year, students work on an individual research thesis in their specialization, supervised by a faculty member. They must give a presentation of their thesis, and this is a requirement for their diploma to be validated. Students can use this first research project to support their application to join certain Master’s degree programs.
On completion of their 3-year program in Humanities, students are awarded a Bachelor’s degree by PSL, opening the way to a wide range of selective Master’s degrees in France or abroad. Some Grandes Écoles are also accessible through parallel admission.
Usual opportunities within PSL:
• Master's degree in Archives ;
• Master's degree in Civilizations, culture and society ;
• Master's degree in Asian studies ;
• Master's degree in Art history and archeology ;
• Master's degree in Humanities ;
• Master's degree in Digital humanities ;
• Master's degree in Philosophy
• Master's degree in Cognitive Science (CogMaster) ;
• Master's degree in Religious Sciences and Societies ;
• Diploma from ENS - PSL.
Choosing the Science track
The Science track includes a wide range of scientific disciplines - from mathematics to computer science and including experimental sciences – enabling students to gradually refine their choice of studies.
The Science track is intended for students interested in the exact sciences (mathematics, physics, chemistry, computer science and biology), and who want to study these scientific subjects in more depth before making an informed choice about their studies in the second year.
Teaching takes place at Lycée Henri-IV and, for practicums in Optics, at the Paris Observatory – PSL Meudon site, with courses taught by faculty and teachers of preparatory classes for Grandes Écoles.
The academic year is made up of a core curriculum (basic mathematics, logic, algorithmics, environmental history, research project and one course chosen from those offered by the other tracks) and one major, either "Mathematics" or "Experimental Sciences".
- Experimental Sciences Major
Multidisciplinary major in chemistry, physics and biology.
- Mathematics Major
2 possible minors: Economics (joint course with the economics major in the Economy, society and Law track) or physics (joint course with the experimental sciences major)
- It is also possible to choose a cross-curriculum double major: Mathematics + Economics.
Courses take place mainly at Mines Paris - PSL and at ENS - PSL (Jourdan Campus). The Observatoire de Paris - PSL hosts CPES Science students for practicums in optics. Courses in modern languages and economics are the same as for students in the Economy, society and Law track.
At the end of each semester one week is set aside for students to come together:
- in the first semester, they work together in small groups in artistic workshops (around 20 hours) joining up with schools of art and creation associated with PSL, including FEMIS.
- in the second semester, they participate in a robotics workshop.
During the second semester, students also spend 60 hours on their first laboratory research project. The project is supervised by faculty and researchers and an oral presentation must be given before a jury at the end of the year.
Examples of projects: Life sciences: morphogenesis and microscopy - Institut Fresnel (Marseille). Logistic maps and chaos – Department of mathematics, ENS - PSL. Low-voltage electrical machine for an embedded application, ENS Paris-Saclay Laboratoire SATIE. Study and modeling of earthquakes – Department of geology, ENS - PSL. Comparison of data from the Mars mission, Science Laboratory at Mars Climate Database - Dynamic Meteorology Laboratory, Sorbonne University site. Expression of Hr78 in the establishment of cell processes during metamorphosis of the notum in Drosophila - Institut Curie. Electrophoretic characterization and application of quantum dots functionalized with metallophtalocyanines.
In the third year, students continue with their specialization, choosing one from two, but maintain their spirit of openness by selecting a combination of options from different tracks.
Students also complete an individual research project, supervised by a faculty member, they must produce a project report and give a presentation at the end of the year.
The third year is also the time for students to consider the direction they will take "after CPES". The Director of the track and faculty members support students with the various procedures and help them prepare their application packages for a Master’s degree (in France or abroad) or for admission to an Engineering school.
- Mathematics Specialization
4 tracks are offered: Mathematics – Computer Science, Mathematics - Physics, Economics-Finance-Actuarial Science, Advanced Mathematics, combined with the Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics at Dauphine - PSL where classes are held.
Students in CPES 3 Mathematics enroll in parallel in the Bachelor’s degree course at Dauphine - PSL and, if successful, they obtain two diplomas at the end of the year.
- Experimental Sciences Specialization
Specialist courses for Physics, Chemistry and Biology take place at Mines Paris - PSL, ENS - PSL, ESPCI Paris - PSL, Chimie Paris - PSL and at the Observatoire de Paris - PSL. Every semester, a week is set aside at all 3 PSL engineering schools, to enable students to choose some introductory or advanced courses from a wide choice of subjects. These courses are initially reserved for students from the 3 engineering schools and are taught in different institutions. This provides the opportunity to get to know other schools and mix with all kinds of student.
- Computer Science Specialization
The "Computer Science" specialization is combined with the IM2D Track (Computer Science and Mathematics for Decision and Data), part of the Bachelor’s degree in Organizational Computer Science at Dauphine - PSL (where classes are held). Students who choose the Computer Science specialization therefore enroll in parallel in the Bachelor’s degree in Organizational Computer Science and the IM2D track at Dauphine - PSL and, if successful, they obtain two diplomas at the end of the year. The aim of this specialization is to introduce students to the problems of computer and scientific processing of massive data, machine learning, theoretical computer science and scientific analysis of decision problems using formal models.
On completion of the Science track, students obtain a Bachelor’s degree awarded by PSL, which opens up choices in a wide range of Master’s degree programs in universities in France or abroad. Some Grandes Ecoles are also accessible through parallel admission.
Usual opportunities within PSL:
• Diploma from ENS - PSL ;
• Engineering at MINES Paris - PSL ;
• Engineering at École nationale supérieure de Chimie de Paris - PSL;
• Engineering at ESPCI Paris - PSL ;
• Master's degree in Chemistry ;
• Master's degree in Energy ;
• Master’s degree in Computer Science ;
• Master's degree in BioMedical Engineering ;
• Master's degree in Mathematics and applications ;
• Master's degree in Physics ;
• Master's degree in Cognitive Science (CogMaster) ;
• Master’s Degree in Planetary Science ;
• Master's degree in Space science and technology ;
• Master's degree in Life Sciences ;
• Master's degree in Materials science and engineering ;
Choosing the Economics, Society and Law track
The Economics, Society and Law track aims to produce students able to analyze and understand economic and social reality in all its complexity. This is achieved through in-depth teaching of the Social Sciences (Economics, Sociology, Political Science) with Law in addition. The importance of Mathematics varies according to the chosen direction. Particular attention is paid to teaching quantitative methods (statistics, econometrics) and qualitative methods (field surveys), as well as the basics of research. The focus is on rigor, openness, and hard work to achieve intellectual autonomy.
The Economics, Society and Law track is open to holders of a Baccalaureate ES (Economics and Social Sciences stream) or S (Sciences stream). As well as joint activities (research conferences, cultural outings), the track offers a wide range of courses: mathematics, economics, sociology, political science, introduction to law, history, languages, philosophy.
In the first year, students are encouraged to learn about all the social sciences: Economics, Social Sciences, Law, with mathematics playing a more or less important role, according to the student’s profile.
In the second year, students choose two of the following 3 majors:
- Economics and Society Major: this major is one of the best courses in this discipline, with added value resulting from possible combinations with other majors, for example the Law major or the Sociology and Political Science major, and enhanced by various options: political philosophy, cognitive sciences, etc.;
- Sociology and Political Science Major: the most important feature of this major is the extensive range of subjects covered (anthropology, sociology, political science) and the coherence and substance of the course of study offered, both in terms of theory and methodology;
- Law Major: the particularity of the Law major is that it combines courses in public law and private law, in addition to practical workshops organized by professionals.
- It is also possible to choose cross-curriculum double majors:
- Economics + Mathematics
- Economics + Philosophy
- Economics + History
- Sociology and Political Science + History
- Sociology and Political Science + Art History and Theory
- Law + Art History and Theory
One week is set aside at the end of each semester to allow students take part in an introductory internship in journalistic writing at the Institut Pratique du Journalisme, Dauphine-PSL.
In the third year, compulsory courses take place at Dauphine - PSL. Depending on the choices made in the second year, different specializations are possible: Economics and society, Sociology and political science, and Law and public governance:
- Economics and Society: this specialization has the largest economics component and includes extra mathematics as it is preparing students to go on to the top Master’s degrees in Economics. It also includes social science courses;
- Sociology and Political Science: this specialization includes a wealth of courses offering an extensive knowledge of the different components of the social sciences, combined with in-depth training in methodology, and notably in field surveys. The variety of options provide a diversity that will ensure a wide range of choices at Master’s degree level;
- Law and Public Governance: this is a demanding legal course giving students a high level of competence in Law, the start of a specialization in Public Law and a decidedly multidisciplinary profile, preparing them for a university program then professional activity linked to or interacting with public or quasi-public spheres.
Students in Economics and in Sociology and Political Science produce an individual research project supervised by a faculty member, which must then be the subject of an oral presentation. Law students participate in the Clinique juridique de Dauphine - PSL. Finally, the optional Media and Journalism Certificate offered by the Institut Pratique du Journalisme, Dauphine – PSL introduces students to the journalism professions.
On completion of the 3-year program in the Economics, Society and Law track, students are awarded a Bachelor’s degree by PSL, opening the way to a wide choice of university Master’s degrees in France or abroad.
Usual opportunities within PSL:
• Master's degree in International affairs and development - Read Pierre's story ;
• Master's degree in Analysis and Policy in Economics ;
• Master's degree in law ;
• Master's degree in Mathematics and applications - Découvrir le parcours de Nicolas;
• Master's degree in Quantitative economics ;
• Master s degree in Journalism ;
• Master's degree in Public policy ;
• Master's degree in Institutions, Organizations, Economics and Society ;
• Master's degree in Social Sciences ;
• Diploma from ENS - PSL.
PSL has a housing service to help students find accommodation. The different housing options are described on their website. Students who have confirmed that they wish to accept a place on the CPES, having indicated “oui définitif” (“definitive yes”) on the Parcoursup online application system, can apply for housing. They will be charged a housing support fee of €49 (this fee will be reimbursed in the case of students receiving a grant).
These fees concern all requests for housing in a residence processed by the PSL Housing Service.
Students receiving CROUS grants and newly-arrived international students have priority.
For all requests for housing assistance, students must send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org giving their first name, last name, date of birth and whether they have been accepted for the CPES.
PSL Housing Grant
Students who are receiving a CROUS grant, levels 1 to 7, are guaranteed housing for their 3 years of study. A supplement to the APL/ALS is given to all these students by PSL. Together with the APL, this supplemental grant allows to compensate for almost all the rent at the CROUS of Paris for 3 years (L1 to L3).
Grant-holders at level 0 bis and international students can be allocated housing, subject to availability. For international students, parents’ resources are taken into account by the PSL housing allocation committee.
Students not receiving grants cannot be allocated a room in a CROUS residence. However, they can contact the PSL Housing Service for help in their search for accommodation.
Accommodation is offered in one of the CROUS de Paris residences in partnership with PSL. The location of the accommodation may change from one year to the next.
Many different types of financial assistance are available to help you have a trouble-free start to your university year.
- The supplementary housing grant awarded by PSL and paid over 10 months (from September to June). The amount is determined by the PSL housing committee according to your social and family situation (see above).
- The PSL emergency assistance fund can provide social aid and/or assistance for digital equipment
- Grants on social criteria (CROUS) calculated according to your financial and family situation and the distance between your institution and your place of residence.
- Ad hoc or annual emergency aid (National Emergency Aid Fund) for students aged under 35 going through a difficult period.
- Merit scholarships awarded to the best students achieving a Baccalaureate with distinction. Read more.
Customized support for international students from admission to PSL to their arrival in Paris.
- Access to a digital Welcome Desk that centralizes all the information you need to help you prepare your stay in Paris with no stress.
- Many services are offered: Make an appointment to prepare your arrival in France, Buddy program: the PSL mentoring program, Welcome Days: practical workshops on subjects linked to your stay in France (health, housing, student life, etc.), etc. Read more.
Healthcare & well-being
A free healthcare service is available all year round.
- Two offices, one on the PSL campus at Université Dauphine - PSL and one at the Institut national de jeunes sourds de Paris in the 5th arrondissement. You will find a doctor dealing with preventive medicine and support for students requiring special arrangements (students with a disability, etc.) and psychologists.
- Via a partnership with QARE, a teleconsultation service available 7 days a week from 7am to 11pm, you can make an appointment with the doctor of your choice from over 30 specialties, such as general medical practitioners, dermatologists, addictologists, nutritionists, gynecologists, psychologists, etc. Further information.
Applying for CPES Year 1
Prerequisites: To apply, you must have already completed or be in the process of completing a general secondary education French baccalauréat diploma (obtained in France or abroad).
Admissions are based on application on the French platform : Parcoursup.
Esther, a second-year student at CPES show you around her campus. Discover the Lycée Henri-IV where the first year classes take place and many other emblematic places on campus! Enjoy your visit!
Lisa, a Bachelor student at PSL University (CPES, Humanities):
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