CPES Multidisciplinary Undergraduate degree

Bannière CPES H4
Program type Initial Training
Degree Bachelor's
Domain(s) Arts, Humanities & social sciences, Engineering, Fundamental Sciences
Discipline(s) Chemistry, Law, Economics, History, Computer Science, Mathematics, Philosophy, Physics, Political Science, Cognitive science, Life Sciences, Social Science
Teaching language(s) French
Place Paris

PSL host school

Financial support
Campus tour

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.

Bannière CPES H4
Schools involved
admitted students with a high grade at the Baccalaureate exam
students pursuing their education
partner high schools as "Cordées de la réussite"

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.

Learning outcomes

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 & society
    • — 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 (see the "program tab).
  • 3rd year: choice of one specialization


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.)

Diploma delivered

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 (6200 high school candidates for a capacity of 170 students in the first year).

Read the story of Pierre, a former CPES student
Read the list with the 25 partner high schools "Cordée de la réussite" (Roped together for success) CPES - Henri-IV
Interested in sustainable development challenges? Discover PSL's Sustainability Science bachelor's degree. More information here.


  • 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.


Parcours Collège 2024

Humanities & society track

First year

Courses at the Lycée Henri IV. The track combines humanities, quantitative sciences, economics and cognitive sciences. The aim of this first year is to acquire a methodological and knowledge base, a solid foundation of knowledge and skills for the rest of the course. As in a preparatory class, the weekly timetable is substantial and the teaching is demanding.

Second year

In the second year, a system of double majors is offered. 4 choices are offered:

  • History & Philosophy + Education 
  • History & Philosophy + Environmental Economics
  • Education + Economics
  • Education + Law

Courses are mainly taught at PSL's component institutions, in particular Ecole Normale Supérieure - PSL, Dauphine - PSL, and Mines Paris - PSL. Students have access to a course chosen by professors at the Collège de France and to the UROP (Undergraduate research opportunity program).

Third year

In the third year, 3 specializations are offered:

  • History & Philosophy
  • Education
  • Economics & Human Behavior

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.

For example, usual opportunities within PSL:
• Master's degree in Humanities 
• Master's degree in Philosophy
• Master's degree in Cognitive Science (CogMaster) 
• Diploma from ENS - PSL.



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.


First year

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.

 Download the first-year program

Second year

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.

  Download the second year program.

Third year

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.

- Download the third-year program – Mathematics Specialization
- Download the third-year program – Experimental Science Specialization
- Download the third-year program – Computer Science Specialization


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 ;

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.

First year

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.

 Download the outline of the first year of the Economics, Society and Law track

Second year

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.

Third year

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. 
Students receiving CROUS grants and newly-arrived international students have priority.

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.

Financial support

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.

Welcome desk

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. You will find a doctor dealing with preventive medicine and support for students requiring special arrangements (students with a disability, etc.) and psychologists.
  • 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.

All available PSL services.

Applying for CPES Year 1

Prerequisites: To apply, you must have already completed or be in the process of completing a general High school French 'baccalaureate' diploma (obtained in France or abroad) or a diploma with recognized equivalence.
Admissions are based on application on the French platform : Parcoursup.

 Interested in sustainable development challenges? Discover PSL's Sustainability Science bachelor's degree. More information here.

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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