Paris-Sorbonne University

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Template:Infobox university Paris-Sorbonne University (Paris 4) (French: Université Paris-Sorbonne, Paris IV), is a public research university in Paris, France. It was established 1970 after the division of University of Paris, the world's second oldest academic institution founded in the 12th century, following the cultural revolution of French May 1968. Paris-Sorbonne University is the inheritor of the former humanities and languages faculties of the University of Paris.

Paris-Sorbonne University is ranked as the top university in arts and humanities in France, and one of the foremost worldwide, ranked 13th in the world 2010 and 17th in 2011 and 2012 in arts and humanities by QS World University Rankings. The international approach and the quality of its teachers is a worldwide recognised phenomenon, internationally reclaiming the overall highest reputation of all academic institutions in France, according to The Times Higher Education.

The university enrolls about 24,000 students composed of 20 departments specialising in arts, humanities and languages, divided in 12 campuses in Paris. Seven of the campuses are situated in the historic Latin Quarter, including the historic Sorbonne university building, and three in Marais, Malesherbes and Clignancourt respectively. Paris-Sorbonne also houses France's prestigious communication and journalism school, CELSA, located in the Parisian suburb of Neuilly-sur-Seine, maintains about 400 international agreements, and is a founding member of Sorbonne Universities.


Template:Main Paris-Sorbonne University (Paris IV) — as is Pantheon-Sorbonne University (Paris I) and New Sorbonne University (Paris III) — is often referred to as the Sorbonne (French: la Sorbonne) after the theological college (Collège de Sorbonne), founded in 1257 by Robert de Sorbon of the historic University of Paris. All three of them are represented in the historic Sorbonne university building situated in the Latin Quarter in central Paris. thumb


The historic University of Paris (Template:Lang-fr) first appeared in the second half of the 12th century, but was reorganised in 1970 as 13 autonomous universities after the student protests of the French May. Following months of conflict between students and authorities at the University of Paris at Nanterre, the administration shut down that university on May 2, 1968. Students of the Sorbonne protested the closure and the threatened expulsion of several students at Nanterre on May 3, 1968. More than 20,000 students, teachers and supporters marched towards the Sorbonne, still sealed off by the police, who charged, wielding their batons, as soon as the marchers approached. While the crowd dispersed, some began to create barricades out of whatever was at hand, while others threw paving stones, forcing the police to retreat for a time. The police then responded with tear gas and charged the crowd again. Hundreds more students were arrested. Negotiations broke down and students returned to their campuses after a false report that the government had agreed to reopen them, only to discover the police still occupying the schools. The students now had a near revolutionary fervor. Another protest was organized on the Rive Gauche by students on May 10. When the riot police again blocked them from crossing the river, the crowd again threw up barricades, which the police then attacked at 2:15 in the morning after negotiations once again foundered. The confrontation, which produced hundreds of arrests and injuries, lasted until dawn of the following day.

Well over a million people marched through Paris on Monday, May 13; the police stayed largely out of sight. Prime Minister Georges Pompidou personally announced the release of the prisoners and the reopening of the Sorbonne. However, the surge of strikes did not recede. Instead, the protesters got even more active. When the Sorbonne reopened, students occupied it and declared it an autonomous "people's university." Approximately 401 popular action committees were set up in Paris, including the Occupation Committee of the Sorbonne, and elsewhere in the weeks that followed to take up grievances against the government and French society. With the fall of the French Fourth Republic in 1958, and after the tumultuous events of May 1968, the French Fifth Republic proposed various drastic reforms of the French university system. In 1971, the five ancient faculties of the former University of Paris were split and then re-formed into thirteen interdisciplinary universities by the Faure Law. Four of these new universities now share the premises of the historic Sorbonne building, which, until that time, had been mainly reserved for the Faculties of Arts and Human Sciences. These four universities were also given other premises in different locations throughout Paris. Three universities have kept the Sorbonne name as part of their official title: the University of Paris I Pantheon-Sorbonne, University of Paris III - Sorbonne nouvelle and the University of Paris IV Paris-Sorbonne. The Sorbonne premises also house part of the Paris Descartes University (inheritor of the Medicine department) and the Chancellery, the educational authority of Paris.

After May 1968

Since its establishment following the university reforms, 'la Paris-Sorbonne' has been governed by five presidents; the founding president, historian Alphonse Dupront, was succeeded by the philosopher Raymond Polin, who was followed by Hellenist Jacques Bompaire. Next came religious historian Michel Meslin and subsequently Jean-Pierre Poussou, a historian of the urban and contemporary world. In May 1998, Georges Molinié, a specialist in modern French stylistics, was elected. He was replaced by geographer Jean-Robert Pitte in 2003. Following the University's elections in March 2008, Georges Molinié was re-elected President of Paris-Sorbonne.

Their initiatives have been aimed at promoting the cultural heritage of the University of Paris, with a focus on disciplines in the humanities. This purpose was furthered by giving top priority to the study of civilizations and to the strong teaching of the classics. These various presidents have also provided the impetus for numerous innovations whose aim has been to adapt the education given at the University of Paris to the demands of the 21st century. Because one of the main concerns of the University is the integration of students into the working world, it facilitates internships, has created increasingly work-oriented courses of study for students of the arts and has organized numerous courses aimed at preparing students for competitive civil service exams.


At the head of Paris-Sorbonne is the President, elected by members of the Council of Administration for a four-year tenure. The current president is Barthélémy Jobert. thumb

Council of Administration

The President of Paris-Sorbonne presides over the Council of Administration which meets multiple times during a school year who heads Paris-Sorbonne's administration and academics and votes upon its annual financial budget. The President is assisted by two Vice-Presidents and several professors elected by their respective academic departments.

Central Councils

Three Central Councils made up of elected members from the student body, professors and the administration reflect on important questions concerning the University's current and future projects and academics. Each member serves a two-year tenure and is elected by the student body.

Scientific Council

The Scientific Council, composed of professors elected by the Council of Administration, reflects upon various possible changes to current research techniques and standards of the University. It ensures a strong link between the University's teaching and research.


As mentioned above, the University of Paris-Sorbonne has been ranked 1st in France since 2010 and 17th in the world for Arts and Humanities since 2011. It also ranks 64 in Social sciences and management according to the Times Higher Education-QS World University Rankings 2011 and 2012. It is a founding member of Sorbonne Universités, an alliance with two other prestigious French universities specializing respectively in law and Sciences, Panthéon-Assas University and Pierre-and-Marie-Curie University. This alliance gives to the Paris-Sorbonne University students the possibility to study Sciences, Law and Political Sciences in several Dual Degrees. In 2012, two Graduate Certificates in Law are accessible for all the students member of the alliance "Sorbonne Universities" (Paris-Sorbonne University, Panthéon-Assas University, Pierre-and-Marie-Curie University).

Unité de Formation et de Recherche

The Savary Law of 1984 restructered academic departments in French universities. Each department was made into a UFR, "Unité de formation et de recherche" or Research and Formation Unit that offers both undergraduate and graduate programs. Each UFR at Paris-Sorbonne is governed by a director elected from the department, who presides over a council of elected professors who control its curriculum. Students must already have acquired an intermediate profiency in any foreign language before choosing to major in it. One-year intensive language programs are offered in Portuguese, Russian, Polish, Ukrainian, Bulgarian, Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian, Belarusian and Arabic to newcomers who wish to acquire basic proficiency in order to major in one of the listed languages. These programs are certified by a university diploma outside of the Bologna Process. Language programs certified by a university diploma outside of the Bologna Process that do not lead to a major program are also offered in modern Greek and Catalan.


Template:Main Paris-Sorbonne hosts one of France's most prestigious communication and journalism school, CELSA, Centre d’études littéraires et scientifiques appliquées located in the Parisian suburb of Neuilly-sur-Seine. However, admissions to CELSA are made directly to the school and not to Paris-Sorbonne. Approximately 700 students attend classes at CELSA and obtain degrees in journalism, corporate communications, intercultural management, marketing and advertising, human resource management, and multimedia studies. CELSA's faculty is a combination of academics from the Sorbonne and professionals from a variety of business sectors. Faculty members use a variety of teaching methods including case studies, lecture/discussions, team projects, simulation exercises and independent studies. The journalism section admits students with a three-year post-secondary school qualification. It is one of the most selective and prestigious programmes in journalism in the country. Each year, around 850 candidates apply for admission, though only 25 are offered a place


Paris-Sorbonne has twelve campuses and six libraries spread across Paris


The University's central campus is the historic central Sorbonne building in the Latin Quarter. Before the 19th century, the Sorbonne occupied several buildings. The chapel was built in 1622 by the then-Provisor of the University of Paris, Cardinal Richelieu, during the reign of Louis XIII. In 1881, politician Jules Ferry decided to convert the Sorbonne into one single building. Under the supervision of Pierre Greard, Chief Officer of the Education Authority of Paris, Henri-Paul Nénot constructed the current building from 1883 to 1901 that reflects a basic architectural uniformity. The integration of the chapel into the whole was also Nénot’s work with the construction of a cour d'honneur. The Sorbonne building is generally reserved for undergraduate students in their third year and graduate students in certain academic disciplines. Only students in Semitic studies, regardless of level, take all their classes at the Sorbonne campus.

The Library of the Sorbonne is shared by several Parisian universities. It is open exclusively to undergraduate students in their third year and graduate students. With the former archives of the now-defunct University of Paris, 2,500,000 books, 400,000 of them ancient, 2,500 historical manuscripts, 18,000 doctoral dissertation papers, 17,750 past and current French and international periodicals and 7,100 historical printing plates, the Library of the Sorbonne is the largest university library in Paris.

Maison de la Recherche

thumb The Maison de la Recherche campus is the central building for doctoral studies that hosts the history and geography departments. It houses the Serpente Library that has 55,000 works and 292 past and current French and international periodicals. All doctoral dissertations since January 1, 1986 have been stored at the Serpente Library.

Clignancourt and Malesherbes

The two biggest campuses apart from the main Sorbonne building are the Clignancourt and Malesherbes centers. Undergraduate students in their first and second years of study in Philosophy, History, Geography, English and Spanish take their classes at the Clignancourt center. The Clignancourt Library contains 78,000 works, 210 French and international periodicals and 800 educational DVDs.

Undergraduate students in their first and second years of study in French literature, French language, Latin, Ancient Greek and Musicology take their classes at the Malesherbes center. All undergraduate students in these academic disciplines study in the central Sorbonne building in their third year. Undergraduate and graduate students in German studies, Slavic studies, Italic studies and Romanian studies, regardless of level, take all of their classes at the Malesherbes center. The Malesherbes center also hosts three research centers in Italian culture, the cultures and literature of central Europe and the Balkans and the Germanic, Nordic and Dutch centers. The Malesherbes Library contains 200,000 works specializing in the study of foreign languages and cultures and 1,200 past and current French and international periodicals. More than 50,000 doctoral dissertations are available for public viewing.

Institut d'Art et d'Archéologie

thumb Undergraduate Art History and Archeology students take their classes at the Institut d'Art et d'Archéologie, located at the main entrance of the Jardin du Luxembourg. Constructed by architect Paul Bigot between 1925 and 1930, the Mesopotamian-style building was classified as a national historical building in 1996. It hosts the Michelet Library that contains 100,000 volumes of work on art history and archeology with 100 French and international periodicals. Only 10,000 of the art history and archeology works are open to students, the others requiring special authorization of usage. Graduate Art History and Archeology students take their courses at the Institut National de l'Histoire de l'Art in the Galerie Colbert, a partnered national institution of the University.

Other campuses

Both the Institut d'Urbanisme et d'Aménagement and the Institut d'Etudes hispanique in the Latin Quarter host third year and graduate students of Geography and Iberian and Latin American studies. The Marcel Bataillon Library houses the Institut d'Etudes hispaniques' collection of 25,000 works on Iberian and Latin-American culture. Catalan studies take place at the Centre d'Etudes catalanes in the Marais.

Paris-Sorbonne in Abu Dhabi

Template:Main An exclusive international agreement between Paris-Sorbonne and the government of Abu Dhabi was signed on February 19, 2006, starting plans to bring Paris-Sorbonne University to Abu Dhabi. The Paris-Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi (PSUAD) was established on May 30, 2008 on Reem Island by a decree of the ruler of Abu Dhabi of the United Arab Emirates. All programs are taught in the French language. An intensive French language programme is offered for one or two year(s) to students who do not meet the French language requirement for registration. The establishment of the university demonstrates the keenness of Abu Dhabi to create an international hub in culture and education, having also signed a contract with the Louvre in 2007 to create the Louvre Abu Dhabi, and with New York University in 2007 to create New York University Abu Dhabi. PSUAD is jointly governed by the Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC) and by PSUAD's board of six members, three of whom are appointed by the home Paris-Sorbonne University, the other three appointed by the Abu Dhabi Executive Council. The President of PSUAD and Chairman of the Board is the President of the home Paris-Sorbonne University, currently Georges Molinié. Academic programs are offered at the undergraduate level only in the social sciences, humanities and fine arts.

Student life

Student life is centered on Paris. The central locations of Paris-Sorbonne's campuses allows for easy access to the cultural and social lives of the Capital.

The Service Culturel des Étudiants (SCDE) or Cultural Service of Students ensures free access to all permanent exhibitions of Parisian museums for students under the age of 25. Reductions are available for membership cards to Parisian museums that allow for access to all temporary exhibitions and discounts on guided visits. The SCDE also organizes a yearly calendar of free theatrical, musical and cultural events. 250 tickets to the Paris Opera and other Parisian theaters are bought each year and are given to students on a first come, first served basis. Art History and Archeology students also have free access to all the châteaux in the Parisian region, including the Palace of Versailles. The SCDE also hosts several cultural ateliers open to all students, some of them including:

  • Pratique Théatrale provides professional acting classes two times a week, taught by professors of the famous Parisian theater school Cours Florent.
  • Démocodos offers ancient Greek and Roman acting and musical training to students, especially for those in music and musicology.
  • La Mascareta is an acting training troupe for students interested in Franco-Italian theater.
  • La Camerata Saint-Louis is a student orchestra specializing in church music from the 17th to the 18th centuries.
  • Sorbonne Sonore offers courses in the art of reading literature out loud and trains students to record literature for the hard of seeing.
  • Ecriture Poetique and Ecriture Romanesque are poetry classes led by invited professional poets, especially for those in French literature and French language.
  • Chœur Robert de Sorbon is the student classical choir of the Sorbonne open to students who do not major in music and musicology
  • Chorale de Variétés is a student choir of Paris-Sorbonne and other Parisian universities who interpret music of all styles.
  • Ensemble de Flute is a student group of flautists.

Students of Music and Musicology also make up the official Choir and Orchestra of the Sorbonne. Several public concerts are given each year in the Richelieu Amphitheater of the Sorbonne and in other public venues in Paris.

The University also has several student-led associations including Association des Étudiants Africains de la Sorbonne (ADEAS), the French-African student group, Association EMF, the Muslim student association and the Association Culturelle Latino-Américaine, the French-Latino student group. Paris-Sorbonne has several student newspapers including Avant-Poste and Contrepoint. Some cultural student-led publications include Riochets-Poésie and Projet Orphée. The Sorbonne's student radio is Radio Campus Paris and the Télésorbonne creates news reports available to watch online.

The student bureau BDE/Be IV is a student association that liven up the Sorbonne campuses. PARISMUS aids foreign exchange students from the Erasmus program get adjusted to the Sorbonne and to life in Paris.

Notable people


  • Reynald Abad, historian, winner of the Guizot Prize of the Académie française
  • Jean Baechler, historian, member of the Académie des sciences morales et politiques
  • Yves-Marie Bercé, historian, winner of the Madeleine Laurain-Portemer Prize of the Académie des sciences morales et politiques and member of the Académie des sciences morales et politiques
  • Janine Chanteur, philosopher, winner of the Biguet Prize of the Académie française
  • Jean-Claude Cheynet, historian and professor at the Collège de France
  • Antoine Compagnon, professor of French literature at the Collège de France
  • Philippe Contamine, historian, member of the Académie des inscriptions et belles-lettres
  • Denis Crouzet, Renaissance historian, winner of the Madeleine Laurain-Portemer Prize of the Académie des sciences morales et politiques
  • Marc Fumaroli, member of the Académie française and professor at the Collège de France
  • Jean Favier, historian, member of the Académie des inscriptions et belles-lettres, President of the French Commission for UNESCO
  • Olivier Forcade, historian of Political and International relations at the University of Paris-Sorbonne and Sciences-Po Paris, member of the French National Council of Universities
  • Nicolas Grimal, egyptologist, winner of the Gaston-Maspero prize of the Académie des inscriptions et belles-lettres et member of the Académie des inscriptions et belles-lettres, winner of the Diane Potier-Boes Prize of the Académie française.
  • Claude Lecouteux, professor of Medieval German literature, winner of the Strasbourg Prize of the Académie française
  • Jean-Luc Marion, philosopher, member of the Académie française
  • Danièle Pistone, musicologist, member of the Académie des beaux-arts
  • Jean-Robert Pitte, geographist, member of the Académie des sciences morales et politiques
  • Jean-Yves Tadié, professor of French literature, Grand Prize of the Académie française
  • Jean Tulard, historian, member of the Académie des sciences morales et politiques


  • Carlos Alvarado-Larroucau, writer
  • Jean-François Delmas, archivist, Director of the Bibliothèque Inguimbertine and the museums of Carpentras
  • Jean Peyrelevade, French civil servant, politician and business leader.
  • Issei Sagawa, cannibal and murderer
  • Michel Sapin, Deputy Minister of Justice from May 1991 to April 1992, Finance Minister from April 1992 to March 1993, and Minister of Civil Servants and State Reforms from March 2000 to May 2002.<ref name='assembly'>Michel Sapin, National Assembly biography</ref>
  • Ahmed el-Tayeb, Grand Imam of Al-Azhar
  • Pol Theis, attorney, interior designer, and founder of P&T Interiors in New York City
  • Loïc Vadelorge, French historian
  • Jean-Baptiste de La Salle, patron saint of teachers
  • AbdulKarim Jaafar Al-Sudani, ambassador and diplomat.

See also

  • Education in France
  • University of Paris
  • Sorbonne



External links

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