École des Ponts ParisTech (originally called École nationale des ponts et chaussées or ENPC, also nicknamed Ponts) is a university-level institution of higher education and research in the field of science, engineering and technology. Founded in 1747 by Daniel-Charles Trudaine, it is one of the oldest and one of the most prestigious French Grandes Écoles.
Historically, its primary mission has been to train engineering officials and civil engineers but the school now offers a wide-ranging education including computer science, applied mathematics, civil engineering, mechanics, finance, economics, innovation, urban studies, environment and transport engineering. École des Ponts is today largely international: 43% of its students obtain a double degree abroad, and 30% of an ingénieur cohort is foreign.
It is headquartered in Marne-la-Vallée (suburb of Paris), France, and is a founding member of ParisTech (Paris Institute of Technology) and of the Paris School of Economics.
The school is under the Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy of France.
Following the creation of the Corps of Bridges and Roads in 1716, the King's Council decided in 1747 to found a specific training course for the state's engineers, as École royale des ponts et chaussées. In 1775, the school took its current name as École nationale des ponts et chaussées, by Daniel-Charles Trudaine, in a moment when the state decided to set up a progressive and efficient control of the building of roads, bridges and canals, and in the training of civil engineers.
The school's first director, from 1747 until 1794, was Jean-Rodolphe Perronet, engineer, civil service administrator and a contributor to the Encyclopédie of Denis Diderot and Jean le Rond d'Alembert. Without lecturer, fifty students (among whom Lebon, Bernardin de Saint-Pierre, Pierre-Simon Girard, Riche de Prony, Méchain and Brémontier), initially taught themselves geometry, algebra, mechanics and hydraulics. Visits of building sites, cooperations with scientists and engineers and participation to the drawing of the map of the kingdom used to complete their training, which was usually four to twelve years long.
During the First French Empire run by Napoleon I from 1804 to 1814, a number of members of the Corps of Bridges and Roads (including Barré de Saint-Venant, Belgrand, Biot, Cauchy, Coriolis, Dupuit, Fresnel, Gay-Lussac, Navier, Vicat) took part in the reconstruction of the French road network that had not been maintained during the Revolution, and in large infrastructural developments, notably hydraulic projects. Under the orders of the emperor, French scientist Gaspard Riche de Prony, second director of the school from 1798 to 1839, adapts the education provided by the school in order to improve the training of future civil engineers, whose purpose is to rebuild the major infrastructures of the country: roads, bridges, but also administrative buildings, barracks and fortifications. Prony is now considered as a historical and influential figure of the school. During the twenty years that followed the First Empire, the experience of the faculty and the alumni involved in the reconstruction strongly influenced its training methods and internal organisation. In 1831, the school opens its first laboratory, which aims at concentrating the talents and experiences of the country's best civil engineers. The school also gradually becomes a place of reflection and debates for urban planning.
As a new step in the evolution of the school, the decree of 1851 insists on the organisation of the courses, the writing of an annual schedule, the quality of the faculty, and the control of the students’ works. For the first time in its history, the school opens its doors to a larger public. At this time, in France, the remarkable development of transports, roads, bridges and canals is strongly influenced by engineers from the school (Becquerel, Bienvenüe, Caquot, Carnot, Colson, Coyne, Freyssinet, Résal, Séjourné), who deeply modernised the country by creating the large traffic networks, admired in several European countries.
After the Second World War, the school focused on developing the link between economics and engineering. As civil engineering was requiring increasingly higher financial investments, the state needed engineers to be able to understand the economic situation of post-war Europe. From then on, the program of the school had three different aspects: scientific and technic, social, and economic. Gradually, the number of admitted students increased in order to provide both the Corps of Bridges and Roads and the private sector highly trained young engineers. At the time, technical progress and considerable development of sciences and techniques used in building, urbanism and the protection of the environment imposed a change of strategy in the training programme. More specialisations were progressively created and the overall programme was adapted to national issues.
École des Ponts ParisTech offers high-level programmes in an extensive range of fields, with traditional competences in mathematics, computer science, civil engineering, mechanics, economics, finance, environment, transport, town & regional planning, logistics and innovation.
École des Ponts ParisTech is among the schools called "généralistes", which means that students receive a broad, management-oriented and non-specialised education. The school also offers specialized/research masters and PhDs. It has recently opened a design school, with programmes in innovation and startup creation.
This undergraduate-graduate engineering programme is the original and main programme offered by the school. It is quite different from typical university or college studies and specific to the French system of Grandes Écoles. The Ingénieur degree of École des Ponts – the Diplôme d'Ingénieur – is equivalent to a Master of Science (including a Bachelor of Science).
Admissions for engineering students is mostly done after scientific preparatory classes (MP, PSI, PC) through the highly selective "Mines-Ponts" competitive entrance exams. Some places are open each year to French and foreign university students as well as BCPST (biology) scientific preparatory classes
École des Ponts recruits among the top 4% of the students in preparatory classes.
École des Ponts offers a wide range of master's degrees, drawing on its historical domains of expertise. Some of them are in partnership with other high-profile institutions.
Mechanics, materials, civil engineering, nuclear engineering
Mathematics, financial mathematics, computer science
City, transports, environment
École des Ponts ParisTech's delivers 12 Advanced Master's programmes ("Mastère Spécialisé"):
The laboratories of the school host many PhD students (and classical CIFRE theses) wishing to engage in research, the financing of which is done mainly through corporate chairs. There were 108 PhDs awarded in 2012 to students working in the laboratories of the School and the Ecole des Ponts was welcoming, in early 2013, about 457 PhD students in its laboratories. The Ingénieur programme students have the opportunity to complete their training with a PhD in the school's laboratories, or to prepare for it by pursuing a research Masters in these laboratories during their third year.
École des Ponts Business School is the business school of École des Ponts. It offers five types of programmes: Undergraduate Programs in International Management, The fully accredited Solvay-Ponts full-time MBA, the Executive MBA, the recently launched Executive DBA and the Custom & Corporate Programme.
Students from École des Ponts benefit from the proximity with the business school in two ways: they can, in parallel to their engineering studies, take the business school's undergraduate "course in International Management (cIM)" and have the opportunity to pursue its MBA in their last year of study. In coopération with the École nationale de l'aviation civile, the school offers an Executive MBA in aviation in Morocco and China.
The focus of the newly launched Executive-DBA is practical, rather than theoretical. The profile of applicants is therefore different than most PhD programs.
As part of the Ministry of Education and Research IDEFI (Excellence Initiatives for Innovative Training) programme, the school has created the first French design school.
d.School at École des Ponts offers courses, notably through the ME310 programme in partnership with Stanford University, with a strong entrepreneurial dimension.
The Corps of Bridges, Waters and Forests is a technical Grand Corps of the French State (see Grands corps de l'Etat). People entering the Corps become officials and serve the French state.
Education for the Ingénieur programme is organised in the six following departments:
French academic partners
French double-degree agreements
The school also allows students to pursue a double-degree in France with the following institutions:
Over the years, École des Ponts ParisTech has developed institutional relationships with partners around the world and has signed cooperation agreements with other academic institutions. Among the choices available to students, it is possible to pursue a double-degree at a partner institution (4 continents, 23 countries, 33 universities in 2014) . It is also possible to pursue exchange semesters within the framework of bilateral agreements (Berkeley, Georgia Tech, Imperial College or Erasmus exchanges), or research internships in the laboratories of the school's academic partners. In particular, the school has very close ties with Brazil, China and Spain. In the second year of the Ingénieur programme, a third of the cohort comes form partner institutions.
Every year, many students get a double-degree in an establishment approved by the school, including leading universities in the United-States (Stanford, MIT, Berkeley, Princeton, Columbia), the United-Kingdom (London School of Economics, Imperial College, Oxford, Cambridge) and Asia (Tokyo University, NUS, HKU) .
Apart from exchange agreements with world high-level universities, École des Ponts offers every year to selected students from some universities of France's partner countries to pursue their studies and earn the École des Ponts degree besides their original university's degree. Universities with this form of partnership include the National Engineering School of Tunis from Tunisia, the École Hassania des travaux publics from Morocco and the Université Saint-Joseph de Beyrouth from Lebanon.
École des Ponts ParisTech runs research in the following disciplines (the names of corresponding research centres are in brackets):
École des Ponts ParisTech was also the lead developer of Scilab along with INRIA. Scilab is now developed by the Scilab Consortium.
Laboratoire central des ponts et chaussées or LCPC is an Établissement public à caractère scientifique et technologique.
Alumni include (by alphabetical order, French unless indicated):
Past and present faculty include:
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