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Medical studies

Paris Descartes offers world-class medical training. Students can study to become a doctor, odontologist, pharmacist, midwife, or physical therapist and take the first year of medical training that is required for every specialty, known as PACES.

Studying medicine at Paris Descartes University entails:

  • From day one, a high degree of motivation, a strong science background, and a willingness to work hard.
  • In class, students can expect to use innovative educational tools that combine theory with practical work. Upon entering the workforce, students will have everything they need to pursue a career dedicated to the service of others.

The same first-year program for all

All medical students take the same courses in their first year. This program, known by its French acronym, PACES, introduces students to medicine, odontology (dental surgery), pharmacy studies, midwifery, and massage therapy/physical therapy.

During the first semester, the common core program includes:

  • Fundamental sciences (biology, physics, chemistry, pharmacology, etc.)
  • Medical sciences (anatomy, histology, embryology, physiology, etc.)
  • Human and social sciences

These disciplines are rounded out by specialty-specific courses in the second semester.

The PACES year includes four competitive exams. The students’ preference and performance on each test determine their ability to pursue a particular degree program.

The number of students accepted to each program is set by a ministerial decree known as the numerus clausus.

During the PACES year, all Paris Descartes students may choose to receive tutoring, which is provided by the organization C2P1. Created in 2005, C2P1 offers a number of initiatives to help students in their PACES year, including a revision course, practice exams, working groups, and a mentoring program that pairs older students with new students.

Five specialties

Starting in their second year, students split into specific programs for medicine, odontology, pharmacy studies, midwifery, and physical therapy.

  • Medical studies last from nine years (general medicine) to eleven years, depending on the student’s chosen specialty. Some specialties require certification.
  • In odontology, students can earn a national doctor of dental surgery diploma after six years. Students can specialize further after two to four years of additional studies.
  • Depending on their chosen specialty, pharmacy students can earn a national doctor of pharmacy diploma after six to nine years.
  • A degree in midwifery requires four years of studies following the PACES year and is completed in midwifery schools. Upon completion of the program, students will earn a national diploma in midwifery.
  • The degree program at ADERF, the Paris School of Physical Therapy (a private non-profit teaching establishment), lasts four years after the PACES year and results in a national massage-physical therapist diploma.

Please note: Paris Descartes also offers orthoptistry certification through its paramedical program and a nursing degree through its nursing school partners.