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As a human and health sciences university, Paris Descartes occupies a unique, central position within French society.

Initially founded in 1970 as a collection of separate faculties, Paris Descartes first specialized in health, human, and social sciences before later adding a law and business faculty. The natural sciences have always been a part of the university, especially through its medical faculties.

That’s why students can study subjects as varied as chemistry, physics, mathematics, law, economics, social sciences, psychology, and sports sciences at Paris Descartes University.
One unique feature of Paris Descartes is that these fields have developed their own separate platforms within the university as well as an interface that is fully integrated with healthcare. Examples include therapeutic chemistry, medical imaging physics and mathematics, biostatistics, health law and economics, health sociology, and more.

Paris Descartes University is often at the top of national rankings within the health and biology sectors.

In 2016, the ARWU ranking system (Shanghai) ranked Paris Descartes first in the nation in medicine (51-75 globally) and fourth in life sciences (101-150 globally).

For the past several years, Paris Descartes has invested heavily in its ability to conduct high-level research and in a policy designed to foster student success and offer tailored degree paths, especially during the first year of study.

With respect to research, the university is planning on increasing its participation in European funding programs in order to:

  • Take part in projects that address major societal issues
  • Help produce high-level research
  • Attract prestigious researchers and incorporate them into our top-of-the-line scientific environment
  • Showcase and position the expertise of the teams at Paris Descartes University


In terms of instruction, Paris Descartes follows a proactive approach aimed at sophomore high school students that continues through their fifth year of university education. This approach involves a range of actions and programs starting before students begin their undergraduate studies and continuing throughout their education. This way, students receive better direction and have an easier time entering the job market.