The University of Paris 06 is the best university in France according to the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU). The ARWU is published by the Institute of Higher Education at the Shanghai Jiao Tong University and several indicators of academic or research performance are used to establish the ranking, these include highly cited researchers, articles indexed in major citation indices and staff winning Nobel Prizes.
The Top-5 universities in France
There are twenty-three French universities in the Word’s Top-500 universities (2008). The Top-5 universities in France are: 1. University of Paris 6 (ranked 42nd in the world); 2. University of Paris 11 (ranked 49th); 3. Ecole Normale Supérieure Paris (73rd); 4. University of Paris 7 (101-151) and University of Strasbourg(101-151). The University of Paris 6 has been the best university in France since 2003, when the ARWU was first published.
Universities in France are predominantly public institutions. Interestingly, the best students attend the ‘Grandes Ecoles’ [‘Grand Schools’] (a higher education establishment outside the mainstream framework of the public universities system). Whilst the universities are open to all students who finish their high school education (with a ‘Baccalauréat’), the ‘Grandes Ecoles’ require an additional entrance exam which is highly competitive.
In comparison to French universities, the ‘Grandes Ecoles’ are relatively small institutions. For example, the University of Paris 6 (ranked 42rd in the world) has 30,000 students whilst the Ecole Normale Supérieure Paris (ranked 73rd in the world) only has 2,000 students.
Compared to other OECD countries, France has an average density of top universities (0.4 universities per 1 million inhabitants in France compared to 0.4 for OECD countries as a whole. It is striking to note that 9 out of the 23 universities (39%) that appear in the ARWU are located in Paris.
The University of Paris
The historic University of Paris was founded in the mid 12th century, In 1970 it was reorganized as 13 autonomous universities (University of Paris I-XIII). The university is often referred to as the Sorbonne or La Sorbonne. The universities are now essentially independent of each other. Despite this link, and the historical ties, there is no University of Paris system that binds the universities at an academic level.
The University of Paris 6
The University of Paris 6 or the Pierre and Marie Curie University (UPMC) is a public university that was established in 1971. It is a large university with 30,000 students: 22,000 undergraduates and 8,000 graduates. International students represent 14% of the student population.
The University of Paris 6 was the principal heir to the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Paris and is now the largest scientific and medical complex in France. The main campus (Jussieu Campus) is located in the Latin Quarter of the 5th arrondissement in Paris, with most facilities on a campus of 500 000m². For more details about the University of Paris 6.