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Panthéon-Assas University

Panthéon-Assas University
Université Panthéon-Assas
Established 1970 (1970)
Type Public
Budget €91 million (2013)
President Guillaume Leyte
Academic staff
Administrative staff
Students 17,705
Location Paris, France
Campus Urban
  Red and white

Panthéon-Assas University (French: Université Panthéon-Assas , commonly referred to as "Assas" or "Paris II" ), is a public research university in Paris, France. It was established so as to succeed the faculty of law and economics of the University of Paris, as the latter was divided into thirteen autonomous universities, following the events of May 1968.

The majority of the nineteen campuses of Panthéon-Assas are located in the Latin Quarter, with the main campus on place du Panthéon. The university is composed of four departments specializing in law, economics, public and private management, and political science, and hosts twenty-four research centres and five specialized doctoral schools. Every year, the university enrolls approximately 18,000 students, including 3,000 international students.

Since its founding, Panthéon-Assas has produced two presidents, four prime ministers and the holders of thirty-seven other ministerships around the world. Forty alumni of the university have been members of various parliaments as well. Faculty members of Panthéon-Assas have included eminent jurists and politicians.


  • History 1
    • The establishment of Panthéon-Assas 1.1
    • The presidents of Panthéon-Assas 1.2
  • Campuses 2
  • Organisation 3
    • Administration 3.1
    • Departments and research centres 3.2
  • Academics 4
    • Admissions 4.1
    • Libraries 4.2
    • Research 4.3
    • Journals and publications 4.4
    • Ratings and rankings 4.5
    • Joint academic programs 4.6
  • Notable people 5
  • See also 6
  • Notes 7
  • References 8
  • Sources 9
  • External links 10


Panthéon-Assas was established so as to take over from the faculty of law and economics of the University of Paris, which had been founded in the middle of the 12th century, and which officially ceased to exist on December 31, 1970, following the student protests of May 1968.

The establishment of Panthéon-Assas

In 1966, [1] Dissatisfied with these educational reforms, students began protesting in November 1967, at the campus of the University of Paris in Nanterre;[2] indeed, according to James Marshall, these reforms were seen "as the manifestations of the technocratic-capitalist state by some, and by others as attempts to destroy the liberal university".[3] After student activists protested the Vietnam War, the campus was closed by authorities on March 22 and again on May 2, 1968.[4] Agitation spread to the Sorbonne the next day, and many students were arrested in the following week.[5] Barricades were erected throughout the Latin Quarter, and a massive demonstration took place on May 13, gathering students and workers on strike.[6] The number of workers on strike reached about nine million by May 22.[2] As explained by Bill Readings:

[President Charles de Gaulle] responded on May 24 by calling for a referendum, and [...] the revolutionaries, led by informal action committees, attacked and burned the Paris Stock Exchange in response. The Gaullist government then held talks with union leaders, who agreed to a package of wage-rises and increases in union rights. The strikers, however, simply refused the plan. With the French state tottering, de Gaulle fled France on May 29 for a French military base in Germany. He later returned and, with the assurance of military support, announced [general] elections [within] forty days. [...] Over the next two months, the strikes were broken (or broke up) while the election was won by the Gaullists with an increased majority.[7]

Following these events, de Gaulle appointed

  • Official website

External links

  • Arrêté du 2 octobre 1990.
  • Arrêté du 6 janvier 1926.
  • Décret no</sup> 70-246 du 21 mars 1970 relatif à la mise en place des universités (in French).
  • French National School for the Judiciary. Profil de la promotion 2008 (in French).
  • Loi no</sup> 68-978 du 12 novembre 1968 dite « Edgar Faure » d'orientation de l'enseignement supérieur (in French).


  1. ^ Marshall, ed., p. xviii; Readings, p. 136.
  2. ^ a b Readings, p. 136.
  3. ^ Marshall, p. xviii.
  4. ^ Readings, p. 136; Rotman, pp. 10–11; Pudal, p. 190.
  5. ^ Pudal, p. 190; Giles & Snyder, ed., p. 86.
  6. ^ Pudal, p. 191; Mathieu, p. 197; Giles & Snyder, ed., p. 86.
  7. ^ Readings, pp. 136–137.
  8. ^ Berstein, p. 229.
  9. ^ Berstein, p. 229; loi no 68-978 du 12 novembre 1968.
  10. ^ Conac, p. 177.
  11. ^ Conac, pp. 177–178.
  12. ^ a b c Conac, p. 178.
  13. ^ Décret no 70-246 du 21 mars 1970, article 5.
  14. ^ Conac, p. 191.
  15. ^ Desmons, p. 49.
  16. ^ Arrêté du 6 janvier 1926.
  17. ^ a b Hottin, p. 206.
  18. ^ Conac, p. 170.
  19. ^ Le Ray, p. 24.
  20. ^ Hottin, p. 188.
  21. ^ L'Événement du jeudi; L'Express; Orchestre de Paris; de Brancovan (January & April 1973); Le Nouvel Observateur, p. 40; Bellamy, p. 264; Genette; Bras, p. 49.
  22. ^ Mayrargues.
  23. ^ Adams, p. 34.
  24. ^ Conac, p. 190.
  25. ^ Arrêté du 2 octobre 1990.
  26. ^ Bordier.
  27. ^ Rey-Lefebvre.
  28. ^ Sérès.
  29. ^ Fourquet.
  30. ^ Oswald, p. 97.
  31. ^ Chesnel.
  32. ^ French National School for the Judiciary, p. 7.


  1. ^ The Savary bill of 1984 aimed at centring universities on "education and research units" (French: unités de formation et de recherche) which match academic departments—offering both undergraduate and graduate programs—to research centres. Panthéon-Assas comprises six of these units: one for first cycle and basic legal qualification in law and political science, one for second and third cycles in law and political science, one for economics and management, one for private and public management, the French Press Institute, and the Institute of Judicial Studies.


See also

Faculty members have included two French ministers, four members of the French parliament, two members of the European parliament, a member of the Constitutional Council of France, a president and four members of the Académie des sciences morales et politiques, a member of the Académie française, a member of the Académie des inscriptions et belles-lettres, a president, a vice-president and a member of the Supreme Court of Monaco, and a secretary general of the Institute of International Law.

Alumni of Panthéon-Assas have held important positions in the French political sphere; two prime ministers, three ministers of justice, three ministers of the interior, two ministers of defence, two ministers of labour, two ministers of finance and one minister of the environment have been alumni of the university. Twenty-nine members of the French parliament and five heads of French political parties have earned degrees from Panthéon-Assas as well. Alumni have also held twenty-two foreign ministerships, while fifteen alumni have filled seats in foreign or supranational parliaments. The current presidents of Greece and of the Central African Republic are also alumni of the university. In the judiciary field, alumni of Panthéon-Assas have included two former chairmen of the International Law Commission, the current chairman of the International Arbitration Institute, a former president of the Greek Council of State, a chief justice of Brazil, a judge of the Constitutional Court of Italy and a former vice-president of the International Court of Justice.

Notable people

Panthéon-Assas offers several joint undergraduate and graduate programs with other French universities and institutions such as INSEAD, Panthéon-Sorbonne University, Paris-Sorbonne University, Pierre-and-Marie-Curie University, Paris-Dauphine University, ESSEC Business School, HEC Paris, or École Nationale Supérieure des Mines de Paris. The university offers international joint programs as well. In 2013, Panthéon-Assas and Yale Law School organised a summer school in law and economics.

Joint academic programs

The law faculty of Panthéon-Assas was ranked first in France by La Tribune in 2010, and by Le Nouvel Observateur and Le Figaro Étudiant in 2009. The university was rated ten "A+" and two "A" marks by the French Ministry of Education in 2007.[31] In 2013, the university's undergraduate law program was ranked first in France by Eduniversal. Most of the students admitted at the French National School for the Judiciary come from Panthéon-Assas.[32]

Ratings and rankings

Panthéon-Assas hosts a faculty-led publication, La Revue de droit d'Assas (abbreviated as "RDA"), which covers legal topics and includes contributions from students. The journal has been issued since January 2010, at the start of each semester. The university's publishing house, Éditions Panthéon-Assas, was established in 1998 and has produced one hundred and nineteen works as of September 2013.

Journals and publications

In 2013, about €1.3 million from the annual budget of Pantheon-Assas were dedicated to research.


The campuses at rue d'Assas, rue de Vaugirard and Melun host the university library, which is open to all the students. The university's research centres, institutes and reading rooms host twenty-two more specialized libraries. The total seating area of the university's libraries spans over 3,400 m2, and the university's collections gather over three hundred thousand volumes together. Students of the university also have free access to Cujas Library, which is the largest law library in Europe[30] and which is co-administered by Panthéon-Assas and Panthéon-Sorbonne.

The university library at rue d'Assas.


The undergraduate law program of Panthéon-Assas is selective, with an acceptance rate of 14%. The first-year pass rate in law hovers around 40%.[29] All French universities are legally obliged to allow students to change universities and curriculums after the first semester of their first year. However, they are allowed to accept as few or many students as they like; Panthéon-Assas accepts only 3% of transfer requests. Admission to the second year of the university's master programs is selective as well, some of these programs admitting only 1.7% of applicants.



In July 2012, Panthéon-Assas was the first university in France to open preparatory classes for the bar school entrance examination.[27] In 2013, the university set up a distance learning degree in law.[28]

The university houses five academic departments: one for private law and criminal sciences, one for public law and political science, one for Roman law and history of law, one for economics and management, and one for journalism and communication (administered by the French Press Institute).[1] In all, Panthéon-Assas comprises about two dozens of research centres, including the Institute of Higher International Studies, the Paris Institute of Comparative Law, and the Paris Institute of Criminology.

Departments and research centres

Panthéon-Assas is governed by an administration council, a scientific council, and a council for studies and university life. Members of these boards serve terms of two years. The president of Panthéon-Assas is elected by members of the administration council, for a four-year tenure; he or she presides over this council. The president is assisted by two vice-presidents and several professors elected within their respective academic departments. Members of the administration council choose the faculty representatives who make up the scientific council.



The campus on rue de Vaugirard gathers first-year students. It is located in the chapel wing of the defunct Jesuit College of the Immaculate Conception, where Charles de Gaulle had been a pupil;[23] the chapel itself, dating from the eighteenth century, was transformed into a lecture theatre in the 1980s.[24] The structure is a national heritage site as well.[25] The campus on rue Charcot receives third-year and master students of economics. South-east of Paris, the campus in Melun, which opened in 1987, gathers over a thousand first-cycle students who do not reside in Paris.[26]

Campus on rue de Vaugirard.

The largest campus of Panthéon-Assas is located on rue d'Assas and receives second-year and third-year law students. It was designed by Charles Lemaresquier, Alain le Normand and François Carpentier[17] to accommodate the growing number of students at the University of Paris.[18] It was built between 1959 and 1963[17] on the former grounds of Société Marinoni.[19] At the time of its inauguration, its main lecture theatre was the vastest in France, with 1,700 seats;[20] several concerts have been held in it, featuring Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Martha Argerich, Gundula Janowitz, Christa Ludwig, Alfred Brendel, Arthur Rubinstein, Seiji Ozawa, Carlo Maria Giulini, or Samson François, among others.[21] The scene at the Cairo airport from OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies was filmed in its entrance hall.[22]

The university has eighteen campuses in Paris and one in Melun. The administration offices and postgraduate studies are located in the structure designed by Jacques-Germain Soufflot and built in the late eighteenth century[15] for the faculty of law of the University of Paris, on the plaza that rings the Pantheon; the building is shared with Panthéon-Sorbonne University. It is registered among the national heritage sites of France.[16]

Panthéon-Assas University is located in Paris
Location of the university's main campuses within Paris: Panthéon (1), Assas (2), Vaugirard (3), and Charcot (4).


To this day, Panthéon-Assas has been governed by nine presidents. The founding president, Berthold Goldman, a jurist, was succeeded by Philippe Ardant, former president of the Constitutional Court of the Principality of Andorra and former president of the Arab World Institute. Panthéon-Assas was then presided by Bernard Teyssié, a specialist in social law, who was succeeded by Jacqueline Dutheil de la Rochère, a public law jurist. She was followed by Louis Vogel, a private law jurist. These various presidents have implemented numerous innovations, the aim of which has been to adapt the education given at the University of Paris to the needs of the 21st century. Guillaume Leyte was elected president of the university on June 20, 2012.

The presidents of Panthéon-Assas

The name of the university was changed to "Panthéon-Assas" in 1998, in reference to the main addresses of the pre-1968 faculty of law, which are now part of the university; namely, the buildings on place du Panthéon and rue d'Assas.[14]

Clinging to the cultural legacy of the University of Paris, and considering that their faculty already gathered professors from other disciplines (political economics and political science) than their own, most of the law professors of the faculty of law and economics wished only to restructure their faculty into a university.[11] However, most of the faculty's economists and political scientists sought to create a university which would extend beyond the Sorbonne's disciplinary compartmentalisation;[12] they hurried ahead of their colleagues and established Paris I—which would later be called "Panthéon-Sorbonne"—with professors of humanities.[12] The remainder of the former faculty created Paris II.[12] The French Press Institute was incorporated to Paris II,[13] serving as the latter's department for communication and journalism studies.

The main address of the university, on place du Panthéon.


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