The Collège de France is a unique French public institution located in the heart of Paris. Since the 16th century, it has been a forum for cutting-edge research and education in all fields of knowledge, from the mathematical and natural sciences to the social sciences and humanities. The Collège carries out its missions in partnership with major national and international research institutions and is a member of PSL Research University. The Foundation of the Collège de France supports its activities.
Research in the Making
In 1530, François I created the Collège de France by appointing the first six Royal Readers for teaching Greek, Hebrew and Mathematics, which were not taught at the Sorbonne at the time. Today, the 50 to 60 appointed professors teach their own “research in the making”, by delivering lecture series on new topics every year, wherever their research leads them. They work alongside some 900 researchers, engineers, technicians and administrative staff. Ten to twelve Chairs are temporary ones, the “International Chairs” are appointed for five years and the "Annual Chairs" for one year. Their purpose is to further the Collège’s responsiveness to emerging scientific fields of knowledge and societal issues.
The Collège is comprised of six institutes (Chemistry, Physics, Biology, Contemporary World, Literary Studies, Civilizations) which in turn host many research laboratories. It also welcomes 25 resident research teams of junior researchers in biology and physics, and about 250 French and foreign doctoral and postdoctoral researchers, and participates in numerous international and European scientific research programmes, or industrial research ventures.
Constantly adapting to Change
The Collège de France has been home to ten Nobel Prize, four Fields Medal Laureates, and to influential scholars such as Claude Bernard, Fernand Braudel, Michel Foucault, Pierre Bourdieu, or Pierre-Gilles de Gennes, to name but a few. When professors retire, the Assembly of Professors can assign the vacated chairs to any discipline, following an extremely selective process. New appointments, which concern French and foreign scholars alike, are made with reference to the very latest scientific developments, rather than fixed academic programmes. The sole criterion for appointing scholars at the Collège de France is the significance and the originality their work.
Lectures at this special place of learning are open to anyone wishing to attend, without any registration or fees. The Collège does not award degrees. Lecture series begin annually in October with an interdisciplinary symposium. Every year, between 120,000 and 140,000 members of the public attend the College's lectures and specialized and multidisciplinary symposiums. In 2017 more than 10 million people visited its website and 4 million downloaded its podcasts on iTunes.
National and International Outreach
The Collège’s international relations programme has four main thrusts:
- Professors are free to deliver part of their teaching abroad: the Collège signs agreements with distinguished foreign institutions, where Chairs are created specifically to host professors, or to foster joint research projects
- The Collège invites yearly approximately 30 foreign scholars to deliver lecture series.
- Half of the doctoral and post-doctoral researchers working in the Collège’s laboratories are from countries across the globe;
- French diplomatic and consular offices abroad regularly organize lecture series abroad for Collège de France's faculty.
Libraries and Publications
The Collège de France has valuable resources in the form of rare books and some of the best specialized libraries in Europe, and houses more than 550,000 volumes and documents. The General Library is home to the works and critical studies of all Collège de France professors. The Archives own a striking collection of documents as well as the scientific and iconographic archives of many of past and current professors, some of which are digitalized and available in open access (https://salamandre.articleplus.info)
The Collège publishes 15 to 20 new titles annually, alone or in partnership with publishers, available in print and in open access on OpenEdition website, in several languages.
Open Access to Knowledge
The website is central to the Collège’s mission and contributes to its international outreach. It offers web users access to the teaching programme, to forthcoming events, and to a large number of lectures and symposiums in audio and video formats, as well as to scientific material and electronic publications.
For audios and videos of teaching and symposiums, please visit:
For short presentation films of the professors and their research:
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Collège de France
11, place Marcelin-Berthelot