French universities in the 2010 QS World University Rankings
calendar_month 01 Mar 2011, 00:00
A closer look at how France's top universities performed in the 2010 QS World University Rankings

It may only have two universities in the world's Top 50, and a further three in the world's Top 200, but French universities all made their mark on the 2010 QS World University Rankings. In this year's results, the ten best-performing French universities improved positions by an average of eight places, while the number of French universities in the QS Top 500 increased to 21.

The Top Five

33. Ecole Normale Superieure de Paris (ENS Paris) ENS Paris retains its spot as the number-one university in France and 33rd in the world in the 2010 QS World University Rankings. Despite a drop of five places from its 2009 position of 28, ENS Paris still performed well in the academic reputation category and, perhaps equally importantly for students considering studying for their undergraduate degree in France, ranked well for faculty/student ratio. At a subject level, ENS Paris ranked in the Top 100 in four out of the five broad subject areas: natural sciences (12), arts and humanities (41=), life sciences and medicine (61), and engineering and technology (78).

36. Ecole Polytechnique, ParisTech cole Polytechnique, ParisTech specializes in engineering and technology related-degrees and its performance in the 2010 QS World University Rankings highlights this. Not only is cole Polytechnique ranked 36th in the world, maintaining its position of 36= in 2009, this institution was also the best-performing French university in the engineering and technology subject area, ranking 35th. It also has an impressive student/faculty ratio ranked in the top ten in the world and an enviable employer reputation, suggesting that graduates of this prestigious French education provider will have little difficulty in gaining employment upon graduation.

118. Universite Pierre et Marie Curie (UPMC) Much like its counterpart above, the Universit Pierre et Marie Curie (UPMC) has remained stable in the 2010 QS World University Rankings, dropping just one place from 117 in 2009 to 118 in 2010. And, again like cole Polytechnique, this institution boasts an impressive faculty/student ratio. At a subject level, UPMC performs well in three of the five broad subject areas, most notably the natural sciences. But as one of the largest universities teaching science and medicine in France, its rank at 22 in the world for its specialist subject area should come as no surprise. The institution also ranked 71st for life sciences and medicine, and 104th for engineering and technology.

139. Ecole Normale Suprieure de Lyon If individual attention is important to you when choosing a university to study abroad at, look no further than cole Normale Suprieure de Lyon (ENS Lyon). Ranked third in the world for faculty/student ratio, cole Normale Suprieure de Lyon (ENS Lyon) will offer students the specialist education they're looking for. Although the institution offers a range of programs, from biological sciences to computing and information technology, earth sciences to mathematics and physical sciences, it is in the field of arts and humanities where this institution shines in 2010, ranked fourth in France and 114 in the world.

186. Universite Paris Sorbonne, Paris 4 Universit Paris Sorbonne, Paris 4 made a tremendous leap in the 2010 QS World University Rankings, rising 42 places into the Top 200 at 186. It also made its presence known in the field of arts and humanities, as not only the country's top-performing university in this subject area, but the 13th best university in the world. To add to this performance, Universit Paris Sorbonne, Paris 4 - which offers the widest range of subjects in arts, languages and social sciences of all the Paris universities - has an admirable academic reputation as well as a healthy balance of international students on its campus.

Around France Take a look at the Top 300 universities in the world and many a French institution will stand out. This powerhouse of European education has an additional five universities ranked between the Top 200 and 300 in the world, including the famous Sciences Po in Paris at 203, Universit Paris l, Panthon-Sorbonne ranked at 229, and Universit Grenoble, Joseph Fourier, at 273.

Though the country demonstrates its strength in depth, France's top universities are in many cases prevented from reaching the very top of the rankings by comparatively low scores for research output. In many cases this reflects the fact that a large amount of France's of cutting-edge research takes place within national institutes rather than universities, unlike in countries such as the UK and US. However, what France's universities may lack in research prowess they make up for in their intensive approach to undergraduate education as these rankings demonstrate, in terms of commitment to teaching and small class sizes, France's top universities are on a par with any in the world.