1257 – Paris Law Faculty
c. 1150 – University of Paris
|Affiliation||Sorbonne University Chancellerie des Universités de Paris|
|Budget||€91 million (2013)|
Red and white
Paris II Panthéon-Assas University (French: Université Paris II Panthéon-Assas; [ynivɛʁsite pɑ̃teɔ̃ asas]), also referred to as Assas ([asas]) or Paris II ([paʁi dø]), is a research university specializing in law and economics in Paris, France, and often described as the top law school in France. It is considered the direct inheritor of the Faculty of Law and Economics of Paris (1257–1970) since, following the division of the University of Paris in 1970, most of its law professors (88 out of 108) choose to perpetuate the faculty by creating and joining a university of law and economics offering the same programs within the same two buildings. It currently provides law courses for Sorbonne University.
Since its founding in 1971, it has produced two presidents, four prime ministers, and the holders of thirty-seven other ministerships in France and around the world. The majority of the nineteen campuses of Panthéon-Assas are located in the Latin Quarter, with the main campuses on Place du Panthéon and Rue d'Assas - hence its name. The university is composed of five departments specialising in law, political science, economics, journalism and media and public and private management, and it hosts twenty-four research centres and five specialised doctoral schools. Every year, the university enrolls approximately 18,000 students, including 3,000 international students.
When the University of Paris (nicknamed the Sorbonne), which had been founded in the middle of the 12th century and officially ceased to exist on 31 December 1970, following the student protests of 1968, the Faculty of Law and Economics of Paris professors had to choose the future of the faculty. Most of the law professors (88 out of 108) wished only to restructure it into a new university. In pursuit of this, they founded with professors of economics the "University of law, economics and social sciences of Paris" or "Paris II" and kept in it the research centers and teaching programs of the Paris Law faculty. Hence, it is generally considered as its direct inheritor.
The official name of the university was changed to "Panthéon-Assas (Paris II)" in 1990. The name Panthéon-Assas is a reference to the main addresses of the pre-1968 faculty of law of Paris, which are now part of the university; namely, the buildings on Place du Panthéon and Rue d'Assas. The university is also referred to as "Assas" or "Paris II", "Sorbonne-Assas" and "Sorbonne Law School".
The university has 18 campuses in Paris and one in the city of Melun.
The administration offices and postgraduate studies are located in the structure designed by Jacques-Germain Soufflot and built in the late eighteenth century 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.
The largest campus of Panthéon-Assas is located on rue d'Assas and receives second-year to four-year law students. It was designed by Charles Lemaresquier, Alain le Normand and François Carpentier to accommodate the growing number of students at the University of Paris. It was built between 1959 and 1963 on the former grounds of Société Marinoni. At the time of its inauguration, its main lecture theatre was the largest in France, with 1,700 seats
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; the chapel itself, dating from the eighteenth century, was transformed into a lecture theatre in the 1980s. The structure is a national heritage site as well. 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.
The campus in Melun hosts local first-year students. It is located in the old town of Melun, on Saint-Étienne Island, among Roman and Gothic remains. The Institute of Law and Economics of Pantheon-Assas University is located there. It has extension under work.
The university inherited the academic department and research centers from the Faculty of law and social sciences of Paris. It currently houses five academic departments: one for private law and criminal sciences, one for public law and political science, one for Roman law and legal history, one for economics and management, and one for journalism and communication (administered by the French Press Institute).[a] 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.
Panthéon-Assas is governed by an administration council, a scientific council, and a council for studies and university life. Members of these boards serve two year terms. 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 undergraduate law program of Panthéon-Assas is selective, with an acceptance rate of 14%. The first-year pass rate in law hovers around 40%. 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.
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 and which is co-administered by Panthéon-Assas and Panthéon-Sorbonne.
Journals and publications
The university's publishing house, Éditions Panthéon-Assas, was established in 1998.
Panthéon-Assas hosts several faculty-led publications in French: Jus Politicum ("Political Law") since 2008, the Revue de droit d'Assas ("Assas Legal Journal") since 2010 and Droits fondamentaux ("Human Rights") since 2012. They are all available online.
It also hosts a faculty-led publication in English, the Sorbonne-Assas Law Review, since 2012.
Programs for "excellence"
On top of its core curriculum, Panthéon-Assas developed a number of internal degrees delivered to its top students, like the College of Law and the Paris Law School. A lot of universities followed its steps.
In July 2012, Panthéon-Assas became the first university in France to open preparatory school for the bar school entrance examination, which were until this point the monopole of private preparatory schools.
In 2013, the university set up an e-learning platform, called Agor@ssas. It created that year a distance-learning undergraduate degree in law, the first and unique one in France. It is taught by professors from Paris II and leads to exactly the same degree offerings the same rights. In addition, "e-students" have access to "e-tutors" to help them with pedagogical and administrative questions.
Joint academic programs
Panthéon-Assas offers several joint undergraduate and graduate programs with Sorbonne University. It has also joint programs with other French universities and institutions such as INSEAD, Paris-Dauphine University, ESSEC Business School, HEC Paris, or École Nationale Supérieure des Mines de Paris.
Paris II offers international integrated undergraduate programs (Bachelor-Double maîtrise) with universities such as Oxford University, University College London, King's College London, University College Dublin. It offers international integrated postgraduate programs (LL.M.-Master II) with some universities such as, on top of the latter ones, Boston University, Humboldt University of Berlin, Ludwig Maximilians University, Sapienza University of Rome, University of Padua.
Rankings and reputation
Panthéon-Assas University is ranked first of France in law in the Eduniversal rankings. In QS World University Rankings, based on English speaking publications, the university is ranked in law 51st-100th worldwide. It is often described as the "top law school in France".
Most of the students admitted at the French National School for the Judiciary come from Panthéon-Assas, more than 40% in 2011 (people who went to Assas Faculty of Law and then passed the exam from elsewhere not included).
According to "capital.fr", Assas graduates have the highest salary of all French law schools.
Economics and business
Assas undergraduate program has been ranked seven in 2016 by Eduniversal.
Assas was in 2011 the second best-ranked university (behind Paris-Dauphine University) for its master's degrees in business fields, with 20 ranked masters (law included) in Eduniversal ranking. In 2016, it was ranked as follow:
- International business: 1st
- Decisional computing: 1st
- Finance and banking: 2nd
The French Research and Higher Education Evaluation Agency stated in 2013: "Paris II University presents itself as a university of excellence. This claim is not abusive. The university occupies – in Paris, in France, in the European Union and, more broadly, in the international scientific community – a prominent place. The university's reputation and notoriety has not been usurped. They are based on teaching and research activities as well as publications whose quality is recognized and celebrated in academia. And this beyond frontiers."
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 five 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.
Among the professors of Panthéon-Assas who reformed French law, there are:
- Jean Carbonnier, who renewed huge parts of the French Civil Code in the 1960s and 1970s, and especially family law.
- Gérard Cornu, who wrote the new French Code of Civil Procedure in the late 1970s and is also well known in France for his Dictionary of Legal Vocabulary, translated in English.
- Serge Guinchard, head of the first Judicial Studies Institutes of France (in Panthéon-Assas) in the 1990s and head of several governmental commissions for criminal procedure and criminal law reforms in the 2000s in France, Senegal and for the Council of Europe.
- Pierre Catala, who reformed inheritance law and law of donations with Jean Carbonnier in the 2000s, and who initiated the reform of French contract law, tort Law and law of evidence, and was the head of the official committee for its reform
- François Terré, president in 2008 of the legal section of the Académie des sciences morales et politiques, head of the private committee for the reform of French Law of Obligations.
In the judiciary field, outside France, alumni of Panthéon-Assas have included a chief justice of Brazil, a judge of the Constitutional Court of Italy and a former vice-president of the International Court of Justice, two former chairmen of the International Law Commission, an advocate general at the European Court of Justice, two chairmen of the International Arbitration Institute, a former president of the Greek Council of State.
Alumni of Panthéon-Assas have held important positions in the French and international political spheres. In France, 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. Alumni have also held twenty-two foreign ministerships, while fifteen alumni have filled seats in foreign or supranational parliaments.
To this day, Panthéon-Assas has been governed by ten presidents. The founding president, Berthold Goldman, a jurist, was succeeded by Jacques Robert, former member of the Constitutional Council of France, who was followed by Jean Boulouis, a private law jurist. Next came another private law jurist, Georges Durry, followed 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. He 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. He was elected head of the Presidents of Universities of France Society in 2010. Guillaume Leyte, a legal historian, was elected president of the university on June 20, 2012, and reelected in 2016. On November 30, 2020, Stéphane Braconnier, a public law professor, has been elected as the new president of the university, succeeding Guillaume Leyte.
- The Savary bill of 1984 aimed at centering 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.
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Media related to Université Panthéon-Assas at Wikimedia Commons
- Official website
- Review report of the French Research and Higher Education Evaluation Agency (AERES), 2013
- Pictures of the new learning center in the Assas building