The Villebon - Georges Charpak Institute is a pioneering organization for educational innovation. Its program leads to a general Bachelor's degree in "Science and Technology."

The Institute recruits motivated students who are interested in sciences but may suffer from a lack of self-esteem due to their background or lack of interest in traditional teaching methods. Its goal is to allow these students to obtain a licence (French Bachelor's degree), regain confidence in their own skills, and pursue their studies with a master's degree or a diploma from an engineering school.

The project is meant to inspire similar initiatives in other academic institutions. The teachers taking part in the project naturally bring good practices back to their home institutions. The models and educational tools that have proven efficient within the Institute are made available to all stakeholders.

A team with a vision for working with students recruited for their potential

The Villebon - Georges Charpak Institutes is established on the basis of strong values shared by its students, teachers, partner companies and sponsors. Candidates get a sense of these values as early as during the recruitment sessions.

The Institute partners with volunteer high schools all across France—through the "Cordées de la réussite" system in particular—and with NGOs that advocate for equal opportunities to recruit candidates that meet its criteria.

The Institute's program relies on active, hands-on learning inspired from Georges Charpak's original main à la pâte ("hands-on") initiative. It was adapted to help students become more self-confident, inspiring them to learn and develop their creativity.

It is based on interdisciplinary projects rooted in concrete applications and also prioritizes human-based learning.

The pedagogical team consists of teacher-researchers and associate professors who are made available or assigned on a full-time or part-time basis by their home institutions. The team also includes stakeholders from the business environment.

With small classes (90 students/year in the long term) recruited all across the country, the Villebon - Georges Charpak Institute program leads to a generalist licence in "Science and Engineering" jointly issued by Universities Paris Descartes and Paris Sud, in partnership with ParisTech. At the end of the training, and depending on their aspirations, abilities and results, graduate students can:

  • pursue a master's degree,
  • apply for engineering schools (through university pathways),
  • work in a business environment or participate in the launch of a start-up.

Graduation ceremony at the Villebon - Georges Charpak Institute

Beyond its Bachelor's program, what characterizes the Villebon - Georges Charpak Institute is another way of learning.

Diversity as a strength

Students at the Villebon - Georges Charpak Institute benefit from being part of a highly diverse student population, whether in terms of academic background (graduates come from general and vocational backgrounds), geographical origin (urban and rural areas), social environment (a large majority of students receive government subsidies), or gender, etc. To create an optimal learning environment and foster student cooperation, accommodations are provided for all students near their place of learning.

Where science and technology make sense

The program gives students a chance to look at science and technology from an interdisciplinary angle. The teaching units (unités d’enseignement or UE) are all built around cross-disciplinary themes in connection with today's hot topics such as waste management, data transmission and light production. Traditional subjects (math, physics, chemistry, biology, etc.) are explored through case studies, hands-on projects and experiments, either successively or simultaneously.

The curriculum also includes economics and social sciences, and students are introduced to the business world starting in their first year.

Fostering entrepreneurship, ambition and hands-on learning

One of the main objectives of the Institute is to help students become more self-confident while fostering a creative, entrepreneurial spirit. Students frequently meet with business executives and researchers and find themselves asking relevant, original questions and designing innovative solutions to help face tomorrow's challenges.

Small-group learning and one-on-one support

Each class has a limited number of students to foster fruitful collaboration and incite students to be part of small study groups. Several one-on-one support solutions are proposed to help students thrive:

  • Tutoring sessions with master's students, doctoral students and students from engineering schools to strengthen skills, feel morally supported and ask for advice on the best learning methods.
  • Coaching sessions with business executives to prepare for the job market.
  • Regular sessions with an assigned counselor/teacher.

To apply, please visit