Anyone ever applied to/studied at the Paris-Sorbonne University?

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Romanorum-Hellas
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I've always wanted to study there because of its rich history, academic reputation and situation in the centre of Paris. I know that it is primarily an arts/humanities university and my current degree I am studying is History. If I got a 1st and managed to perfect my French, would applying there be as competitive as somewhere like, for example, Cambridge or UCL? I hear it is the best university in France and among the best in the world.
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(Original post by Romanorum-Hellas)
I've always wanted to study there because of its rich history, academic reputation and situation in the centre of Paris. I know that it is primarily an arts/humanities university and my current degree I am studying is History. If I got a 1st and managed to perfect my French, would applying there be as competitive as somewhere like, for example, Cambridge or UCL? I hear it is the best university in France and among the best in the world.
I was accepted there for History when I was considering doing my Bachelors degree abroad. It did not really seem difficult to get into. I had a very ordinary score of 73% in Grade 12 and I am pretty sure that my personal statement was not exceptional since I did not put much effort into the application. I recall that I did not have to submit any references either. Perhaps the fact that I was fluent in French helped me get in. I even visited it before I decided to turn the offer down, and although the Sorbonne campus is good, the undergraduate one at Tolbiac is quite average. I knew someone who studied Economics there and she wasn't too happy either. I think it may be very good for Masters though but I can't say that it can come as close to Oxbridge or UCL as far as competitiveness for admissions is concerned.
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Romanorum-Hellas
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(Original post by Scout-)
I was accepted there for History when I was considering doing my Bachelors degree abroad. It did not really seem difficult to get into. I had a very ordinary score of 73% in Grade 12 and I am pretty sure that my personal statement was not exceptional since I did not put much effort into the application. I recall that I did not have to submit any references either. Perhaps the fact that I was fluent in French helped me get in. I even visited it before I decided to turn the offer down, and although the Sorbonne campus is good, the undergraduate one at Tolbiac is quite average. I knew someone who studied Economics there and she wasn't too happy either. I think it may be very good for Masters though but I can't say that it can come as close to Oxbridge or UCL as far as competitiveness for admissions is concerned.
I suppose la Sorbonne has lost a considerable amount of prestige since its glory days in the Middle and Early Modern eras. How would I go about applying for an MA History? I would also like to apply to Cambridge as well.
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I have no clue about Masters applications. Perhaps you could try going through their website - http://www.univ-paris1.fr/
As for Cambridge, I think their applications are online as well. Go through their graduate studies pages and once you choose your course, you can apply through their 'Camsis' application portal.
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Stéphane
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Don't ever go to study in France, seriously. Even La Sorbonne won't lead you anywhere... As mentioned on the above, it's very easy to get in (a French person only needs to get his or her baccalauréat with minimum marks, and they're good to go) and you will end up with some random people that aren't passionate about anything.

Plus, the undergraduate studies take place in Tolbiac : ugly building, sad people, teachers that don't care about you understanding or not, constant blockades, the administration driving you nuts... a few of my friends do study there, but as most of the people I hanged out with in high school had at least a bit of ambition, most of them decided not to ruin their own lives - and for those who went there, wel... It's all about regrets and complaining. It's not specific to La Sorbonne though ; French universities are **** as they can't select their students and they have no money to invest in decent facilities.

I know how living in France can sound appealing, especially Paris which is indeed a great city to live in, but you would regret it, I swear. Stay in whatever country you live in right now, it must have a better higher education system. It kind of hurts to say this but... French universities are why I've decided to go in the UK, after two years of prépa (intensive and selective programme, still to avoid going to French uni) and people who want to do something with their lives are all flying away from here. Would be a huge mistake to go there.
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chinaberry
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Gosh, Stephane, it can't be that bad. A lot of my cousins are now going to uni (French ones). Most aren't going anywhere very well known, but a couple are doing their prep year and will eventually go to a grand ecole...I don't think those are so rubbish! Isn't it also true that lots of people get chucked out at the end of the 1st/2nd years...just to give people a chance?

OP- if you care about prestige, I wouldn't rely on the Sorbonne. It has gone down in terms of that kind of thing and most people, especially employers, know it.
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Stéphane
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(Original post by chinaberry)
Gosh, Stephane, it can't be that bad. A lot of my cousins are now going to uni (French ones). Most aren't going anywhere very well known, but a couple are doing their prep year and will eventually go to a grand ecole...I don't think those are so rubbish! Isn't it also true that lots of people get chucked out at the end of the 1st/2nd years...just to give people a chance?

OP- if you care about prestige, I wouldn't rely on the Sorbonne. It has gone down in terms of that kind of thing and most people, especially employers, know it.
Of course prep years are great, I'm in my second prep year (literary subjects)! :P But they have nothing to do with uni : they are highly competitive to get in and way more intensive and varied to be honest. Still, the UK widens one's perspectives, even compared to French Grandes Écoles... I mean in terms of career prospects, especially when you want to study history.
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(Original post by Stéphane)
Plus, the undergraduate studies take place in Tolbiac : ugly building, sad people, teachers that don't care about you understanding or not, constant blockades, the administration driving you nuts... a few of my friends do study there, but as most of the people I hanged out with in high school had at least a bit of ambition, most of them decided not to ruin their own lives - and for those who went there, wel... It's all about regrets and complaining.
Hahahaha! That's EXACTLY what I thought of the Tolbiac campus but didn't want to say it so plainly because it just sounded terribly rude. My college in India is practically paradise compared to that. I remember that in 2005, when they were protesting against that "easy-hire-easy-fire" proposed bill (forgot the actual name) in Tolbiac, all their exams got postponed for months altogether and it just sounds terrible. However, I believe the Assas campus of Paris II is quite good compared to all the other ones out together.

I've only heard good things about the grandes écoles though. They're higher in rankings too, I think.
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Stéphane
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(Original post by Scout-)
Hahahaha! That's EXACTLY what I thought of the Tolbiac campus but didn't want to say it so plainly because it just sounded terribly rude. My college in India is practically paradise compared to that. I remember that in 2005, when they were protesting against that "easy-hire-easy-fire" proposed bill (forgot the actual name) in Tolbiac, all their exams got postponed for months altogether and it just sounds terrible. However, I believe the Assas campus of Paris II is quite good compared to all the other ones out together.

I've only heard good things about the grandes écoles though. They're higher in rankings too, I think.
Yep, absolutely, but Assas is mainly about law I think. And it's a place where traditionalist catholics gather and share their ideas about kicking the immigrants out of France (of course I'm making too much of it, but this is not that far from the truth, most hard right leaders went there and it's not a coincidence). It's indeed a very good university for law though, and actually it's close to Grandes Écoles (it's very competitive to get in).

Meanwhile, there are only a few Grandes Écoles that can compete with good and very good international universities, among whom Sciences Po Paris is actually the best (it has partnerships with Harvard, Oxford and so on) : this is where 95% of French elites are formed, but I'm sceptical about the actual content of their teaching : they only teach you things that can be used in rhetorical debates, and never go in depth of their subject. This place is mainly about building networks and it's extremely cliquey. :mad: But one would surely meet some very interesting people there.

I'm ready to answer any questions about where and where not to go study in France.
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Nitebot
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(Original post by Scout-)
I was accepted there for History when I was considering doing my Bachelors degree abroad. It did not really seem difficult to get into. I had a very ordinary score of 73% in Grade 12 and I am pretty sure that my personal statement was not exceptional since I did not put much effort into the application. I recall that I did not have to submit any references either. Perhaps the fact that I was fluent in French helped me get in. I even visited it before I decided to turn the offer down, and although the Sorbonne campus is good, the undergraduate one at Tolbiac is quite average. I knew someone who studied Economics there and she wasn't too happy either. I think it may be very good for Masters though but I can't say that it can come as close to Oxbridge or UCL as far as competitiveness for admissions is concerned.
Hi there. I was just interested in how you became fluent in French whilst out in India? Is this common?
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(Original post by Stéphane)
Yep, absolutely, but Assas is mainly about law I think. And it's a place where traditionalist catholics gather and share their ideas about kicking the immigrants out of France (of course I'm making too much of it, but this is not that far from the truth, most hard right leaders went there and it's not a coincidence). It's indeed a very good university for law though, and actually it's close to Grandes Écoles (it's very competitive to get in).

Meanwhile, there are only a few Grandes Écoles that can compete with good and very good international universities, among whom Sciences Po Paris is actually the best (it has partnerships with Harvard, Oxford and so on) : this is where 95% of French elites are formed, but I'm sceptical about the actual content of their teaching : they only teach you things that can be used in rhetorical debates, and never go in depth of their subject. This place is mainly about building networks and it's extremely cliquey. :mad: But one would surely meet some very interesting people there.

I'm ready to answer any questions about where and where not to go study in France.
That's rather disappointing to hear about Sciences Po. I was seriously considering applying there for Masters until I learnt that they lay some stress upon past work experience (which I am sorely lacking in). Still, I suppose it would be an interesting place to be at just for the sheer experience of it.
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(Original post by Nitebot)
Hi there. I was just interested in how you became fluent in French whilst out in India? Is this common?
No, it is quite out of the ordinary, in fact. I got interested in languages (I speak five now) in school and began learning French at the local Alliance Française at the age of 13. I became fluent in about 3-4 years although I did not truly gain confidence in my spoken French until I visited Paris. Anyhoo, it's quite a fad to learn this language (at least in my city) during your college years but most people don't stick to it.
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(Original post by Scout-)
No, it is quite out of the ordinary, in fact. I got interested in languages (I speak five now) in school and began learning French at the local Alliance Française at the age of 13. I became fluent in about 3-4 years although I did not truly gain confidence in my spoken French until I visited Paris. Anyhoo, it's quite a fad to learn this language (at least in my city) during your college years but most people don't stick to it.
I see, very interesting. French firms trying to break into India ought to love you!! And vice versa of course!!
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Kalliope
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My Granny went there :grin:
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Stéphane
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(Original post by Scout-)
That's rather disappointing to hear about Sciences Po. I was seriously considering applying there for Masters until I learnt that they lay some stress upon past work experience (which I am sorely lacking in). Still, I suppose it would be an interesting place to be at just for the sheer experience of it.
You should still apply, if your studies went well enough (which means very very well) they're not going to be that picky about the fact that you haven't had any working experience (especially if you already speak 5 languages, gosh :eek: ). And I heard their masters are worth the go in terms of academic content. Actually I know a guy that who got in for Masters and he had never even had a summer job, he was "just" an excellent student, so go for it, if your application is solid enough academically (don't fear for being a little heavy on the 5 languages thing ) you should be fine.

P.S. : feel free to post on the TSR French Society if you want to, we like it when foreigners come to practise their french !
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xmarilynx
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(Original post by Romanorum-Hellas)
I've always wanted to study there because of its rich history, academic reputation and situation in the centre of Paris. I know that it is primarily an arts/humanities university and my current degree I am studying is History. If I got a 1st and managed to perfect my French, would applying there be as competitive as somewhere like, for example, Cambridge or UCL? I hear it is the best university in France and among the best in the world.
I applied to study Languages, Literature and Foreign Civilisations at undergraduate level last year and got offered a place, although I decided to go somewhere else in the end.

Given that that it has consistantly been rated in the top 20 QS World University Rankings in Arts & Humanities, I think it would be a great place to study history

In terms of your French, you need B2 to study at undergraduate level and C1 for a masters.

(Original post by Stéphane)
Don't ever go to study in France, seriously. Even La Sorbonne won't lead you anywhere... As mentioned on the above, it's very easy to get in (a French person only needs to get his or her baccalauréat with minimum marks, and they're good to go) and you will end up with some random people that aren't passionate about anything.

Plus, the undergraduate studies take place in Tolbiac : ugly building, sad people, teachers that don't care about you understanding or not, constant blockades, the administration driving you nuts... a few of my friends do study there, but as most of the people I hanged out with in high school had at least a bit of ambition, most of them decided not to ruin their own lives - and for those who went there, wel... It's all about regrets and complaining. It's not specific to La Sorbonne though ; French universities are **** as they can't select their students and they have no money to invest in decent facilities.
I assume the OP is applying for a masters since they are already doing their undergraduate degree. At masters level the History classes are taught at the university itself.

French universities are selective at masters level. For History at Paris IV, this involves a dossier and an entretien since places are limited (around 30 for each parcours).

(Original post by Stéphane)
I know how living in France can sound appealing, especially Paris which is indeed a great city to live in, but you would regret it, I swear. Stay in whatever country you live in right now, it must have a better higher education system. It kind of hurts to say this but... French universities are why I've decided to go in the UK, after two years of prépa (intensive and selective programme, still to avoid going to French uni) and people who want to do something with their lives are all flying away from here. Would be a huge mistake to go there.
While this is a gross exaggeration, it's true that the university is very disorganised which was the main reason why I chose not to study there (basically the stupid secretary binned my application thinking I didn't meet the requirements when I did, then they lost my application and THEN they told me about two weeks before the start of term that I had a place :rolleyes:). That said, I'm friends with several people studying there who are very happy with everything and I have yet to hear about any blockades in recent years.

Personally, I go to university in Paris and am very, very pleased with the teaching and facilities and have met lovely people
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Stéphane
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(Original post by xmarilynx)
I applied to study Languages, Literature and Foreign Civilisations at undergraduate level last year and got offered a place, although I decided to go somewhere else in the end.

Given that that it has consistantly been rated in the top 20 QS World University Rankings in Arts & Humanities, I think it would be a great place to study history

In terms of your French, you need B2 to study at undergraduate level and C1 for a masters.



I assume the OP is applying for a masters since they are already doing their undergraduate degree. At masters level the History classes are taught at the university itself.

French universities are selective at masters level. For History at Paris IV, this involves a dossier and an entretien since places are limited (around 30 for each parcours).



While this is a gross exaggeration, it's true that the university is very disorganised which was the main reason why I chose not to study there (basically the stupid secretary binned my application thinking I didn't meet the requirements when I did, then they lost my application and THEN they told me about two weeks before the start of term that I had a place :rolleyes:). That said, I'm friends with several people studying there who are very happy with everything and I have yet to hear about any blockades in recent years.

Personally, I go to university in Paris and am very, very pleased with the teaching and facilities and have met lovely people
"Gross" ? How is that for an exaggeration ? :rolleyes:

Masters are probably (way) better academically, and take place in a nicer location of course. Didn't notice the undergrad part in OP's post, my mistake. But I wouldn't take back a single word from what I wrote about Tolbiac, if anyone considering going to France before masters was to ever see this post...
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Romanorum-Hellas
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Thank you all for your advice; it was most helpful. I'm studying French for a month in Paris during April Can't wait, but I hear it's an awfully expensive city to live in! Luckily I managed to organise a stay with a host family which worked out much cheaper than staying in hostels. I might be going to somewhere near Alsace-Lorraine at the end of August, too. A French exchange student from there came to London for a few weeks last summer and he liked me so much that he insisted I visit him (for free) and be shown his 'beautiful' town.
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Stéphane
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(Original post by Romanorum-Hellas)
Thank you all for your advice; it was most helpful. I'm studying French for a month in Paris during April Can't wait, but I hear it's an awfully expensive city to live in! Luckily I managed to organise a stay with a host family which worked out much cheaper than staying in hostels. I might be going to somewhere near Alsace-Lorraine at the end of August, too. A French exchange student from there came to London for a few weeks last summer and he liked me so much that he insisted I visit him (for free) and be shown his 'beautiful' town.
Is this town Colmar, Strasbourg or Nancy by any chance ? The three of those are beautiful places to visit anyway, Strasbourg and Colmar are a hundred percent German-like as one could expect.

Enjoy your time there, and in Paris ! You'll never be the same
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Romanorum-Hellas
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(Original post by Stéphane)
Is this town Colmar, Strasbourg or Nancy by any chance ? The three of those are beautiful places to visit anyway, Strasbourg and Colmar are a hundred percent German-like as one could expect.

Enjoy your time there, and in Paris ! You'll never be the same
I believe it is Strasbourg

Ah, did France change you?
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