Panthéon-Assas University (French: Université Panthéon-Assas [ynivɛʁsite pɑ̃teɔ̃ asas], commonly referred to as "Assas" [asas] or "Paris II" [paʁi dø]), is a public university in Paris, France. It was established as a successor to the faculty of law and economics of the University of Paris (La Sorbonne) when the latter was divided into thirteen autonomous universities following the events of May 1968. It is a member of the alliance Sorbonne University.
Panthéon-Assas University has always been ranked first in law in national rankings and calls itself "the top faculty of law in France". Since its founding, it has produced two presidents like the current French President François Hollande, four prime ministers and the holders of thirty-seven other ministerships in France and around the world. Forty alumni of the university have been members of various parliaments as well. Faculty members of Panthéon-Assas have included eminent jurists and politicians.
The majority of the nineteen campuses of Panthéon-Assas are located in the Latin Quarter, with the main campus on place du Panthéon. The university is composed of four departments specializing in law, economics, public and private management, and political science, and hosts twenty-four research centres and five specialized doctoral schools. Every year, the university enrolls approximately 18,000 students, including 3,000 international students.
Panthéon-Assas was established so as to take over from the faculty of law and economics of the University of Paris (Sorbonne University), which had been founded in the middle of the 12th century, and which officially ceased to exist on December 31, 1970, following the student protests of 1969. Clinging to the cultural legacy of the University of Paris, and considering that their faculty already gathered professors from other disciplines (political economics and political science) than their own, most of the law professors of the faculty of law and economics wished only to restructure their faculty into a university, so they founded the "University of law, economics and social sciences of Paris" or "Paris II".
The name of the university was changed in 1990 to "Panthéon-Assas (Paris II)" and in 1998 to "Panthéon-Assas" only, in reference to the main addresses of the pre-1968 faculty of law, which are now part of the university; namely, the buildings on place du Panthéon and rue d'Assas.
It is now an associate member of the Sorbonne University alliance.
Panthéon-Assas is governed by an administration council, a scientific council, and a council for studies and university life. Members of these boards serve terms of two years. 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.
Departments and research centres
The university houses five academic departments: one for private law and criminal sciences, one for public law and political science, one for Roman law and history of law, one for economics and management, and one for journalism and communication (administered by the French Press Institute, which was incorporated to Paris II in 1969 serving as the latter's department for communication and journalism studies). 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.
In July 2012, Panthéon-Assas was the first university in France to open preparatory classes for the bar school entrance examination. In 2013, the university set up a distance learning degree in law.
The university has eighteen campuses in Paris and one in 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 and third-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 vastest in France, with 1,700 seats; several concerts have been held in it, featuring Herbert von Karajan, Leonard Bernstein, Georg Solti, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Martha Argerich, Gundula Janowitz, Christa Ludwig, Alfred Brendel, Arthur Rubinstein, Seiji Ozawa, Carlo Maria Giulini, or Samson François, among others. The scene at the Cairo airport from OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies was filmed in its entrance hall.
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 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.
In 2013, about €1.3 million from the annual budget of Pantheon-Assas were dedicated to research.
Journals and publications
Panthéon-Assas hosts a faculty-led publication, La Revue de droit d'Assas (abbreviated as "RDA"), which covers legal topics and includes contributions from students. The journal has been issued since January 2010, at the start of each semester. The university's publishing house, Éditions Panthéon-Assas, was established in 1998 and has produced one hundred and nineteen works as of September 2013.
Joint academic programs
Panthéon-Assas offers several joint undergraduate and graduate programs with other French universities and institutions such as INSEAD, Panthéon-Sorbonne University, Paris-Sorbonne University, Pierre-and-Marie-Curie University, Paris-Dauphine University, ESSEC Business School, HEC Paris, or École Nationale Supérieure des Mines de Paris. The university offers international joint programs as well. In 2013, Panthéon-Assas and Yale Law School organised a summer school in law and economics.
Programs for "excellence"
Officially not allowed by the Law to choose its students for its undergraduate degree like all universities in France, Panthéon-Assas developed a number of internal degrees in addition to the global undergraduate degree, like the College of Law and the Paris Law School. A lot of universities followed its steps.
Panthéon-Assas University has always been ranked first in law in national rankings but is not internationally well known by the public. In the 2015/16 QS World University Rankings, the University was globally ranked 601st-650th (26th of France) and 101st-150th in law (3rd in France).
Assas' masters law programs have the global best ranking from France by Eduniversal. 6 specialities have been studied and 11 of Assas master's degree have been in the top 10 (or top 5) of those speciality in 2015 (55 master's degree ranked). They were ranked as follow:
- General Business Law: 1st, 2nd, 4th and 5th
- European and International Business Law: 1st and 9th
- Business Law and Management: 1st
- Tax law: 1st
- Social Law: 1st and 6th
- Digital Law : 3rd
Its best-ranked master's degree is ranked 4th of Europe by Eduniversal.
Most of the students admitted at the French National School for the Judiciary come from Panthéon-Assas, more than 40% en 2011 (people who went to Assas Faculty of Law and then passed the exam from elsewhere not included).
Assas graduates have by far the most salary of all French law schools.
Economics and business
Assas undergraduate program has been ranked seven in 2015 by Eduniversal.
Assas is, behind Paris-Dauphine University, the second best-ranked university for its master's degrees in business fields, with 20 ranked masters in 2011 (law included) in Eduniversal ranking, notably with these ranks:
- International business: 1st
- Decisional computing: 2nd
- Finance and banking: 3rd
Alumni of Panthéon-Assas
Alumni of Panthéon-Assas have held important positions in the French political sphere; 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. The current presidents of Greece and of the Central African Republic are also alumni of the university. In the judiciary field, alumni of Panthéon-Assas have included two former chairmen of the International Law Commission, the current chairman of the International Arbitration Institute, a former president of the Greek Council of State, a chief justice of Brazil, a judge of the Constitutional Court of Italy and a former vice-president of the International Court of Justice.
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 four 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.
The presidents of Panthéon-Assas University
To this day, Panthéon-Assas has been governed by nine 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. These various presidents have 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. Guillaume Leyte was elected president of the university on June 20, 2012.