Civil ingineering degree : the first year

For Mines Paris – PSL, training in 21st century engineering means preparing its graduates to become key players in sustainable, social and human development and to become entrepreneurs of digital transformation, both in France and internationally.


Science & discovery

Acquisition of scientific fundamentals and openness to general engineering

The first year of the Civil Engineering curriculum offers fundamental scientific training, as well as an introduction to the multi-disciplinary fields of general engineering.

It also enables students to get familiar with new ways of working and new disciplines, to discover project-based teaching, to develop a sense of active observation and to take advantage of the wide offer of language courses at Mines Paris-PSL

The pedagogical progression of the two semesters of the first year meets a dual objective:

  • To provide the scientific foundations, mainly in mathematics, physics and computer science, which form a solid scientific base for understanding the various engineering science disciplines in the short term, and for acquiring real-world modeling skills in the long term.
  • Introduce people to new disciplines, in particular the economic and social sciences, so that they can grasp a problem in its various dimensions (scientific, technical, economic, environmental and human) and identify the factors of complexity.

The new pedagogical model introduced in 2019 was an opportunity for Mines Paris-PSL professors to reaffirm the main thrusts of their teaching, among which :


The 1st semester (30 ECT)

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Example 1

TU 14 : Earth and society / Energy and climate change – Jean-Marc Jancovici

The Earth & Society TU goes back to the roots of the Mines Paris by offering courses in geology and energy. The Energy & Climate Change course, taught by Jean-Marc Jancovici, provides an introduction to a key theme right from the start of the first year.

As part of TU 14, students are required to carry out a group project drawing on the knowledge and experience acquired in the three courses making up this TU: Energy and Climate Change, Geosciences and the Anthropocene, and Socio-political and Environmental Issues.

At the end of the project, students produce posters summarizing their research on a specific issue.

Example 2

TU 15 : General engineering professions (MIG)

As part of our training programs, and in line with our aim of raising awareness of major industrial issues and, more broadly, of the problems facing our society in terms of research and development, we organize a course for our 1st year civil engineering students entitled “Métiers de l’ingénieur généraliste” (“General engineering professions”).

Over a 3-week period, students visit cutting-edge technology sites and hear from experts at the heart of the industrial world, culminating in the completion of a project in teams of 15 at one of the Mines Paris-PLS research centers and in a company.




The second semester (30 ECTS)

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Example 3

TU 27 Art & Sciences

The Civil Engineering curriculum has been open to the world of the arts for many years (for example, weeks of courses on music or color), but historically this has taken the form of elective or optional courses. In 2020, an oral communication unit organized by drama teachers was added to the first-year core curriculum.

Another module entitled Arts & Sciences consists of lectures on the themes of music, graphic arts and street art, and a day of practical work enabling students to discover in a hands-on way how the arts and sciences can be intertwined.


One group of students took a (virtual) tour of the Institute for Research and Coordination in Acoustics/Music (IRCAM), discovering how artificial intelligence has been used in musical research in recent years. A second group worked in partnership with the School’s Mineralogy Museum on the theme of mineral figuration. Finally, a third group discovered the world of street art, and the digital applications that can be associated with it, with the example of FlashInvader and advanced image recognition methods.




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    PSL, our university