Polytechnique is considered to be one of the most selective and prestigious French Grandes écoles, and is renowned for its four-year undergraduate-postgraduate « Ingénieur Polytechnicien » degree in science and engineering. Known for its extremely competitive entrance examination, students are usually admitted after two years of highly selective university-level preparation in mathematics and physics. In addition to the 2,000 polytechnic engineer students, the institution welcomes about 439 master students and 572 doctoral students, for a total enrollment of 2,900.
Polytechnique was established in 1794 by the mathematician Gaspard Monge during the French Revolution, and became a military academy under Napoleon I in 1804. Today, the institution still runs under the supervision of the French ministry of Defence. Initially located in the Latin Quarter of central Paris, the establishment was moved in 1976 to Palaiseau on the Saclay Plateau, southwest of Paris.
Polytechnique is a founding member of ParisTech, a grouping of leading Paris-area engineering colleges established in 2007. Since 1995, Polytechnique has admitted a significant number of international applicants to its polytechnic engineer program, and 20% of each cohort are foreign students. Polytechnique is ranked among the best universities in the world. Among its alumni are two Nobel prizes winners, one Fields Medal, three Presidents of France and many CEOs of French and international companies.