Bachelor student in lab ecole polytechnique

About the Double Major

For their second and third years, students choose between three double majors. The students who choose the double major in Mathematics and Physics are taken on a journey through the concepts that have shaped our modern vision of the world.

What is matter made of? What is the nature of light? What is the fabric of space and time? Not only do they get answers to these questions, but they also get a hands-on approach to these concepts in École Polytechnique’s laboratories.

Thanks to a close coordination with the Mathematics course, students are able to immediately apply their freshly acquired mathematical skills to Physics. The most powerful concept here is «linearity» which is central to both disciplines.

In the first year, all students are familiarized with the basic concepts of modern physics, learn to master the tools to describe most phenomena of classical physics, and acquire the two principal skills of experimental sciences: measuring and modeling.

Second and Third Year

  • The course "Introduction to Modern Physics" introduces the mathematical description of the basic phenomena of the movement of matter exposed to forces (Mechanics and Relativity), of the behavior of light and radiation (Optics), the laws of electricity and magnetism, the nature of heat energy (Thermodynamics), and the structure of matter.
  • Tutorial sessions in small classes: Application of the students’ knowledge to solve concrete problem sets and sharpen their critical thinking.
  • Advanced Lab Sessions: students actively discover the experimental approach to Physics, and acquire basic skills of scientific practice.
  • Applications of Mathematics in Physics and Mechanics: advanced mathematical tools for physics and other experimental sciences are taught in a dedicated course.

During the third year, students have to do a Bachelor Thesis, carried out in the form of a research project.

Bachelor students talking in hall

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Optional Minors

As part of their curriculum, students following this double major have the opportunity, if they wish, to study a minor in Biology or Chemistry.

The Biology option offers the opportunity to add a strong corpus of knowledge in modern biology, paving the way to careers in bioengineering or biotechnology. During the two years of major, students will follow courses on Molecular Biology, Cellular Biology and its integration at the organism level, Genomics. The Biology option is built around experimentation. Half of classes consist in practical work, performed over weeks. This allows students to build their knowledge, acquire a sound scientific reasoning, and get familiar with the main techniques of modern biology.

The Chemistry option allows students to develop the tools to analyze a chemical transformation. This interactive course explores these topics through lectures, tutorials and labs sessions.


Find out more about this double-major in our webinars and register to the upcoming webinars