When entering the Ingénieur Polytechnicien Program, French nationals acquire the status of military officers.
International students remain civilians throughout the program.
Following an induction week at École Polytechnique in September, the personal development and military training course takes place for three weeks at the Courtine camp (Creuse, France). During this period, students learn the basics of military and command training, and develop the year group's esprit de corps through the active teaching skills of the Armed Forces.
This training addresses the notions of command, leadership and interpersonal skills taught in the management internships. Students acquire military management skills, which will be essential in their future jobs as supervisors or managers, i.e. identifying the challenges leaders meet, taking a step back and anticipating.
These methods have several educational objectives.
Develop a sense of collective interest: The initial military training course teaches students how to work as a team. The aim is to demonstrate that the strength of the group enables you to go further. Each person's role within the group is also made visible, as students work towards a common goal, in order to give work meaning and encourage commitment. They also learn command techniques through small group management role-plays.
Act in a crisis: Students become accustomed to thinking and making decisions under stressful physical or mental conditions. The military method for managing crises consists of sharing information before acting: learning how to ask the right questions, anticipate scenarios and gather expert opinions beforehand. Another technique used and taught to students is to deal with only one objective at a time rather than spreading themselves too thin.
Sports and physical activities: École Polytechnique's initial military training aims to make students aware of their own abilities. They discover their physical and mental limits and strive to exceed them. This helps to develop willpower and a fighting spirit. Numerous activities such as obstacle courses, climbing and orienteering are offered during the course.
Stress management: Students learn how to manage their psychological stress by having to overcome obstacles in their daily lives. They therefore learn to face difficulties and potential failure by using their qualities and managing their weaknesses.
During the Courtine camp, time is dedicated to preparing for the first-year human and military training. Talks organized during the stay present the panel of possible affectations in civil and military posts offered to students. This time allows students to make sure the training they choose is suited to their personality and corresponds to their expectations.
The human and military training is compulsory for all first year students for a period of six months, in either the armed forces or a civilian organization. Students have the option of completing their period abroad, in an international military or civilian organization. This is a valuable opportunity for them to discover another country and culture.
During this unique training, which has no equivalent in other engineering schools, each student learns the importance of the human factor in the world of work and develops their interpersonal skills within the group.
An integral part of the academic training provided at École Polytechnique, this affectation is an experience designed to increase students' maturity by moving them away geographically, sociologically and intellectually from the world of classes préparatoires and university.
This practical field-based civic commitment is graded and promoted in the Ingénieur Polytechnicien curriculum. During this experience, each student offers their time and skills in return for a very high level of community investment for their training.
This period aims to promote open-mindedness and enhance knowledge of social realities among students who will in the future be entrusted with engineers' and managers' responsibilities. Students develop their interpersonal skills by discovering new social or cultural environments.
Three quarters of students complete their period at the Ministry of Defense.
The Armed Forces
Training at the Brigade des Sapeurs-Pompiers de Paris (Paris Fire Brigade) in a fire fighter incident command capacity. Training in the Unité d’Instruction et d’Intervention de la Sécurité Civile n°1 (Civil Protection Instruction and Intervention Unit) which deals with large-scale incidents (earthquakes, nuclear plant explosions, storms). Training within the adapted overseas military service, in a supervisory role to young people completing a vocational apprenticeship.
The Air Force
Training at the Escadron de Formation des Commandos de l’Air (Air Commando Training Squadron) as an assistant to the head of a training division.
Training in the Marine Commandos at the Electronic Warfare Unit supporting troops operating on and under the sea, on land and in the air during their exercises. Onboard periods as an assistant deck watch officer.
The National Gendarmerie
Training at the Compagnie de Gendarmerie des Transports Aériens de Toulouse (Toulouse Air Transport Gendarmerie Company) monitoring the rolling out of investigations following air incidents and the construction of the first Airbus A350 prototypes.
The Délégation Générale pour l’Armement (French defense procurement agency)
Training at the Centre d’Analyse Technico-opérationnelle de Défense (Defense technical-operational analysis center) to take part in Franco-British expeditionary force deployment meetings.
A quarter of students complete their period in a civilian organization.
- An introductory training to the teaching profession within the Fondation d’Auteuil in Paris which supports young people with family or social problems.
- Training in general education public schools in Cotonou in Benin, having the task of preparing the best students for the baccalauréat and higher education.
- Training at the Fleury-Mérogis Prison giving lessons to detainees.
- Training within the association "L’enfant à l’hôpital" supporting hospitalized or disabled children, adolescents and young adults throughout the whole of France.
- Training at the Fédération Etudiante pour une Dynamique Etudes et Emploi avec un Handicap carrying out awareness-raising actions in schools and colleges for better integration of disabled young people.
- Training at the ATD Fourth World's center for family, social and cultural promotion in Noisy-le-Grand, supporting families that have been taken in with settlement or rehousing assistance.
Scientific Multidisciplinary Program
In April, after completing their Human and Military training, the students arrive on campus. From April to July, they take classes in scientific subjects that make up the Scientific Multidisciplinary Program, supplemented with foreign languages, scientific lectures and laboratories visits, as well as a communications seminars and sports.
The first year consists of the Scientific Multidisciplinary Program, with courses in the following subjects: Economics, Computer Science, Pure Mathematics (real and complex analysis), Applied Mathematics (randomness), and Physics (quantum mechanics).