Preparatory cycle

Almost all the chemistry schools in the Federation Gay-Lussac (FGL) offer a route of entry via the CPI "classes préparatoires intégrées ". These classes, which have existed for more than 15 years in the cities of Rennes and Lille, present a study programme which is much more oriented towards chemistry. In September 2008, a new class opened in Clermont-Ferrand to offer this specific recruitment option. In 2010 a forth class opened in Strasbourg. Access to these classes also relies on as dossier containing the high school grades, etc. and an interview on the motivation of the candidates.
The International Integrated Preparatory cycle : CHEM.I.ST

The Integrated classes préparatoires (CPI) and the International Integrated Preparatory cycle CHEM.I.ST (CHEMistry International STudy) are for students who have obtained their scientific baccalaureate, and who are motivated by the jobs in chemistry and want to obtain an engineering diploma in Chemistry or Chemical Engineering.

These CPIs of the FGL are organized jointly by the ENSIC (“Écoles Nationales Supérieures d’ingénieurs de Chimie”) of Lille, Rennes, Clermont-Ferrand and Strasbourg. Lille and Rennes have had the CPI for 15 years. Rennes opened a CHEM.I.ST Cycle for the new academic year in 2002, Lille in 2003, Clermont-Ferrand since 2008 and Strasbourg since 2010.

Why choose a CPI?

The CPI of the Federation Gay-Lussac (FGL) offers you :

  • An engineering diploma in 5 years : 2 years in one of the four Centers (Lille , Rennes, Clermont-Ferrand or Strasbourg) and 3 years in one of the 19 Schools of the FGL, entered without a competitive exam, only on continuous assessment,
  • An excellent preparation for entry to the chemistry and chemical engineering schools where the education relies on all of the following: personal, group and supervised work,
  • An opening to the world by the practice of two foreign languages and also non-scientific disciplines, plus a certain mobility which is strongly encouraged,
  • A spring-board to industrial sectors looking for the competences of an Engineer in Chemistry or Chemical Engineering,
  • A multicultural education through international classes.

The recruitment

The recruitment is made by selection by dossier on the basis of the results obtained in the last two years of high school, in physical sciences, mathematics and first foreign language. The grades of the French part of the baccalaureate are also taken into account. The candidates who are selected are called for interview* during which their motivations for a career as an engineer in chemistry or chemical engineering are discussed.

To be a candidate for the Preparatory Cycles, it is imperative that you sign up on the website (inscriptions from January to March).
It is the candidate’s responsibility to find out about all the information given and to respect the procedure described.

The students who wish to apply to Lille, Rennes, Clermont-Ferrand and Strasbourg at the same time must send a dossier to each of the Centers.

* The candidates common to each Centre are called to just one interview by the Centre who contacts them.

The studies

The courses (in each of the two years of the CPI) run from September to June. The weekly workload is about 30 hours which is divided into 2/3 of scientific courses and 1/3 of non-scientific courses.

A solid scientific base

The scientific level required is that of the CPGE (PC) (Classes Préparatoires to the Grandes Ecoles, Physics-Chemistry domain)
  • Chemistry - Physics
  • Varied chemistry courses are offered based on significant experimental work: a balance between the theory, tutorials and practical work enabling the student to go deeper into the subject and apply it.
  • Physics - Mathematics - Computing
  • A theoretical teaching adapted to the requirements of engineering studies. Acquisition of the basic tools in computing.

Studies to prepare for an international future and social sciences courses

  • 2 obligatory foreign languages :
  • English, German or Spanish for all the sites. In addition, according to the center, the possibility to study another language such as Italian, Chinese…
  • According to the CPI center, lessons in general culture, communication, ethics, economics, and on the industrial internship are offered. In the CHEM.I.ST cycle, the social science courses include lessons on being open to international, geopolitical and geo-economy aspects as well as communication skills.

The evaluation of the students is based uniquely of continuous assessment. The right to go from first to second year, and later to enter an engineering cycle, is given by a jury. It is not possible to repeat a year.

At the end of the 2nd year of CPI, the distribution of the successful students to the FGL schools is done by a jury composed of the directors of these schools. The assignment depends on the number of places offered by each school*, on the final ranking of the student with respect to their peers of all centers and on the Center preference list given by each student.

* The total number of places in the Schools of public status is at least equal to the number of students admitted into the engineering cycle.

Student’s Remarks

"The CPI was for me the discovery of student life of a future engineer. This represented an advantage compared to the classical « classes préparatoires”, etc. Nevertheless, I did feel that there was an enormous difference with the high school as much in terms of the level of personal investment as the number of hours spent in the understanding and assimilation of the different subjects. The CPI also enabled me to specialize in the different chemistry domains, as much through the lectures as in practical work. I met amazing people who, because of a certain solidarity within the year, enabled me to live and work in a much more agreeable way."
Mickaël –CPI

"For me, going from my final year of high school to the first year in CPI was an enormous leap. However, it also represented a very complete and very interesting scientific education in the sense that I deepened my chemistry knowledge, notably with the practical work. To be in a year with 55 students also created a good atmosphere and with this small number it was easy to develop affinities with many persons."
Hélène - CPI/1

"A very trying experience which requires total commitment and personal investment but it was also very enriching as much from a point of view of knowledge gained as autonomy. All in all, an initial year of study which is worth the effort."
Aude - CPI/1

Contacts and complementary information


Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Chimie - Service des Admissions
BP 90108 - 59652 VILLENEUVE d'ASCQ cedex
Website : 
Information : 03 20 43 41 24 - [Email]


Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Chimie - Service des Admissions
Avenue du Général Leclerc - CS 50837
35708 Rennes cedex 7
Website :
Information : 02 23 23 80 39 - [Email]


Ecole Nationale Suprieure de Chimie de Clermond-Ferrand
Ensemble Scientifique des Cézeaux 24, avenue des Landais
BP 187 F63174 Aubière Cedex France
Tl. : +33 (0)4 73 40 50 83 Fax : +33-(0)4 73 40 70 95
Website :
Information : [Email]


Ecole Européenne de Chimie Polymères et Matériaux 

Service de la Scolarité / CHEM.I.ST
25, rue Becquerel,
67087 Strasbourg Cedex 2 France
Website :

Information : Céline Ludwig, +33 (0)3 68 85 26 05- [Email]


Fédération Gay-Lussac

Maison de la Chimie - 28 rue Saint-Dominique
75007 PARIS -
Tél : 06 07 91 31 26
Information : contact