School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences

School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences
École des hautes études en sciences sociales
Former names
École pratique des hautes études, VI Section (1947–1975),
École libre des hautes études (1941-1946)
Type Public
Established January 23, 1975
Budget €60 million[1]
President Pierre-Cyrille Hautcoeur
Academic staff
Administrative staff
Students 3000[1]
Location Paris, Marseille, Toulouse, Lyon, France
Campus Urban
Affiliations Paris Sciences et Lettres (PSL University)

The School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences (French: École des hautes études en sciences sociales, EHESS) is a French institution for research and higher education in the social sciences , understood in a very large sense: Economics with Paris School of Economics and Toulouse School of Economics, Finance, Cognitive Sciences, Humanities, Political Sciences, Applied Mathematics, International Relations, Anthropology, History, Philosophy, and Law.

The school is part of PSL Research University, alongside the Collège de France, the École Normale Supérieure, the École des Mines, and several other parisian grand écoles. It is a founding member of both Paris School of Economics, Toulouse School of Economics and Aix Marseille School of Economics, the three French leading centers in Quantitative Economics. As a Grand établissement, its administrative status allows its student selection process to be selective.

EHESS has educated for decades researchers in the Social Sciences, and some of its professors (known as "directeurs d'études") have achieved international recognition: from economics as Thomas Piketty and Nobel Prize Jean Tirole, historians such as Braudel or Febvre and anthropologists such as Levi-Strauss through Bourdieu, Derrida.

As a world leading institution in research and applied research EHESS has exchange programs with world leading universities such as Berkeley, Cambridge, Charles, Columbia, Humboldt, Kyoto, Lomonossov, Michigan, Oxford, Tokyo, the European Institute in Florence, etc. Also, there are many relations and exchange programs with top universities in Asia and Middle-East as there are world-renowned research centers on Asian Studies and Islamic Studies in EHESS.


Originally part of the École pratique des hautes études (EPHE) as its VI Section: Sciences économiques et sociales, the EHESS gained autonomy as an independent higher education institution on 23 January 1975. The creation of a dedicated branch for social science research within the EPHE found its origin in the Annales historical school and was supported by several initiatives of the Rockefeller Foundation dating back to the 1920s. After World War II, the Rockefeller Foundation invested more funds, in the aims of favorizing non-Marxist sociological studies.

Thus, the VIth section was created in 1947, and Lucien Febvre took its head. Soon after its creation (1947), the VI Section, later EHESS, became one of the most influential shapers of contemporary historiography, area studies and social sciences methodology, thanks to the contribution of eminent scholars such as Fernand Braudel, Jacques Le Goff or François Furet. F. Braudel succeeded in 1956 to L. Febvre and concentrated the various study groups at its well-known emplacement on boulevard Raspail, in part by a financing from the Ford Foundation.

Today, the EHESS is one of France's prestigious Grands établissements. It functions as a research, teaching, and degree-granting institution. It offers advanced students high-level programs intended to lead to research careers. Students are admitted on the relevance of their research project and undertake at the EHESS master programs and doctoral studies. The main areas of specialization include: history, literary theory, linguistics, philosophy, philology, sociology, anthropology, economics, cognitive science, demographics, geography, archaeology, psychology, law, and mathematics, although the institution's focus is on interdisciplinary research within these fields. The EHESS currently hosts more than 80 research centers (among which several joint research units with the CNRS) and 22 doctoral programs, 13 of which in partnership with other French Universities and Grandes écoles.



The ratio of researcher for students is quite unique in the education system. Besides, EHESS is a very small institution with 4 times less students than in Science-Po, 11 times less students than in Université Paris Nanterre and 3 times less than in Université Dauphine.


More than 50% of the students' body comes from an other country than France.

Exemples of subjects that can be studies in EHESS


Influence from the Annales School

Lucien Febvre and Fernand Braudel were members of the École des Annales, the dominant school of historical analysis in France during the interwar period. However, this school of thought was contested by the growing importance of the social sciences and the beginning of structuralism. Under pressure from Claude Lévi-Strauss, in particular, they integrated new contributions from the fields of sociology and ethnography to event-based historical analysis, a concept put forward the Annales school, to advocate for the concept of "a nearly imperceptible passage of history". They were reproached, along with the structuralists, for ignoring politics and the individual's influence over his fate during a period in which the colonial wars of emancipation were taking place.

The work of Braudel, Le Roy Ladurie and other historians working under their influence greatly affected the research and official teaching of history in France beginning in the 1960s. The work of Jean-Marie Pesez renewed interest in the issue of methodology in medieval archeology and created the idea of "material culture".

New History

During the 1970s, EHESS became the center of New History under the influence of Jacques Le Goff and Pierre Nora. During this period, a generation of ethnologists working under the ideas of Georges Balandier and Marc Augé were critical of the French colonial tradition and applied modern sociological concepts to third world countries.


Pierre Bourdieu, Luc Boltanski, Alain Touraine, Jean-Claude Passeron have all been associated with EHESS.


EHESS has always been a central place for economic debate in Europe. In France this debate is also permitted by the proximity of the researchers with economic institution: In this sense EHESS has had among its Professor in Economy State advisors with a large media audience (like it was the case for example for Jean Fourastié). The diversity of viewpoints has been a priority and even liberal and Marxist economists have had the chance to debate in EHESS. Since the 1970s and 1980s EHESS has focused on quantitative economics with famous Professors as Louis-André Gérard-Varet, Jean-Jacques Laffont, François Bourguignon and Roger Guesnerie, who initiated not only Paris School of Economics but Toulouse School of Economics and Grequam (Aix-Marseille)


Past and present faculty (including EPHE's VI Section):

Research centers

Among the research institutes and teams hosted at EHESS:

See also


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Coordinates: 48°51′0.86″N 2°19′36.33″E / 48.8502389°N 2.3267583°E / 48.8502389; 2.3267583

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