University of Rennes 2 – Upper Brittany

University of Rennes 2
Université Rennes 2
Type Public
Established 1969
Endowment €106,000,000
President Jean-Emile Gombert
Academic staff
Administrative staff
Students 21,445
Undergraduates 14,145
Postgraduates 5,183
Location Rennes, Brittany, France
Campus Urban

The University of Rennes 2 (Université Rennes 2, UR2) is a French university in Upper Brittany, one of four[1] in the Academy of Rennes. The main campus is situated in the northwest section of Rennes in the Villejean neighborhood not far from the other campus, located at La Harpe.


Creation of the University of Brittany

Asked by Francis II, Duke of Brittany, the Pope created the first university of Brittany in Nantes in 1460. It taught arts, medicine, law, and theology. In 1728, the mayor of Nantes, Gérard Mellier, asked that the university be moved to Rennes, Nantes being more trade oriented. The Law school was thus moved to Rennes in 1730. This city already had the Parliament of Brittany, so it was more suited to have this school. In 1793 the national government closed all universities in France. It was not before 1806 that the Law school reopened in Rennes.

Development of the faculties in Rennes

Former Palais Universitaire of the University of Rennes, currently Municipal Museum of Fine Arts

In 1808, Napoleon I reorganized the universities in France, creating the University of France. From the 2 original cities housing the University of Brittany, only Rennes was included in this University. Nantes had to wait until 1970 to have its university again. In 1810 a faculty of letters opened, which gathered in 1835 five schools (French literature, foreign literature, antic literature, history, and philosophy). The science faculty opened still in Rennes in 1840. Those 3 faculties remained without clear boundaries between them until 1885 with the creation of a "Conseil des facultés" which took in 1896 the name of University of Rennes. In the middle of the 19th century, they were gathered in the Palais Universitaire, located currently in the Quai Émile Zola, but were then scattered downtown. The Faculty of Letters was thus relocated in 1909 to the Séminaire, located currently in the Place Hoche.

Creation of the University of Rennes 2

inside the campus, view on the ALC and Human Sciences buildings

In 1967, the Villejean campus opened, dedicated to Arts, Letters, and Human Sciences.

In 1969, in order to enforce the growth of French universities, a law was passed, splitting the University of Rennes into two new entities. This new university took the name of 'University of Upper Brittany'. The Villejean neighborhood was then still in development, building housing facilities for students, along with other university facilities.

In the east of the city, Beaulieu includes sciences and philosophy. In the west, Villejean includes Schools of Foreign Languages, Arts, Human Sciences and Social Sciences. Rennes I University's School of Medicine, is located on the edge of Villejean campus, but also on Brittany's largest hospital center, Pontchaillou.

Since March 2002, Villejean campus can be reached with the VAL subway, via the station 'Villejean-Université', making the university only 5 minutes away from the inner city.

The two universities are currently working on their unification. If this project were to be accomplished, the brand new university, with its 40,000 students, would be one of the largest in France.

List of former presidents

List of the university' presidents
year name
since January 2006 Marc Gontard
2001–2006 François Mouret
1996–2001 Jean Brihault
1991–1996 André Lespagnol
1986–1991 Jean Mounier
1982–1986 Jean François Botrel
1976–1980 Michel Denis

Academic programs

Entrance to the département of foreign languages

The University is structured around 5 UFRs, or Units of teaching and research. This organization based on UFR is common to all public universities in France.

Campus life

The EREVE building houses most unions as well as the book shop, information desk, banking and health services, and dining locations

Student organizations

With its 50 or so student circles, Rennes 2 University has the highest rate of organizations per student among French universities. There is a radio station, Radio Campus Rennes, for which the EREVE was built in 2005. Most of the organizations are located throughout different buildings on campus.


Different festivals are organized by the students, some of them were large enough to enlarge their fields to the city itself. Among them:




The University of Rennes 2 in fiction

In the film Brocéliande (2003) by Doug Headline, the story is set on campus, even if the only recognizable element is the 2001-2002 orange student ID card.

See also


  1. The two others are: UBO (Brest), Western Brittany, and UBS in Lorient - see: Académie de Rennes

Coordinates: 48°07′08″N 1°42′11″W / 48.119°N 1.703°W / 48.119; -1.703

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