Paul Cézanne University

Paul Cézanne University
Aix-Marseille III
Université Paul Cézanne
Aix-Marseille III
Active9 December 1409 (9 December 1409)–1 January 2012 (1 January 2012)
Endowment100 million
PresidentMarc Pena
Academic staff
Administrative staff
AffiliationsAix-Marseille University, Mediterranean Universities Union (UNIMED), Association of MBAs (AMBA), European University Association (EUA), European Quality Improvement System (EQUIS) (in French)

Paul Cézanne University (also referred to as Paul Cézanne University Aix-Marseille III; French: Université Paul Cézanne Aix-Marseille III) was a public research university based in the heart of Provence (south east of France), in both Aix-en-Provence and Marseille. It was one of the three Universities of Aix-Marseille and was part of the Academy of Aix and Marseille. Its weight was considerable in the French university landscape. The university bore the name of Paul Cézanne, a prominent French artist and Post-Impressionist painter, who attended its law school from 1858 to 1861.

The university was founded on 9 December 1409 as a studium generale by Louis II of Anjou, Count of Provence, and subsequently recognized by papal bull issued by Pope Alexander V. It enrolled 22,500 students, including more than 3,000 international students from 128 different countries. It was a multidisciplinary university offering a range of more than 210 national diploma programmes and 150 university degrees in the humanities, law, political science, economics, management, environmental studies, and science and technology.

On 1 January 2012 it merged with the University of Provence and the University of the Mediterranean to become Aix-Marseille University, the youngest, but also the largest in terms of students, budgets and staff in France.


The University of Aix-Marseille III had an established reputation as one of the oldest and most respected academic institutions in France. Many prominent government leaders have studied at the university's Institute of Political Studies (Institut d'études politiques d'Aix-en-Provence), which is now associated with Aix-Marseille University. Established in 1956, it is one of a network of 9 world-famous IEPs (Instituts d’Etudes Politiques) in France. The IEP is a Grande école in political science and its primary aim is to train senior executives for the public, semi-public, and private sectors. Although the IEP offers a multitude of disciplines, its main focus is on politics, including related subjects such as history, law, economics, languages, international relations, and media studies.

The law school at Paul Cézanne University, which is currently part of Aix-Marseille University, dates back to the university's foundation in 1409. The school had far-reaching influence, since written law, which in France originated in Aix-en-Provence, spread from there, eventually replacing the common law practiced throughout the rest of Northern Gaul. It is one of the largest law schools in France today, and is considered to be one of the nation's leading centres for legal research and teaching. The school is unique among French law schools for the breadth of courses offered and the extent of research undertaken in a wide range of fields. Other than Panthéon-Assas University, the school has attracted the most prestigious law faculty in France. The teaching faculty comprises 155 professors and 172 adjunct lecturers, the latter drawn from private practice, the civil service, the judiciary and other organizations. Much of the legal research at the university is done under the auspices of its many research institutes – there is one in almost every field of law. Research activity is buttressed by a network of libraries. The university library holds an impressive collection of monographs and periodicals, including an important collection of sixteenth century manuscripts. Moreover, the libraries have several specialized rooms dedicated to specific fields of law, in particular in International and European Law and Legal Theory.

The university's Institute of Business Administration (Institut d'Administration des Entreprises), commonly known as IAE Aix-en-Provence, now part of Aix-Marseille University, was the first Graduate School of Management in the French public university system. IAE Aix is "a prestigious, double-accredited institution, with an international approach to business combining both classic and innovative teaching methods", according to The Independent. The school offers graduate level programmes in general management, international management, internal audit of organisations, service management, internal and external communications management, management and information technologies, international financial management and applied marketing. In 2011, the MSc in General Management was ranked 2nd in France along with the MSc in Services Management and Marketing being ranked 3rd and the MSc in Audit and Corporate Governance also being ranked 3rd in the country by SMBG. In 1990, IAE Aix and the École supérieure des sciences économiques et commerciales (ESSEC) signed an agreement to unite and offer a joint Doctorate Programme, allowing ESSEC professors to teach in the Research Oriented Master programme in Aix-en-Provence. Furthermore, after Research Oriented Master graduation, students can attend the ESSEC Doctorate seminars and have an ESSEC Research Advisor (Directeur de Recherche). In the same way, ESSEC students can enroll in the IAE Aix's Research Oriented Master and Doctorate programmes. In both cases, the members of the thesis juries come from both IAE Aix and ESSEC. The Doctorate title is awarded by Aix-Marseille University.

The total budget volume of the university was equal to 44.93 m €. This amount did not include the civil servant salaries that were directly paid by the Trésor public. There were 1,329 civil servants including 678 faculty members. Their salaries roughly amounted to the initial budget figure to give a total budget of 100 m €. The university was split in 16 sites located in five cities. The overall area occupied by the university was equal to 225,000 square meters.


There were eight major components in the University of Aix-Marseille III which benefited from financial autonomy:

  • Faculty of Law and Political Science
    • Aix-en-Provence, Schuman
    • Aix-en-Provence, Poncet
    • Aix-en-Provence, Montperrin
    • Arles, Espace Van Gogh
    • Marseille, Space Canebière
  • Faculty of Applied Economics
    • Aix-en-Provence, Schuman
    • Aix-en-Provence, Forbin
    • Marseille, Canebière
  • Faculty of Science and Technology
    • Aix-en-Provence, Montperrin
    • Marseille, Saint-Jérôme
    • Marseille, Europôle of Arbois
  • Institute of Business Administration – IAE Aix
  • Institute of French Studies for Foreign Students
    • Aix-en-Provence, Cours Gambetta
  • Institute of Public Management and Territorial Governance
    • Aix-en-Provence, Gaston de Saporta
    • Marseille, Liberation
  • University Institute of Technology
    • Marseille, Saint-Jérôme
  • Institute of Political Studies – Sciences Po Aix
    • Aix-en-Provence, Gaston de Saporta


Édouard Balladur, Prime Minister of France from 1993 to 1995
René Cassin, President of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) from 1965 to 1968 & the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate
Gaston Defferre, Minister of the Interior of France from 1981 to 1984
Élisabeth Guigou, Minister of Justice of France from 1997 to 2000
Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF)
Maurice Rouvier, Prime Minister of France May-Dec 1887 & from 1905 to 1906
Philippe Séguin, President of the National Assembly of France from 1993 to 1997
Adolphe Thiers, President of the French Republic from 1871 to 1873

Notable faculty


  • 1973–1977: Charles Debbasch
  • 1977–1982: Louis Favoreu
  • 1982–1994: Lucien Capella
  • 1994–1999: Christian Louit
  • 1999–2000: Gilbert Peiffer
  • 2000–2005: Jacques Bourdon
  • 2005–2008: Philippe Tchamitchian
  • 2008–2011: Marc Pena

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