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First cycle at the École du Louvre

Two fundamental and original elements constitute the specificity of the pedagogy of the first cycle at the École du Louvre: its programme and its method.

While French universities now encourage multi-disciplinarity during the first years of study, by facilitating links between one discipline and another, the École du Louvre has chosen to focus its programme on art history and archaeology, rooted in the material evidence of civilisations.
Based on learning how to look at and relate directly to works of art, both in terms of their history and their materiality, the school's teaching methods actively encourage memory (visual and textual) and reflection (comparative and contextual).
Tableau de présentation du premier cycle de l'École du Louvre
Tableau de présentation du premier cycle de l'École du Louvre responsive


The first cycle is an original combination of two modules: the first provides a comprehensive knowledge base in general art history, while the second offers a choice of specialities from among the thirty or so offered by the School.

Over the course of three years, the core curriculum successively covers, in condensed form, all the periods and continents through their artistic productions and civilisations. This is supplemented by an approach to creative techniques, the history of collections and iconography, modern languages and optional courses. In the third year, some courses are taught in foreign languages.

Teaching is based on the study of sites, buildings, works and objects held in heritage institutions. It is organised around two main modules:

  • general courses, the core curriculum common to all students;
  • compulsory optional courses (speciality courses and modern language courses).

Admission and enrolment

Entrance exam to the school’s undergraduate programme

Candidates to the Ecole du Louvre’s undergraduate programme, referred to as the first cycle, have three ways to apply. There is an entrance exam (with…

Bank of literary exams

The three routes offered to candidates for undergraduate studies at the École du Louvre are the competitive entrance exam (with Parcoursup pre-selecti…

Equivalent prior education

The three ways to apply to the Ecole du Louvre’s undergraduate programme, referred to as the first cycle, are the entrance exam (with pre-selection on…

Core curriculum

Common core courses

The three-year core curriculum consists of courses in the general history of art, divided into chronological periods and cultural or geographical areas, providing an overview of the history of art from its origins to the present day.
They include:

  • courses in general art history accompanied by tutorials in front of the works ;
  • courses in creative techniques;
  • introductory courses in iconography;
  • courses in the history of collections and an introduction to museology;
  • methodology courses (with tutorial groups in the 1st and 2nd years).

3 lessons of 1h30 per week


Tutorials in front of the works

The general history of art courses are supplemented by tutorials in front of the works; their pedagogical content is an integral part of the general history of art taught in the lectures.
They are organised in groups of 15 people at museums and sites. The choice of tutorial groups made at the time of enrolment must be respected during the visits, for reasons of security and museum rules.

2 to 3 TDOs of 2h00 per week

Compulsory optional courses

Modern languages

Modern languages applied to art history (German, English, Spanish, French as a foreign language, Italian) are offered. The chosen language is retained throughout the first cycle.

20 sessions of 1.5 hours each in years 1 and 2.
7 sessions of 2 hours in front of the works in 3rd year.


Speciality courses

Students are required to take at least one speciality course, chosen from the disciplines on the programme.
Speciality courses consist of:

  • organic courses ;
  • synthesis courses ;
  • practical work ;
  • sometimes seminars.

Thirty-one subjects are available to students. The final choice is made in the first year, by 9 November 2021 at the latest. It determines the student's entire undergraduate specialisation and is reflected on the undergraduate diploma.
Students may register for a maximum of three specialisation courses. However, it is physically very difficult to take more than two and, in any case, the School cannot guarantee that timetables will be compatible.
Only one speciality course is taken into account when calculating results.

Optional complementary courses

Courses in epigraphy, archaeological drawing, heraldry, iconography and numismatics may supplement the specialised courses. Students may enrol in the complementary course of their choice. If the complementary course is related to the student's speciality course, the student may transfer points above 10/20 from the complementary course to his or her speciality course.

Students wishing to have a course in epigraphy (related to their speciality), which they are taking at another establishment, validated must inform the teaching department at the time of registration.

Amphithéâtre Rohan cours

First year

The first year of the Ecole du Louvre’s undergraduate programme, or first cycle, focuses essentially on classes on European archaeology from Prehistory to the M…

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Second year

The second year of the Ecole du Louvre’s undergraduate programme, known as the first cycle, focuses essentially on classes on Middle-Age, Renaissance, India, Is…

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Third year

The third year of the Ecole du Louvre's first cycle focuses mainly on art courses from the 17th, 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, but also courses on French folk …

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