École Polytechnique (French pronunciation: [ekɔl pɔlitɛknik]; also known as EP or X) is a French public institution of higher education and research in Palaiseau, a suburb southwest of Paris. It is one of the most prestigious and selective French grandes écoles, especially known for its polytechnicien engineering degree program.
The school was established in 1794 by the mathematician Gaspard Monge during the French Revolution, and was once previously a military academy under Napoleon I in 1804. The school is still supervised by the French ministry of defense, although Polytechnique is no longer a military academy and only a small number of its students choose to pursue a military career. Initially located in the Latin Quarter of central Paris, the school's main buildings were moved in 1976 to Palaiseau on the Saclay Plateau.
Polytechnique has engaged in several partnerships to improve its international renown. It is thus a founding member of ParisTech, a grouping of leading engineering colleges in the Paris region established in 2007. In 2014 it also became a founding member of the confederal University of Paris-Saclay. Among its alumni are three Nobel prize winners, three Presidents of France and many CEOs of French and international companies. It is associated with one Fields Medal and is also currently ranked as the world's third-best small university by Times Higher Education's World University Rankings.
During the 19th century, the specific model of École Polytechnique inspired the foundation of other well-known schools also named "Polytechnic," such as Polytechnique Montréal and Caltech (initially a vocational school named the Throop "Polytechnic" Institute).