Common Core

The common core, taking place in the first 3 semesters, is organised into 12 unités d'enseignement (UE) - teaching units -, in engineering science or humanities and economics science, a teaching unit in languages and a unit in vocational education. This broad-based foundation allows students to acquire knowledge and competencies that define a generalist engineer in Centrale.

Common Core Curriculum

The Unités d'Enseignement (UE) in engineering science or humanities and economics science

  • Electrical Energy and Control Systems
  • Fluids and Energy
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Informatics
  • Materials Engineering
  • Mathematics
  • Solid and Fluid Mechanics
  • Physical and Chemical Properties of Materials
  • Economics and Managerial Science
  • Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Sciences and Information Technology
  • Specialisation

The teaching objectives of each UE are as such:

  • Acquisition of academic knowledge
  • Acquisition of contextual knowledge (societal, industrial, research-based challenges, etc.)
  • Acquisition of engineering competencies (defining a problem, a methodology, leading a project, self-evaluation, self-learning)
  • Acquisition of competencies of a generalist engineer (complex and multi-disciplinary problem solving)

A significant part of the development of competencies happens during practical application of knowledge where the student is fully responsible for their own education. Hence, 25% of the teaching performed in the UE corresponds to "independent work", group or individual work, which is compulsory and monitored, which depends primarily on the initiatives of the student. Ecole Centrale de Lyon relies particularly on a proven teaching methodology using new information and communication technology.

L'Unité d'Enseignement Professionnelle (UE PRO)

The UE Pro aims to allow a student to discover what it means to be an engineer through conferences, industrial visits, interviews, projects and industrial attachments and internships, and to help them fully exploit these opportunities in defining their professional project. Each student is required to perform a 4 week practical internship at the end of the first year and another 3 month internship at the end of the second year that serves as an initiation into the life of an engineer for students who choose to stay in the School in semester S8.

Similarly, the acquisition of certain competencies regarding an engineering profession requires hands-on learning. Therefore, students work in small groups for projects (Study Project, Application Project) throughout the period of the common core.

Physical and Sports education is a compulsory element of the curriculum integrated into the UE PRO with the aim being to "do and act together to better understand one's "potentials".


The engineering students of Centrale Lyon have a choice between 10 languages: German, English, Arabic, Chinese, Spanish, French as a foreign language (FLE), Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, and Russian. Each student has the possibility of taking up 2, or even 3, languages. The distribution of groups is according to their level of language proficiency.

2 basic aims are required of each engineering student in Centrale Lyon with regards to languages:

  • Every student, upon graduation, is required to have a minimal level of English (a minimum score of 550 points in TOEFL,750 points in TOEIC or 6.5 points in IELTS).
  • Every student is required to take up at least one language amongst those proposed throughout the course of their 3 years in Centrale Lyon.

Non-native French speakers in the Double Degree course or students benefiting from a specific curriculum due to difficulties with the French language should pass the DELF B2 examination.