International Physics of Complex Systems

The international Master « Physics of Complex Systems » (i-PCS) is a  French-Italian program, jointly operated by Sorbonne University, Paris-Saclay University and University of Paris, together with Politecnico di Torino, SISSA and ICTP in Trieste.
Please note tha PCS is for students arriving in Paris at M2 level while iPCS refers to the whole masters (the block M1-M2).

The goal is to provide a state-of-the-art research-oriented education in fundamental physics. Complex systems are thereby studied with the tools of statistical physics at or out-of equilibrium, field theory, stochastic processes, dynamical systems, non-linear physics, inference techniques and computational approaches. These systems encompass complex networks, active matter, the interface between social sciences and physics, soft matter, biological systems, complexity in the quantum realm, or questions raised in the context of « big data » and « machine learning ».

Programme structure

The International path of the Master Program is based in prestigious sites in Italy and France.
The program is organized in four semesters:

  1. a first semester in Trieste at SISSA (International School for Advanced Studies) and ICTP (the Abdus Salam International Center for Theoretical Physics) or, for the French students, in one of the Paris universities (courses in French);
  2. a second semester in Torino at Politecnico di Torino;
  3. a third semester in Paris at a consortium involving Universities SorbonneUniversité de Paris, and Paris-Saclay;
  4. the fourth semester is devoted to a multidisciplinary Spring College and to a research internship.



ECTS Location

Semester 1 (S1)

Introduction to Quantum Mechanics, Quantum Statistics and Field theory

8 SISSA & ICTP or Sorbonne University, Paris Diderot, Paris-Sud
Probability and Information Theory 8

2 modules to be chosen among:
-Introduction to Systems and Computational Neuroscience
-Ecology and Evolution
-Advanced numerical methods

4 each
Semester 2 (S2) Statistical Physics and Biophysics 12 Politecnico di Torino
Algorithms for optimization, interference and learning 8
Condensed Matter Theory 10
Advanced Experimental Physics 6



ECTS Location

Semester 3 (S3)

Non linear physics and dynamical systems

3 Sorbonne University, Paris Diderot, Paris-Sud
Stochastic processes 6
Computational Science 3
Statistical Field Theory 6

4 modules to be chosen among:
-Advanced non linear physics
-Advanced statistical mechanics
-Nonequilibrium and active systems
-Statistical physics of simple and complex fluids
-Quantum field theory
-Mathematical Tools

3 each
Semester 4 (S4) Spring College* 12  


*  5 courses on advanced interdisciplinary topics (including out of equilibrium physics, biological systems, neuroscience, econophysics, nanophysics, network theory, financial modelling...) 

Admissions & prerequisites

  • The program is fully taught in English. Sufficient proficiency is required for direct admission at the M2 level (no official certification asked).
  • Admission will be granted on a competitive basis and a limited number of fellowships will be available to support mobility of the selected students.
  • About 20 students follow the complete M1+M2 i-PCS track, while around 45 students are enrolled for the M2 year.
  • Academic application for M1 level should be made as early as March 31. For M2 level, the deadline slightly changes from year to year, opening in March and closing early July.



Dominique Mouhanna