The École Polytechnique, which has a good reputation in French higher education, has long been criticised for its elitism and technocracy. It is frequently linked to selectivity and academic achievement. In the minds of the general public, the School is represented by certain emblems like the student uniform or the Bicorne.
- The General Directorate for Armament, which is part of the French Ministry of Defence, is in charge of École Polytechnique, a higher education institution. It serves two purposes: it educates engineers and scientists for the general public as well as officers for the three French armies. These two elements are a part of the same initiative to supply the French state with an elite in science and technology.
- In addition to a graduate programme, École Polytechnique offers a combined undergraduate-graduate general engineering teaching curriculum. It hires a large number of researchers and professors from various universities, including laboratories like CNRS, CEA, and INRIA, as well as École Normale Supérieure and surrounding institutions, in addition to the faculty from its local laboratories.
- The teaching faculty at École Polytechnique, in contrast to public universities in France, are contract employees who operate under laws that are distinct from those that apply to university professors. One unique aspect of École Polytechnique is the existence of part-time teaching staff who only bear a portion of the teaching load in addition to full-time teaching staff who also conduct research on behalf of the institution.