The École Pratique des Hautes Études, a French public institution with a scientific, cultural and professional vocation (E.P.S.C.P.), is headed by a President, elected for a five-year term of office. It is governed by a Board of Directors, assisted by a Scientific Council, both chaired by the President of the School.

The EPHE is composed of three core sections and encompasses institutes, research units and libraries.

The School covers extensive subject areas which fall within the Life and Earth Sciences (French acronym: SVT) sector, which has its own dedicated section, and within Social Sciences and Humanities which includes two sections - Historical and Philological Sciences (French acronym: SHP), and Religious Sciences (French acronym: SR).

In Life and Earth Sciences, teaching and research are organized in three networks: biodiversity dynamics, neurosciences and cognition, cellular environment and regulation. The section is present in the Ile-de-France region, in several major university cities throughout France and in French Polynesia (marine research facility in Mo'orea dedicated to studying coral reefs).

The Historical and Philological Sciences section focuses on subjects from erudition to the expression of philology, literatures, grammar and linguistics of an extensive range of languages and history, as well as archaeology and history of art. The cultural areas taken into account cover a broad chronological spectrum – from Antiquity to the contemporary era – and with great geographical scope: Near and Middle East, Europe, India and the Far East.

Regarding Religious Sciences, religions from Antiquity to the present time are studied as such, and also from a comparative perspective, as thought systems and visions of the world, using approaches from the fields of history, anthropology, ethnology and sociology of religious transformations. The particularity of this section, unique in Europe thanks to the extent and abundance of subjects studied, has earned it an international scientific reputation and has given it a prominent place among global religion study and observation networks.

The European Institute of Religious Sciences (IESR - Institut européen en sciences des religions) is an educational body established around the world of research. It is a secular center of expertise and advice on current and historical issues of secularism and religious questions. [Link to the Institute website]

The Pacific Coral Reef Institute (IRCP - Institut des récifs coralliens du Pacifique) works by promoting federative projects that focus on preserving coral reefs and, by pursuing a sustainable development perspective, helps ensure the future of coral ecosystems and the populations that depend on them. [Link to the Institute website]

The purpose of the Transdisciplinary Institute for the Study of Aging (ITEV - Institut transdisciplinaire d’étude du vieillissement) is to promote action and thought on aging; a theme which has become a critical issue for our society. [Link to the Institute website]

Two Laboratories of Excellence (LabEx) are promoted by the École Pratique des Hautes Études.

The LabEx objective is threefold:

- to gain international exposure;
- to attract world-renowned researchers and faculty members;
- to develop high level integrated research, training and promotion policy.

The “Coral reefs facing global climate change” LabEx (CORAIL - Récifs coralliens face au changement global) is a French center of excellence created to study coral reefs and established at the world’s highest scientific level with regards to factors of impact through the joint publishing of works. [Link to the LabEx website]

The HaStec LabEx, a multidisciplinary center of excellence, studies the historic intermingling of Knowledge, Technologies and Beliefs – a pivotal factor of human cultures and societies – which covers a chronological period spanning from Antiquity to the 21st century. Particular emphasis is placed on digital humanities. [Link to the LabEx website]