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About University

About Ecole Normale Superieure, France


  • Location: Primarily located in Paris, the main campus of ENS is situated in the Latin Quarter, a historic region known for its scholarly traditions. The school also has a campus in Lyon, known as ENS de Lyon.

  • Founded: The Paris campus was established in 1794 during the French Revolution and was originally intended to train educators who would uphold the republican ideals of the new French Republic.

  • Fields of Study: ENS offers a multidisciplinary education with a strong focus on humanities, sciences, and social sciences. It has a smaller number of students compared to traditional universities, which allows for a low student-to-teacher ratio and highly personalized education.


  • Programs: Students (referred to as "normaliens") typically pursue a three-year course that leads to a master's degree. They are involved in a rigorous curriculum that includes coursework, seminars, and independent research, often in collaboration with other universities and research institutions.

  • Research: ENS is associated with multiple research labs and has partnerships with major French research institutions such as CNRS (National Centre for Scientific Research) and INSERM (National Institute of Health and Medical Research). Research at ENS covers diverse fields including physics, biology, philosophy, literature, and economics. 

Universities in France

Course Programs at Ecole Normale Superieure, France


  • Literature: Studies may cover French and comparative literature, focusing on critical analysis and literary theory.

  • Philosophy: Known for its strong emphasis on philosophy, ENS offers courses ranging from metaphysics and ethics to contemporary philosophy.

  • History and Classics: Includes ancient to modern history, with a strong emphasis on primary source analysis and historiography.


  • Mathematics: ENS is famous for its high-level training in pure and applied mathematics.

  • Physics: Offers theoretical and experimental physics, often integrated with cutting-edge research.

  • Biology: From molecular biology to ecology and evolutionary biology, reflecting the current research interests and technologies.

  • Computer Science: Focused on both theoretical foundations and practical applications, including algorithms, machine learning, and artificial intelligence.

Social Sciences

  • Economics: Combines rigorous mathematical training with economic theories and applications.

  • Sociology and Social Anthropology: Covers approaches to understanding social structures and cultural practices.

  • Cognitive Science: An interdisciplinary field involving psychology, neuroscience, and philosophy, often in collaboration with the ENS’s DEC (Department of Cognitive Studies).

Interdisciplinary Studies

  • PENS Program (Parisian Interdisciplinary PhD in Economic, Normalien and Social Sciences): A co-operative program involving several Parisian institutions, designed for a deeper, research-oriented approach in economics and social sciences.

  • Frontiers of Science: A program that aims to bridge the gap between different scientific disciplines, fostering cross-disciplinary research and understanding.

Language and Language Sciences

  • Linguistics: Theoretical and applied linguistics, including syntax, phonetics, and sociolinguistics.

  • Language Teaching: Training for teaching French and other languages, often leading to roles in academia or secondary education.

Program Structure

  • Duration: Programs at ENS typically span three years for the License (Bachelor’s equivalent), followed by two years for the Master’s degree.

  • Degree Types: ENS offers state diplomas in collaboration with other universities (double degree), and its own diplomas, which are highly regarded due to the school's prestigious reputation.

  • Admissions: Entry into ENS is highly competitive, primarily through entrance examinations known as "concours", particularly for French students. International students can enter through a separate competitive selection process that evaluates their application materials and research proposals.

Research and Doctoral Studies

  • Students are encouraged to engage in research from the early stages of their education, often leading to doctoral studies in their chosen fields. ENS has a strong research orientation, with many students continuing their studies in one of the school’s doctoral programs or other research institutions.

Study in France

Bachelor Course Programs at Ecole Normale Superieure, France 

Course Program Name


Tuition Fees Per Year (USD)


3 years

free for EU; ~$1,000 for non-EU


3 years

 free for EU; ~$1,000 for non-EU

Social Sciences

3 years

 free for EU; ~$1,000 for non-EU

Cognitive Studies

3 years

 free for EU; ~$1,000 for non-EU


BDS (Bachelor of Dental Surgery) in France

Masters Course Programs at Ecole Normale Superieure, France

Course Program Name


Tuition Fees Per Year (USD)

MSc in Cognitive Science

2 years

$1,000 to $1,500

MSc in Mathematics

2 years

$1,000 to $1,500

MSc in Computer Science

2 years

$1,000 to $1,500

MA in Philosophy

2 years

$1,000 to $1,500

MSc in Physics

2 years

$1,000 to $1,500

MSc in Biology

2 years

$1,000 to $1,500

MA in History

2 years

$1,000 to $1,500

MA in Economics

2 years

$1,000 to $1,500

MSc in Chemistry

2 years

$1,000 to $1,500

MA in Sociology

2 years

$1,000 to $1,500


Bachelor in Hospitality Management in France

PhD/Doctorate Course Programs at Ecole Normale Superieure, France

Course Name


Tuition Fees Per Year (USD)

PhD in Cognitive Science

3-4 years

$400 to $500

PhD in Mathematics

3-4 years

$400 to $500

PhD in Computer Science

3-4 years

$400 to $500

PhD in Philosophy

3-4 years

$400 to $500

PhD in Physics

3-4 years

$400 to $500

PhD in Biology

3-4 years

$400 to $500

PhD in History

3-4 years

$400 to $500

PhD in Economics

3-4 years

$400 to $500

PhD in Chemistry

3-4 years

$400 to $500

PhD in Sociology

3-4 years

$400 to $500

Ecole Normale Superieure, France for International Students

Academic Offerings

ENS offers highly competitive programs across the humanities, sciences, and social sciences. These programs are often interdisciplinary and connected to numerous research opportunities, making them particularly appealing for students seeking a robust academic and research environment.

Language of Instruction

While many courses, especially in the humanities and social sciences, are taught in French, ENS has been increasing the number of courses offered in English, particularly at the Master's and PhD levels. This makes it more accessible for international students who may not be fluent in French.

Admissions for International Students

  • International Selection: Each year, ENS opens a competitive selection process for international students, allowing a small number of exceptionally talented students to enroll. This process typically includes a review of the applicant’s academic records and proposed research project.

  • Language Requirements: Proficiency in French is required for most programs, although some science and economics courses might be in English. Certifications such as DELF or DALF for French, or TOEFL or IELTS for English, are generally required.

  • Scholarships: Successful candidates in the International Selection are often awarded a monthly stipend for three years to cover living expenses in Paris.

Scholarships and Financial Aid

ENS offers several scholarships specifically for international students. These include the ENS International Selection scholarships, specific bilateral agreements with certain countries, and other French government scholarships like the Eiffel Scholarship.

Student Life

  • Housing: ENS guarantees housing for international students, which is a significant benefit given the high cost of living in Paris.

  • Cultural Integration: The school organizes orientations and cultural integration programs to help international students adjust to life in France. French language courses are also offered to assist students in enhancing their language skills.

  • Support Services: ENS provides dedicated support for international students through its International Relations Office, which helps with visas, accommodation, insurance, and other administrative matters.

Admission Process of Ecole Normale Superieure, France

For Undergraduate Programs:

ENS does not have a traditional undergraduate admission path like other universities. Admission to ENS for most French students is through the "concours" system, which involves a series of rigorous entrance examinations and interviews, usually taken after two years of preparatory classes (classes préparatoires) at other institutions.

International Students:

  • International Selection: Each year, ENS holds an International Selection process for a few exceptional international candidates. Applicants must submit detailed academic records, letters of recommendation, and a statement of purpose.

  • Written and Oral Exams: Candidates may be required to complete specific written and oral examinations depending on their desired field of study.

  • Language Proficiency: Non-French speakers will need to provide evidence of French language proficiency, though this requirement may vary based on the specific program.

For Master's Programs:

Admission to Master’s programs at ENS is open to both French and international students with a relevant bachelor’s degree or equivalent.

  • Application: Applicants must submit an application package that includes a CV, academic transcripts, letters of recommendation, and a statement of purpose. For research-oriented programs, a research proposal may also be required.

  • Interviews: Shortlisted candidates are often interviewed by a panel, which can be conducted online for international applicants.

  • Language Requirements: French proficiency is typically required, and depending on the program, proof of English proficiency might also be necessary.

For PhD Programs:

Admission to doctoral programs is generally based on the candidate's potential for research.

  • Finding a Supervisor: Candidates must find a faculty member at ENS who agrees to supervise their doctoral thesis.

  • Proposal Submission: Applicants need to submit a detailed research proposal along with their academic transcripts, CV, and recommendation letters.

  • Funding: Applicants must also secure funding for their PhD, which can come from sources including ENS itself, external scholarships, or government grants.

Intake And Eligibility of Ecole Normale Superieure, France

Intake Periods

ENS typically has one major intake period, but this can vary by specific programs, especially at the graduate level:

  • Undergraduate Programs: For the undergraduate level, which in the context of ENS refers to the entry via the 'concours' for French students or the International Selection for foreign nationals, the intake is usually once a year, around September.

  • Master's Programs: Most master's programs also begin in September, with applications generally due in the spring (around March to May) of the same year.

  • PhD Programs: Doctoral program intakes can be more flexible, depending on the specific research group and the availability of funding and supervisors. Applications can typically be submitted year-round, but it's best to confirm specific deadlines with the relevant department.

Eligibility Criteria

Undergraduate Programs (International Selection)

  • Academic Record: Applicants should have an excellent academic record in their high school and any post-secondary studies.

  • Exams and Assessments: Depending on their chosen field, applicants might need to pass written and oral exams.

  • Language Skills: Proficiency in French is often required, as courses are mainly taught in French. Some programs might also require English proficiency.

Master's Programs

  • Bachelor's Degree: Applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree or equivalent in a relevant field.

  • Academic Excellence: ENS looks for candidates with strong academic records and the potential for scholarly research.

  • Language Proficiency: French proficiency is required for most programs, although some courses may be offered in English, particularly in sciences, for which English proficiency would then be necessary.

PhD Programs

  • Master’s Degree: Candidates should have a master’s degree or equivalent, ideally with a strong component of research.

  • Research Proposal: Applicants need to submit a detailed research proposal that aligns with the interests and expertise of potential supervisors at ENS.

  • Supervisor Agreement: Prospective PhD students must secure agreement from an ENS faculty member to supervise their doctoral research.

  • Funding: Candidates must demonstrate that they have funding for the duration of their PhD, whether through ENS, external scholarships, or other sources.

Ranking & Rating of Ecole Normale Superieure, France

Ranking Source

Global Rank

QS World University

Top 50

US News & World Report

Top 100

Scholarship Available at Ecole Normale Superieure, France

Scholarship Name



ENS International Selection

International master’s degree applicants

Monthly grant of approximately €1,000 for three years

Eiffel Scholarship Program

Master’s and PhD candidates

Monthly allowance, travel, health insurance, and cultural activities

Amelia Earhart Fellowship

Women pursuing PhD/doctoral degrees in aerospace-related sciences and engineering

$10,000 award

Fondation Renault Scholarship

Students in engineering, design, management, economic or social sciences

Covers tuition, social security, monthly stipend, and includes internship opportunities

Paris-Saclay International Master's Scholarships

Newly admitted master’s students at ENS, among other schools in the Paris-Saclay cluster

€10,000 per year and covers travel and visa expenses

Ecole Normale Superieure, France Campus & Accommodation Facilities

Facility Type


Cost (Per Month)

On-Campus Dormitories

Rooms located within the main campus area.

€400 - €600

Off-Campus Housing

Apartments and shared housing in nearby areas.

€800 - €1,200

International House

Accommodation specifically for international students, includes utilities.

€500 - €700

Temporary Housing

Short-term rental options for new or visiting students.

€30 - €50 per night

Students Life at Ecole Normale Superieure, France

Academic Environment

  • Interdisciplinary Studies: ENS encourages a multidisciplinary approach, allowing students to attend courses across departments. This flexibility supports a broad educational experience and fosters innovative thinking.

  • Small Class Sizes: With a low student-to-faculty ratio, students at ENS enjoy close interactions with some of the brightest minds in academia, receiving personalized mentorship and guidance.

  • Research Opportunities: Students are actively involved in research from early in their academic career, with access to state-of-the-art laboratories and research facilities shared with other institutions and research bodies like CNRS and INSERM.

Cultural and Intellectual Life

  • Seminars and Lectures: Regular seminars, workshops, and lectures by renowned experts from fields are a staple, enriching the academic life at ENS.

  • Cultural Activities: ENS hosts a variety of cultural activities, including theatre productions, musical performances, and art exhibitions, often organized by student societies.

  • Location: Situated in the Latin Quarter of Paris, students are in the heart of a historic academic district surrounded by bookstores, cafes, and cultural sites, enhancing their intellectual and cultural experiences.

Community and Social Life

  • Student Clubs and Societies: ENS has numerous clubs and societies that cater to a wide range of interests from sports and arts to debate clubs and subject-specific groups.

  • Social Events: The university calendar includes many social events like welcome week, annual balls, sports tournaments, and theme-based parties that help students unwind and bond.

  • International Community: With a significant number of international students, ENS boasts a diverse student body, offering a global perspective and opportunities to learn about different cultures.

Placements in Ecole Normale Superieure, France

Preparation for the Job Market

  • Interdisciplinary Education: ENS encourages an interdisciplinary approach to studies, equipping students with broad knowledge and versatile skills applicable across fields.

  • Research and Critical Thinking: With a strong emphasis on research, students learn to approach problems analytically and offer innovative solutions, skills highly valued in any career.

  • Professional Networking: Regular seminars, workshops, and guest lectures from industry leaders provide students opportunities to network and establish professional connections.

Career Services

  • Dedicated Career Office: ENS has a career services office that helps students in planning their career paths, including CV workshops, interview preparation, and job search strategies.

  • Internships and Industrial Placements: The school has strong ties with both academic institutions and industries, facilitating internships that often lead to job placements.

  • Alumni Network: An active and influential alumni network provides mentorship and opens doors to job opportunities in academia, research, government, and the private sector.

Employment Outcomes

  • Academia and Research: Many graduates go on to pursue PhDs and have successful careers in academia or at research institutions worldwide.

  • Public Sector: ENS graduates are well-represented in the French civil service and international organizations, leveraging their high-level training in public administration and policy-making.

  • Private Sector: Graduates also enter the private sector, particularly in fields like economics, consulting, finance, and technology, where their analytical skills and innovative thinking are in high demand.

Graduate Programs

  • Prestigious Partnerships: ENS maintains collaborative agreements with other top institutions and businesses, allowing students to pursue dual degrees or participate in exchange programs that enhance their employability.

  • Global Opportunities: The school's strong international reputation helps graduates secure positions not only in France but also globally.


  • Innovation and Entrepreneurship Programs: ENS encourages entrepreneurial skills through specialized programs and access to incubators, helping students start their own ventures.

Placement Statistics

  • High Success Rate: ENS has a high placement rate, with most students securing employment or academic positions shortly after graduation. The exact figures can vary by department and degree level

Acceptance Rate of Ecole Normale Superieure, France

Key Points on Acceptance Rate

  1. Concours (Competitive Exams):

    • For French students, admission to ENS is primarily through a series of rigorous competitive exams known as "concours." These exams are extremely challenging, involving written and oral tests that cover a broad range of subjects relevant to the chosen field of study.

    • The "concours" typically has a very low acceptance rate, sometimes admitting only a small percentage of applicants. For example, only a few dozen spots might be available for hundreds of candidates in certain subjects.

  2. International Selection:

    • ENS also admits a smaller number of international students through a separate selection process, which includes the review of academic records, letters of recommendation, and personal statements. This process, while slightly less competitive than the "concours," still has a low acceptance rate due to the high number of applicants from around the world and the limited number of places available.

  3. Graduate Programs:

    • The acceptance rates for Master’s and PhD programs can vary depending on the specific department and program. Admission to these programs typically involves an application that includes academic transcripts, a research proposal, and interviews. The selectivity for these programs is also quite high, reflecting the institution’s overall competitiveness.

  4. Departmental Differences:

    • Acceptance rates may vary significantly across different departments depending on the number of applicants, the specific criteria used for selection, and the nature of the competition.

Campus Location of Ecole Normale Superieure, France

Paris Campus

  • Location: The historical main campus of ENS is situated in the Latin Quarter of Paris, specifically at 45 rue d’Ulm, Paris 5th arrondissement. This area is historically known as a scholarly hub and is characterized by a dense concentration of educational and research institutions.

  • Features: This campus houses humanities and science departments. It features iconic 19th-century architecture and is equipped with academic facilities, including libraries, research labs, and lecture halls. The campus is also home to administrative offices and student residences.

  • Accessibility: Being in central Paris, the campus is easily accessible via public transportation, with several Metro stations nearby, including the Luxembourg RER B station, which is just a short walk away.

Lyon Campus

  • Location: The ENS Lyon campus, officially known as ENS de Lyon, is located in the Gerland district of Lyon, specifically at 15 parvis René Descartes. Lyon is the third-largest city in France and offers a vibrant cultural scene.

  • Features: ENS de Lyon focuses primarily on exact sciences and humanities. It features modern facilities that include state-of-the-art laboratories, large lecture halls, and a library. This campus is newer compared to the Paris campus and is designed to foster an innovative learning environment.

  • Accessibility: The campus is also well-connected to Lyon’s public transportation system, making it easily accessible for students and faculty.

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