• Application between October 15 and December 9, 2020: HERE
  • Application dossier to be submitted between October 15 and December 11, 2020
  • Shortlist : January 21, 2021
  • Tests: Between January 27 and February 10, 2021
  • Admission results on February 12, 2021

Arts and Humanities

  • Application between October 15 and December 29, 2020: HERE
  • Application dossier to be submitted between October 15 and December 30, 2020
  • Shortlist : February 13, 2021
  • Tests: Between March 1 and March 16, 2021
  • Admission results on March 22, 2021


The Ecole normale supérieure aims at varying its students’ profiles and incorporates students to be enrolled in the 3rd year of bachelor in Math and in Computing science (licence 3) or 1st year of master (master 1), coming from all over the world and from all disciplines. The competitive examination of the International selection is intended to young graduates in Arts & Humanities as well as Sciences, who justify at least of one year undergraduate studies in a foreign university and distinguish themselves with outstanding results.

The examination takes place in 2 steps: a selection based upon application, then oral and written exams (Arts&Humanities) or oral exams only (Sciences) for shortlisted candidates.

ENS opens 10 positions in Sciences and 10 positions in Arts& Humanities.

Joining ENS through the competitive examination of the International selection gives access to training of excellence, through contact with exceptional researchers, in a privileged training and research environment. Integrated to the community of the normaliens, international students continue their studies at ENS and at the university at the same time, while benefiting from a 1000 euros/month grant for 3 years and from a room on one of the ENS campuses. At the end of their studies, these students have graduated with a master degree in their speciality and with the diploma of École normale supérieure.

Eligibility criteria

  • Candidates must be under 26 when they apply (must not have reached their 26th birthday)
  • Candidates apply only once to the International Selection
  • Candidates must not have lived in France more than 10 months during the academic year of the selection (September 1st – August 31st) nor the previous year.
  • Candidates must justify at least one year of undergraduate studies awarded by a foreign university (outside France) during the calendar year preceding the start of applications.
  • Candidates justify at least two years of undergraduate studies in a foreign university (outside France), on the 1st of September following admission.

On rare occasions, the Director of ENS may authorise applications from candidates whose academic background is non-standard.


Application to International selection according to the calendars below.

  • If your file is complete, it is submitted to the jury.
  • If the jury selects your dossier, you are invited to take written and oral tests.
  • The marks obtained at the tests determine the list of admitted students.

NB: Applicants interested in the Department of Cognitive Studies (DEC) can apply using the Science or Arts&Humanities forms indiscriminately. This document shows the differences between these 2 options. All candidates MUST contact the DEC in order to choose the right way, based on their personal academic background.

During their 3 years of study, students from the International selection discover Paris in exceptional conditions. Above all, they benefit from the intellectual freedom and multidisciplinarity characterising training at the ENS. Beyond the outstanding academic results expected from the candidates, ENS looks for young students driven by curiosity, open-mindedness and a taste for research. ENS is rich of the diversity of its students’ profiles, experiences and origins, and is concerned with enhancing the aptitudes of each one. For studying Arts& Humanities, we recommend you to be fluent in French. 

The training begins with a welcome event (1 day) and 3 weeks of conferences and debates in Sciences and Humanities, department visits, intensive French lessons, cultural visits of Paris as well as activities and entertainments organised by the various student associations of ENS.

Read more about the ENS graduate degree in Arts & Humanities

Academic disciplines offered through International selection in Arts&Humanities: Anthropology, Archeology, Classical studies (Greek, Latin), Cinema, Theater studies, History of Art, Musicology, Cognitive sciences, Economics, Political studies, Geography, History, History and Philosophy of Law, History and Philosophy of Sciences, Linguistics, Literature, Philosophy, Sociology.

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