The École normale supérieure (ENS) is an elite higher education institution (graduate school) for advanced undergraduate and graduate studies, and a prestigious French research center. It encompasses fifteen teaching and research departments, spanning the main humanities, sciences and disciplines. Unique among France’s grandes écoles for its training in the humanities and sciences, the ENS prepares its students for their role as future leaders in every imaginable professional field: in research, media, public service and private industry.
The École normale supérieure has a highly competitive recruitment process. For most international students, this includes a selection by written application, usually presented during the last year of undergraduate study, and which highlights the candidate’s intellectual promise, creativity and desire to complete an original and independent project.
In addition to a master’s and doctoral degree, students are awarded an ENS Diploma, which attests to the excellence of the intellectual and scientific training received at the ENS.
Campus life is a distinctive feature of the École normale supérieure. Students not only study there, but also live in campus residences, primarily located in the heart of the historic and vibrant Quartier Latin with easy access to the ENS libraries, restaurants, and leisure facilities.
The ENS is at once a grande école, due to its selective recruitment process, and a research university. As a central actor in the training of French elites for more than two centuries, it has nourished the majority of the great intellectual movements of the 20th century and has considerably widened the scope of French scientific influence. The impressive achievements made possible through the training it dispenses, distinguish the École normale supérieure from all other French establishments of higher learning. Former students include all eight French winners of the Fields Medal, thirteen Nobel Prize winners and half of the recipients the CNRS Gold Medal.
The success of ENS alumni results from the quality of its research-based training, which includes individual tutorials and personalized attention for the full four years of study. This “training-by-research” model is the hallmark of the École normale supérieure. It is the best preparation for innovation and creativity.
QS World University Rankings 2014-2015: the ENS is at the 24th position
The success of ENS’s alumni results from the quality of its research-based training, which includes individual tutorials and personalized attention for the full four years of study. This "training-by-research" model is the hallmark of the École normale supérieure. It is the best preparation for innovation and creativity.
Highly competitive and very selective institutions, the grandes ecoles are considered the pinnacle of French higher education. They are characterized by their autonomy from the French university system, their human scale (around 2000 students), rigorous selection process, and international activities..