Cognitive Science (CogMaster)

Program type Initial Training
Degree Master's
Graduate program(s) Cognitive Sciences
Domain(s) Humanities & social sciences, Fundamental Sciences
Discipline(s) Anthropology, Economics, Computer Science, Médecine, Philosophy, Physics, Political Science, Cognitive science, Engineering Science, Life Sciences, Social Science, Sociology
Teaching language(s) English
Place Paris

PSL host school


Hosted by the Ecole normale supérieure - PSL, Université de Paris and the EHESS, the Cogmaster programme offers a unique curriculum in Europe. It is open to students with diverse backgrounds and offers academic and industrial opportunities in prestigious research institutions and in many companies in data science, artificial intelligence, bio- and neuro-technologies, education and public policy. 

The intensive training programme involves multiple excellent higher education institutions to offer the best in each field, with 2000 hours of courses taught by leading experts. In order for students to be directly immersed in research, it offers the opportunity to perform internships in the best cognitive science laboratories in France and in the rest of the world. 
Cogmaster lectures are given in English. Student/teacher interactions and all exams can take place in French or in English, as chosen by each student.

This master's program is part of PSL Cognitive sciences graduate program.

Learning outcomes 

The goal of the Cogmaster is to train high-level scientists in at least one discipline of cognitive science, with broad knowledge and a solid methodological training covering all of the cognitive sciences.


Each Cogmaster student builds, together with his/her tutor, a personalised curriculum organised around one major and one or several optional minors. Majors typically correspond to the main areas of cognitive science, and may be chosen according to each students’ project and skills.

Majors are:
•    Philosophy ;
•    Social sciences ;
•    Linguistics ;
•    Psychology ;
•    Neuroscience ;
•    Modelling ;

•    Cognitive engineering

For more information on the Cogmaster curriculum, visit the following web page.
More details on M1 courses here.
More details on M2 courses here.

Who should apply?

The Cogmaster is intended for a small number of highly motivated students, from very diverse backgrounds but with a solid training in one of the fundamental disciplines of cognitive science: psychology, biology, linguistics, philosophy, social science, mathematics, computer science. It is also open to medical and engineering students. 


The Cogmaster is primarily a research programme, which prepares students to start a PhD, and also offers many other opportunities. Its international scientific level allows students to aspire to occupy positions in academic or industrial research, in various institutions and companies. 

  • An intensive and interdisciplinary training programme in cognitive science, unique in Europe 
  • An exceptional scientific environment within PSL
  • A localization at the very lively and cultural heart of Paris.
  • A wide variety of basic and advanced classes, given by world-renowned scholars ; A multidisciplinary curriculum.

Application deadlines

Online applications : January 10, 2023 to March 10, 2023 (2pm, CET time) on PSL portal
Important novelty compared to previous years: The Cogmaster used to have two admissions sessions, an early session, called "fast track" which opened in November and a normal session opening in March.  This year, there will be only one admission session.

Application process

The process involves an online application and interviews
Most candidates apply to the first year (M1). Their application is evaluated by the admission track that best corresponds to their initial training. The admission track does not presume that the student will follow the same major in their curriculum.

Candidates who already hold an M1 or equivalent degree can also apply directly to M2.

Immediately after admission, successful M2 applicants will have to secure an internship in a host laboratory and submit a research project. In order to facilitate this process, M2 applicants are encouraged to browse the list of Cogmaster-affiliated laboratories and the list of research internship proposals. Note that these lists are only indicative, not limitative. Applicants should indicate in their motivation letter their research interests and the labs and internships that they are considering. They will be invited to make a first contact with potential supervisors only if they are short-listed.


There are no specific courses preparing for the Cogmaster. The course is open to students from extremely different backgrounds, belonging to diverse scientific cultures: experimental sciences, formal sciences (mathematics, logic, physics), social sciences, engineering sciences, management, medicine, etc.
What we expect of students is that they show a keen interest in cognition, supported by readings or experiments in the laboratory, as well as strong research skills: intellectual autonomy, curiosity, motivation, precision, hard work.
There is no prerequiste level in mathematics or programming. However, candidates should be willing and able to learn some basics, as part of the compulsory core curriculum.

In preparing your application, please include the following:

  • On-line application form
  • Résumé (CV)
  • All higher education grade transcripts and diplomas (with French or English translations, if originals are in another language
  • Motivation letter
    This is a very important element of your application. It does not have a set format - except that it should not exceed 3 pages. Effective letters typically demonstrate applicants' familiarity with the field, and their specific interests and commitment to cognitive science study. It is not necessary to repeat the information already present in your CV. It is more important to highlight your intellectual, scientific or professional development than your personal experiences. You should indicate how your interests relate to the special strengths of our program, and what major you would like to validate, so that we can get a sense of how you would fit in, and benefit from studying in the Cogmaster.
    M2 candidates should additionally indicate their research interests and the potential labs and internships of interest to them.
  • Writing sample (thesis, essay, article, internship or lab report - mandatory for M2).
    Please upload one document that best illustrates your writing skills. This can be a thesis, an essay that you submitted for course credit, or any other piece of academic writing. If you are not the sole author, please indicate very precisely what your contribution was.
  • Recommendation letters (at least 1).

Registration procedures between the 3 universities involved

The Cogmaster is co-accredited by 3 universities: ENS-PSL, University of Paris, and EHESS. Students admitted to the Cogmaster will be registered in one of these universities, and will receive their degree from that university. Depending on the university where they are registered, students may have access to slightly different administrative and student life services. However, the curriculum (courses, internships and all pedagogical activities) is strictly identical.
Each university offers a fixed number of places at the Cogmaster. These places are allocated in order of the admission ranking, and as a function of each applicant's choice. In the Application portal, applicants are therefore requested to indicate which university they wish to apply to (1 to 3 wishes), and to rank their wishes. Applicants wishing to maximise their chances of admission should apply to all three universities.

* More information on the ENS- PSL
* More information on University of Paris
* More information on EHESS

Become a Normalien: apply to the ENS double degree and scholarship

Cogmaster applicants are strongly encouraged to also apply to become a fellow of the École Normale Supérieure, also known as a Normalien, a highly prestigious status in the French academic system with a number of very important benefits including a scholarship of around 1000€ monthly (for foreign students). More details here.

Tuition fees: ~243 euros / year for 2022-2023 + 100€ (CVEC).
Institution for registration: Ecole normale supérieure - PSL or Université de Paris or EHESS
Degree issued: French Master’s degree delivered by Université PSL or Université de Paris or EHESS


Jean-Baptiste ANDRE & Claire SERGENT
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