Diploma from ENS - PSL

Bannière DENS
Program type Initial Training
Degree Master's
Domain(s) Humanities & social sciences, Fundamental Sciences
Discipline(s) Chemistry, Economics, Diploma from ENS - PSL, History, Art History, Computer Science, Literature, Mathematics, Philosophy, Physics, Cognitive science, Space Science, Life Sciences, Social Science
Teaching language(s) French, English
Place Paris

PSL host school


École Normale Supérieure – PSL offers a top-notch education in research, science, and humanities in collaboration with the leading international universities.
This program of education through research is also part of the PSL graduate programs. Every ENS student receives individual mentoring and develops their own personal course of study, in which interdisciplinarity is encouraged. This academic freedom is paired with a very flexible approach to organizing the curriculum, students’ plans and preferences can be integrated through laboratory internships, study abroad, and field experiences in public organizations, companies, or non-profits.

A campus in the heart of Paris

ENS-PSL is a world-renowned research university that is unparalleled in the quality of its students, the education it offers, and the coexistence of highly varied disciplines within its walls. The ENS campuses in the heart of Paris provide an immensely rich intellectual and scientific environment, boasting daily contact with the most advanced research and a connection to international university life.

A personalized academic path

All students at ENS build their own course of study to reflect their own interests and plans. At the same time, this “à la carte” education is constrained by the requirements of the ENS diploma, which include students earning units in one or more disciplines outside of their major. Broadening experiences are also central to the program: these can include professional experiences (teaching internships, volunteer positions with a non-profit, internships in companies or public administration), crossdisciplinary experiences, group research experiences, international experience (teaching assistantships, research exchanges) facilitated by the school’s many partnerships with prestigious universities around the globe.


The school prepares students for high-level careers in the public and corporate sectors in France and abroad. With one of the highest employment rates in French higher education, ENS offers a broad selection of opportunities, both academic (in higher education and research) and non-academic (in companies and government positions, or through entrepreneurship). After completing their ENS education, more than 70% of students begin work on a doctoral dissertation.

Science and humanities

The depth, breadth, and organization of fields at the school, divided into science and humanities and into teaching and research departments, enable students to explore the furthest horizons of their discipline and develop a highly interdisciplinary intellectual approach. List of departments: Humanities: Economics, Geography & Territories, History, Arts (Theory and Practice), Languages and Literature, Philosophy, Science of Antiquity, Social Science, Exploring Other Cultures and Languages (crosscutting department). Science: Biology, Mathematics, Computer Science, Geoscience, Chemistry, Physics, Cognitive Science.

Admissions for both Science and Humanities follows 3 separate paths:

  • CPGE preparatory classes for Grandes Écoles competitive exams
  • ENS students competitive entrance exams
  • International selection competitive entrance exams

ENS admits unique, brilliant, creative minds through each of these pathways.

Degree issued: institutional Master's degree conferred by Université PSL and prepared at ENS-PSL.

The heart of the ENS graduate degree in Humanities lies in training through research. ENS teachers and researchers teach courses at the forefront of the research they conduct and research in general, in each field or discipline and at all levels, from introductory courses to doctorate, by way of seminars which can be validated within the framework of a master’s degree or courses for preparing the agrégation.

Courses held at the ENS do not correspond only to the master’s degrees’ disciplines. Departments offer indeed courses gathering teachers from various disciplines, such as courses involving the department of philosophy and the department of history ant theory of arts, courses crossing music and poetry in the Germanic world, or courses at the intersection of literature and social sciences, held by several ENS teachers working together.

Not all the students who assist to the ENS courses are specialists in these fields. However, they can gradually develop their own research field, at the intersection of several fields. Some students, who specialise in the course’s discipline, are invited, mostly by their tutors, to go in depth into the course’s subject.

Most of the time, teachers incite students to speak in public as well as write or talk collectively, so as to initiate them to teaching and research.

Original careers can also come out as academic paths within the framework of the ENS graduate degree. Hence, diplomacy, public administration, Far Eastern studies or Arab studies take into account courses chosen within several departments during the academic career of the normaliens: social sciences, geography, ECLA (Language department), history, philosophy.

During the academic career, specific training can be offered, in the form of medium to long-term internships: dramaturgy/scenography (with, in most cases, courses held over several days) script-writing/training to literary translation. These courses, held in partnership with professionals of every concerned field, represent both opening courses and a decisive introduction for the future professional career of some students.

The ENS graduate degree reflects the academic career of each student. Training in one discipline (in most cases, it is the discipline of the master’s degree) represents the main discipline indicated on the diploma, while training specific to the ENS is also taken into account. Hence, students preparing at the university a master’s degree in English can, for example, receive their ENS graduate degree in literature of the Anglophone world, or in American literature and civilisation. The title of the diploma qualifies and clarifies the title of the master’s degree. This dimension is more present in classics, with students obtaining the ENS graduate degree in Grecian history and civilisation, or in linguistics of the Indo-European worlds, or even in archaeology if most of the courses and internships undertaken during the students’ career at the ENS have dealt with this field.

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