Direction of studies:

Dates for application: from April 2 to June 7, 2019.
Oral exams will take place on Monday June 17th.

The candidate starts with an online declaration of application (, which will allow the candidate to create a document that will be attached to the final application that will be sent at, via WeTransfer (one .pdf or a zip with the candidate's first name and laste name + L3). 

Students with a background in biology, physics, mathematics, computer science, or economics, must simultaneously apply to the department associated with their initial education.  Note that each department has their own application procedure, and students must follow the procedure of the additional department they are applying to. This means that two distinct applications must be sent (one to the DEC, and one to the other department).

The DEC’s selection committee chooses a small number of candidates for an in-person interview.  If the student is also applying to another department, the DEC usually does not organize a separate interview, but rather sends one of its members to the interview organized by the other department.  In all other cases, students are invited for an individual interview at the DEC, which takes place at the end of June or the beginning of July.  This interview includes an exercise designed with the students’ profiles in mind (and applicants are allowed a preparation period to think about the exercise), and also a general discussion with the candidates.

List of application documents

  • Application notice, retrieved from the web app
  • High school transcript
  • All diplomas and transcripts obtained since the student began their tertiary education
  • Detailed CV
  • Cover letter, which demonstrates the candidate’s interest in cognitive science and specifies their proposed course of study
  • Writing sample (thesis, essay, article, internship or lab report. 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.
  • 2 letters of recommendation, which must be sent directly by the student’s referees by email at the following address:

Pre-selection criteria

We recruit students from both preparatory schools and university. All scientific backgrounds (including medicine), but also backgrounds in psychology, linguistics, philosophy, social science, and economics, may be acceptable for admission to the DEC.  For students coming from  literature preparatory schools, the B/L section is preferred (but not obligatory).  We also admit students from economics and business preparatory schools.

Pre-selection criteria include academic results, including any results from competitive examinations (specifically French concours), and also anything that demonstrates the candidate’s interest for, and familiarity with, aspects of cognitive science (choice of courses, research internships, personal reading), as well as anything that demonstrates the candidate’s research capacities.  The recommendation letters and cover letter should highlight these aspects.

Selection process

The selection process consists of an interview, which may be organized jointly with another department in the case of a double application.

Should the interview be organized jointly with another department, the other department’s procedure applies during the interview process (check their rules accordingly), and a member of the DEC may be present to ask the candidate additional questions.  Otherwise, the selection process consists of a 25-minute interview with three department members and contains a) a specialized exercise, and b) a general discussion during which applicants will be asked about their previous education, their motivation, and any scientific experience they may have.

Admission selection criteria

Admission is based on an evaluation of the applicant’s knowledge, ability to analyze, scientific potential, originality, open-mindedness, critical eye, initiative, and their motivation to learn through research (note the ENS’s motto).