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 + M1). 

The application must be sent according to the rules stipulated above.  Two letters of recommendations must be sent directly by the referees to

In addition, applicants for the diplôme de l’ENS must also go through the admission process for the master’s of cognitive science, the Cogmaster.  Note that the selection process for the Cogmaster includes two interviews with members of the Cogmaster selection committee, which must be done independently of the interview applicants must go through for the diplôme de l’ENS.

Based on the paper applications, we will invite a small number of applicants for an in-person interview, which will take place at the end of June or beginning of July.  This interview will include a specialized exercise designed based on the candidates’ profiles (applicants will be allowed a period of preparation to think about the exercise), and a general discussion.

List of application documents

  • Application notice, retrieved from the web app
  • A copy of the candidate’s Cogmaster application (including all related paperwork, except the signatures obtained during the selection process interviews, in the event that they are not completed before the application for the diplôme de l’ENS is submitted).
  • 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
  • Copies of all transcripts

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.

Finally, for admission at the M1 level, special attention is paid to any research experience the candidates may have.

Selection process

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).