ENS graduate degree in Humanities

Academic paths for the normaliens in Humanities

Every normalien choose and arrange their own academic careers, with at least:

  •  1/3 of the ECTS gathered for the ENS graduate degree have to be in their main discipline (this discipline being the one of the research-oriented ‘’s degree they have to undertake besides) and
  • 1/3 of the ECTS in another discipline.

In addition to these courses in the strict sense, “opening experiences” are taken into account and fully recognised for the ENS graduate degree. During their academic career at the ENS, all normaliens must validate at least 3 categories among 4:

collective research experience, “outside the walls” experience, linguistic or international experience, transdisciplinary experience.

Last but not least, there are also language courses (at least 1 semester per year) and the possibility of a “minor speciality”, with specifically validated paths. This minor speciality will appear on the diploma, besides the main speciality.

The objectives of the ENS graduate degree in Humanities

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.

Camembert: 3rd year of bachelor’s degree ; 1st year of master’s degree ; 2nd year of master’s degree

ENS graduate degree in Humanities

Courses of the main department: Art history, Classics, Cognitive studies, Economics, Geography, History, Literature and languages, Philosophy, Social sciences

Courses in other departments:

- Language course for 1 semester a year;

- To obtain a minor speciality: validate at least 48 ECTS (Arab studies, diplomacy and geopolitics, etc.)

Opening courses:

- Professional experiences: internships in companies or in public services

- Opening experiences: knowledge promotion and dissemination (Talens programmes, PESU, etc.)

- Language course for 1 semester a year;


Courses outside the main discipline can be structured in paths leading to a “minor speciality” indicated on the diploma (at least 48 ECTS). Paths are organised around a theme, geographical area or a specific project, and combines courses at the ENS (language and civilisation courses, for example) with internships and/or stays aboard. 1st year students do not have to decide to follow all the courses of a path. However, if hey get interested in one of these fields, it is in their best interests to validate the courses offered within this path.


Mis à jour le 3/9/2019