The Ecole Normale Superieure

Ecole Normale Superieur Photo

The Ecole normale supérieure (ENS)

The Ecole normale supérieure is a prestigious institution created during the French Revolution in order to unite bright citizens and instruct them in the art of teaching. The school participated in many of France's great debates. Some of its well-known graduates include Léon Blum, Louis Pasteur, Simone Weil, Aimé Césaire, Assia Djebar.  Only 2400 students, highly selected, are studying at the ENS. The Ecole normale supérieure has the only open-stack research library in France. (Click the link to read a presentation of l'Ecole.)

HILI students are considered ENS students during the academic year. They will receive an ID ("Pensionnaire étranger") that allows them to take courses (see departments below), that gives them access to the ENS library, and lets them participate in its rich cultural life.

Discover the ENS campus

List of Departments open to HILI students

Note that exceptions can be made if it would be necessary for a student to take a course in another department. All courses are M.A. level courses.

Department of Literature and Languages (French and Francophone literature, German, English, Spanish, Italian, Russian)

History Department

History and Theory of the Arts Department (Aesthetic, Cinema, Theater, History of Art, Music)

Philosophy Department

Sciences of Antiquity Department

Language Department (the department offers many languages, among them Arabic, Bambara, Corean, Persian, Russian ...)

Sample Courses at ENS (Previous Years)

For an up-to-date listing of ENS courses, visit the ENS Site:

Sample offerings from previous years. (Note that many more options are available, and Associate Director of Studies Keithley Woolward advises students in the choice of courses depending on their research interests).

Questions de théorie littéraire: théories post-coloniales. Dominique Combe
Histoire de la critique et des théories littéraires. Dominique Combe
L'Argent dans la peinture. Nadeije Laneyrie-Dagen
Par delà le cadre national: connexions, circulations et interactions en histoire moderneRahul Markovits
Histoire et mémoire du nazismeMarie Benédicte Vincent
Le Moyen-Age en question. Valérie Theis
Etat, marchés et globalisation au temps de la première mondialisation. Blaise Wilfert-Portal
Géopolitique des avant-gardes, Beatrice Joyeux-Prunel
Hospitalités, inhospitalités. Marc Porée
Voyages littéraires. Agnes Derail.
Histoire du livre. Isabelle Pantin
La philosophie entre la guerre et la paix: 1913-1945. Marc Crepon et Frederic Worms.
Filmer les origines. Antoine de Baecque
Quand le cinéma pense la politique.  Marc Crepon et Françoise Zamour