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L3 University students admission based on competitive examination

Application 2022-2023: March - April , 2022 (closed)

The ENS recruits students from all over the world to prepare the ENS Diploma (DENS). These students are selected after the second year of "Licence" (L2, BSc year 2, 120 ECTS).
Selection is based on a two-step examination including
(1) an evaluation of the application file (“admissibilité” or eligibility), and
(2) oral examinations (“admission”).
Students from French preparatory classes for entrance to the Grandes Écoles (CPGE) who have obtained their L2 by a transfer of credits are eligible. However, the qualifications required to access the Biology path through this competitive examination are different than the one asked to the CPGE, with an emphasis on research experience. Good grades in CPGE do not guarantee a successful outcome.

Applications to more than one department are accepted. Be aware that the exams and the expectations can be different from one department to the other.

Students admitted to prepare the ENS Diploma enter the 3rd year of Licence (L3) at the ENS biology department. After validation of the L3, they can proceed with the PSL Life Sciences Master (IMaLiS track, organised at the ENS Biology Department). The successful applicants will have the “étudiant Normalien” status (as opposed to the “élève Normalien” status). They will not receive a salary nor a fellowship. However, they will attend the same courses as the élèves Normaliens, will benefit from the international partnerships of the ENS and will be able to apply for accommodation during their first year.


Guidelines to the application process

Students having completed two years (L2, 120 ECTS) in a French or European University or having achieved two years of a Biology BSc (or equivalent) in the UK or in a non-European country are eligible to apply for a L3 in Biology.

Application are made through the PRINS recruiting website.
Moreover, you will have to send at the email address, licbio at, a pdf file with the file name written in the following manner: 2022LastnameFirstname.pdf

You will need to provide the following items in this unique file:
1. the signed online application declaration
2. a curriculum vitae, with a mention of your level of French language 
3. one identity/passport photo
4. a letter of motivation
5. photocopies of academic diplomas and corresponding official transcripts with course titles
6. name and emails of two referees (from academia and/or research field).

Last, we ask you to request your referees to send their letter to the email address licbio at with your last name and first name as object of the email and 2022LastnameFirstname_Referee’sLastname.pdf as the file name.

Documents can be either in French or English.

Applications process closed on April 29, 2022

The board of examiners for the “admissibilité” (1st round of selection) will meet on May 24th, 2022.
The results of this 1st round of selection should be available begining of June.
The Biology department will then notify the candidates of the oral examination which will take place from June 28th to 30th, 2022.
The selected candidates will have to provide the current year (L2) syllabus from their university or programme of origin.

Oral examination procedure

IMPORTANT: all oral admission tests will be held on our site in Paris.
- One oral interview of 30 min on June 28th & 29th, 2022 will allow examiners to evaluate broadly the level in biology and the motivation of the candidate. If the grade of this exam is below 10, it will be disqualifying. The disqualified candidates will be notified of their grade, and they will not be called to the specialty oral exam.

- One biology oral exam of 30 min on June 30th, 2022 will focus on the syllabus content of the L2 year, as provided by the student.

The board of examiners for the admission will meet on beginning of July, 2022.