École Normale Supérieure
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|École normale supérieure|
|Postgraduates||Masters, agrégation, Ph.D|
|Nickname||ENS Ulm, Normale Sup'|
|Affiliations||Paris Sciences et Lettres - Quartier latin,
The École normale supérieure (French pronunciation: [ekɔl nɔʁmal sypeʁjœʁ]; also known as Normale sup’, Normale, and ENS) is a French grande école (higher education establishment outside the mainstream framework of the public universities system). The ENS was initially conceived during the French Revolution, and it was intended to provide the Republic with a new body of teachers, trained in the critical spirit and secular values of the Enlightenment. It has since developed into an elite institution which has become a platform for many of France's brightest young people to pursue high-level careers in government and academia and symbolizes the independence of mind.
Founded in 1793, reformed by Napoleon, ENS has two main sections : Sciences (Mathematics, Physical, Chemistry, Computational, Biology, Geology, and Medicine) and Humanities (Letters and human and social sciences : Literature, Latin and Greek, Archaeology, Philosophy, History, Geography, Law, Economy, Political sciences, Sociology, Psychology, Public Administration). ENS has a gymnasium but no sport section but the university-sister of ENS-Cachan has a sport-section to train the elite of sport-teachers and even a design section.
ENS has a thorough selection process which requires hard work and willpower (with written and oral tests), excellence and prestige to train students to a high level, a rigorous and methodical mind and an original personality who will be the elite of society with a view to culture, scientific research (in sciences and humanities) and power. ENS students are paid and are students and officials at the same time.
The principal target of ENS is the formation of the elite of teachers (in secondary school, universities and preparatory classes), researchers and more broadly the elite of different public administrations. Its alumni have provided France with scores of philosophers, writers, scientists, statesmen, officials and diplomats, journalists, lawyers, directors, managers and even officers in the army and churchmen. Among them are 12 Nobel Prize laureates, 10 Fields Medalists, 1 Gauss Prize laureate, and 2 recipients of the John Bates Clark Medal in Economics, one President of French Republic (Georges Pompidou) and some Prime Ministers (Leon Blum in 1936, Laurent Fabius between 1984 and 1986, Alain Juppé between 1995 and 1997) and lot of ministers.
For a long time, women were taught at a separate ENS. The two were merged, after some heated debate, into a single entity, with its main campus at the historic site at the rue d'Ulm in Paris.
The ENS system is different from that of most higher education systems outside France, thus making it difficult to compare; in particular, it is much smaller than a typical English collegiate university. Nevertheless, ENS has been consistently ranked 18th to 33rd in the QS World University Rankings since their inception; in particular, it was ranked the best higher-education institution in Continental Europe in 2006 and 2007, and has remained among the top three in the same category since then.
The historic Paris ENS campus is located around the rue d'Ulm, the main building being at 45 rue d'Ulm in the 5th arrondissement of Paris. The ENS-Ulm has annex campuses on Boulevard Jourdan (previously, the women's college) ( , elsewhere in Paris), and in Montrouge (a suburb; ), as well as a biology annex in the countryside at Foljuif.
Two other écoles normales supérieures were established in the 19th century: the École Normale Supérieure de Lyon (sciences & humanities); and the École Normale Supérieure de Cachan (pure and applied sciences, sociology, economics and management, English language) in Cachan. All three together form the informal ENS-group.
The École normale supérieure is a member of Paris Sciences et Lettres - Quartier latin, a union of five higher education institutions, all located in Paris, which aims at achieving cooperations and synergies in the academic field.
The École normale supérieure cooperates in Atomium Culture, the first Permanent Platform for European Excellence that brings together some of Europe's leading universities, newspapers and businesses.
Originally founded to train high school teachers through the agrégation, it is now an institution training researchers, professors, high-level civil servants, as well as business and political leaders. It focuses on the association of training and research, with an emphasis on freedom of curriculum.
Its alumni include ten laureates of the Fields Medal (all French holders of the Fields medal were educated at the École normale supérieure), as well as several Nobel Prize winners in both science and literature.
Like many other grandes écoles, the ENS mostly enrolls its students two or three years after high school. The majority of them come from prépas (preparatory classes, see grandes écoles) and have to pass France's most selective competitive exams. Studies at ENS last four years. Many students devote at least one of those years to the agrégation, which allows them to teach in high schools or universities. ENS-Ulm annually enrolls about 100 students in science and the same number in the humanities.
The normaliens, as the students of the ENS are known, are expected to maintain a level of excellence in the various disciplines in which they are trained. Normaliens from France and other European Union countries are considered civil servants in training. As such, they are paid a monthly salary (about 1350€), with a great freedom in their studies at ENS, in exchange for an agreement to serve France for 10 years, including their studies. Although it is seldom applied in practice, this exclusivity clause is redeemable (often by the hiring firm).
Apart from the normaliens, ENS also welcomes selected foreign students ("international selection"), as well as selected students from neighbouring universities, to follow the same curriculum but without a stipend. It also participates in various graduate programs and has extensive research laboratories.
The fictitious mathematician Nicolas Bourbaki's "association of collaborators" is based at ENS.
Free online content
Some lectures are in free access on the "Transfer of knowledge" site of the ENS.
About sixty books are in free access on the "Éditions Rue d'Ulm" site, all in French.
Alumni and faculty
- École normale supérieure de Cachan
- École normale supérieure de Lyon
- Alumni of the École Normale Supérieure
- École Normale Supérieure faculty
- École polytechnique
- École nationale supérieure des mines de Paris
- École centrale Paris
- Paris Universitas
- Atomium Culture
Notes and references
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to École Normale Supérieure.|
- ENS Cachan
- A. J. Ladd, École Normale Supérieure: An Historical Sketch (Grand Forks, North Dakota : Herald Pub. Co., 1897)