Master ENS-ICFP, Master

  • Application Deadline
  • 24 months
  • Tuition Fee
    300 EUR/year
    Tuition fee
    300 EUR/year
    Tuition fee
  • English
University rank #69 (ARWU) ,
At Ecole normale suprieure, recently ranked second worldwide among small Universities, the International Centre for Fundamental Physics and its Interfaces offers a two-year masters program in Physics.


The curriculum provides a thorough understanding of the theoretical and experimental basis of Fundamental Physics, covering a broad spectrum including statistical physics, high energy physics, atomic physics, condensed matter physics, astrophysics and physics for biology.

The program is spread over two years (120 ECTS/full-time). It is also possible to join the program directly for the second year. The academic year is divided into two semesters. Each year starts with the course activities (first semester- 30 ECTS). The second semester of the first year is dedicated to an internship in France or abroad. The second semester of the second year begins with a short research internship and finishes with optional courses.

The first year presents an in-depth introduction to modern physics, particularly in statistical physics, quantum mechanics and relativity.

The second year offers the student the possibility to specialize in the field of their choice including a mandatory research internship. It often takes place in a foreign laboratory and it represents genuine research work: very often students realize their first scientific publication.

The second year is organized in four programs of study:

  • Theoretical Physics
  • Quantum Physics: from atom to solid state
  • Soft matter and biological physics
  • Condensed Matter Physics

Written examinations usually take place at the end of each semester.

The masters degree in Fundamental Physics is led by the department of Physics- International Centre for Fundamental Physics- at the Ecole normale supérieure. Courses are jointly organized with the following partner universities and institutions:

  • Université Pierre et Marie Curie (UPMC)
  • Université Paris Diderot
  • Université Paris-Sud
  • Ecole Polytechnique (second year)

The degree awarded after two years is a "diplôme national de master" (120 ECTS- equivalent to a Master of Science). It can be delivered by the Ecole normale supérieure and partner institutions, and gives access to doctoral studies.

As part of their studies, students also have access to several courses of foreign languages (French as a foreign language but also English, German, Arabic, Chinese, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Russian, etc.).

Why choose this program?

The Master of Fundamental Physics is a prestigious degree that is specifically intended for outstanding French and international students wishing to obtain a first-class education in fundamental physics. Since its founding in 1794, the ENS has played a pivotal role in educating the French academic elite (among them many Nobel laureates, most recently in Physics Claude Cohen-Tannoudji (1997), Albert Fert (2007) and Serge Haroche (2012)).

By choosing this masters degree :

  • You will be taught by a unique blend of internationally leading researchers from ENS and its four partner institutions.
  • You will benefit from individual tutorials, advice and support from the faculty regarding your choices of courses, research internships and your overall academic future.
  • You will enjoy the exceptional scientific and intellectual spirit embraced by the academic staff members on a day-to-day basis.
  • You will receive the individual attention needed to develop into an independent researcher, whatever career path you ultimately choose to pursue.

Physics research at ENS received an overall A+ ranking (highest ranking) at the 2008 AERES evaluation (French evaluation agency for research and higher education).

Most courses offered in the first and second year of the Masters program are taught in English.

Programme Structure

Program Description

The first year

The first year offers a wealth of lectures covering a wide range of topics in modern physics, from fundamental interactions to biophysics, and also several aspects of quantum mechanics and condensed matter physics, to name just a few. Students follow those lectures, chosen according to their interests and for a total of 30 ECTS (the condensed matter course is compulsory), during the first semester. The second semester is devoted to a 6-month research internship in French or foreign laboratories, in any field of physics or its interfaces.

The second year

The second year is organized around four different programs: Theoretical physics; Quantum Physics: from atom to solid state; Macroscopic Physics and Complexity and Condensed Matter Physics. The first semester is dedicated to courses (30 ECTS). Each student enrolls in a program in which he/she follows compulsory and optional courses. In exceptional cases, the student can include in his/her program one optional course from another area of study, in agreement with his/her head of studies. In the second semester, students are expected to complete an internship relevant to their course of study (18 ECTS) plus four optional courses chosen from any program (4x 3 ECTS). These optional courses must be approved by the head of the studies.


The two-year program prepares students for doctoral studies in fundamental physics, focusing mainly on a general education during the first year and in-depth studies during the second year. Thesis subjects offered by the host laboratories cover most of the fields in fundamental physics as well as more applied fields.

After completing their thesis, most students go on to academic careers, based in universities, research institutes or laboratories, but many also embark in the increasing range of science-related career paths.

An introduction to research careers is organized for physics students during the second year of the program.

Detailed Programme Facts

  • Programme intensity Full-time
    • Full-time duration 24 months
  • Credits
    120 ECTS
  • Languages
    • English
  • Delivery mode
    On Campus

English Language Requirements

This programme requires students to demonstrate proficiency in English.

Academic Requirements

The International Centre for Fundamental Physics welcomes applications from highly qualified French and international students with a solid background in physics and mathematics who hold a Bachelors degree or an equivalent academic qualification.

Direct admission into the second year is possible for suitably qualified French and international students. As a general rule, students from French engineering schools (for instance Ecole Polytechnique) and students who already hold a minimum of 60 ECTS in the field of interest at post-graduate level are welcomed.

Please note that the Master in Fundamental Physics is part of the study program of the International Centre for Fundamental Physics at Ecole normale suprieure. Admission to each level is highly selective, and an overall assessment will be made of the applicants suitability to complete the full curriculum.


Good working ability in English is required for admission. There is no formal French language requirement. International students can attend courses in French as a foreign language during their studies at ENS.

Tuition Fee

  • International

    300 EUR/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 300 EUR per year and a duration of 24 months.
  • EU/EEA

    300 EUR/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 300 EUR per year and a duration of 24 months.

Registration fees of less than 300 euros per year are to be paid on arrival (add approximately 200 euros for health insurance).

There are no additional tuition fees

Living costs for Paris

1,140 - 1,650 EUR/month
Living Costs

The living costs include the total expenses per month, covering accommodation, public transportation, utilities (electricity, internet), books and groceries.



Thanks to the funding support of the French national research agency, the ICFP is pleased to launch a new scholarship program. Each year, 6 to 10 scholarships will be awarded. Awards are available for full-time study in the masters program in Physics at ENS-ICFP.

These scholarships are intended to support students of the highest calibre with outstanding academic record and may be offered to applicants of any country that meet the academic requirements.

The scholarship provides a living stipend (up to 12000 euros/year) and is awarded for one year. It may be renewed once for students following the two-year program depending on their academic achievement.

You may apply to Scholarships via the online application process.

StudyPortals Tip: Students can search online for independent or external scholarships that can help fund their studies. Check the scholarships to see whether you are eligible to apply. Many scholarships are either merit-based or needs-based.