Master ICFP

Lieu ENS-PSL Sorbonne Université Université Paris Cité Université Paris Saclay
22 mois
Master 1 Master 2 - En anglais
Contact - Secrétariat de l’enseignement :

Tél : + 33(1) 44 32 35 60


The ICFP  Master is a top-level program designed specifically for the best French and international students.

By choosing the École normale supérieure (ENS), students are assured of benefiting from the prestigious teaching that has made the ENS's reputation since its creation in 1794.

ICFP Master program director: Giulio BIROLI

The Master's program at the Centre International de Physique Fondamentale et de ses Interfaces (ICFP) offers a comprehensive and diversified training in fundamental physics, both theoretical and experimental.

It covers a broad spectrum of fields, including high-energy physics, statistical physics, atomic physics, condensed matter physics, astrophysics, soft-matter and physics for biology.

The Master's in Fundamental Physics is run by the École normale supérieure. The program is organized jointly with the following partner institutions and universities: Sorbonne Université, Université de Paris, Université Paris-Saclay and Institut Polytechnique de Paris (second year).

The Master's program lasts two years (120 ECTS): M1 (first year) and M2 (second year). It is also possible to enter the second year directly. 
The academic year is divided into two semesters.

  • Each year begins with a course of study (first semester - 30 ECTS).
  • The second semester consists in :

    • an internship in France or abroad for the first year.
    • a short-term research internship and optional courses for the second year.



The Master's in Fundamental Physics is a top-level program designed specifically for the best French and international students. By choosing the École normale supérieure (ENS), students are assured of benefiting from the prestigious teaching that has made the ENS's reputation since its creation in 1794. The physics department has trained generations of world-renowned physicists. Among the most recent are Claude Cohen-Tannoudji, Albert Fert and Serge Haroche, who won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1997, 2007 and 2012 respectively. But older include Pierre-Gilles De Gennes, Jean Perrin, Gabriel Lippmann, Alfred Kastler, Louis Néel .

Master ICFP advantages are: (i) immersion in a cutting-edge research ecosystem, working closely with a major laboratory and scientific innovation, in an exceptional scientific and intellectual spirit adopted on a daily basis by the teaching team; (ii) international exposure: students will be trained by a unique mix of researchers from ENS and its partner institutions, leaders at the international level; (iii) individual tutorials, advice and support from the faculty regarding course selection, research internships and academic futures in general; (iv) a wide range of career opportunities, in both public and industrial research.

In its most recent evaluation, the AERES (Agence d'Evaluation de la Recherche et de l'Enseignement Supérieur) awarded the Physics Department an A+ (top rating) for research and teaching in the field of physics.



The Master of Fundamental Physics is aimed at students with a Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Engineering degree and a solid grounding in fundamental physics and mathematics.

It is possible for French and international students to enter directly into the second year (M2), provided they have validated the 60 ECTS credits corresponding to the M1, at a level and in fields compatible with the chosen program. These students may come from generalist physics university courses (M1 in "physics and applications"), or from engineering schools (e.g. ESPCI-PSL, Mines de Paris-PSL, Institut Polytechnique de Paris) when a course of study focusing on fundamental physics has been chosen. Candidates should have a thorough grounding in quantum physics and statistical physics.

The Master of Fundamental Physics is part of the curriculum delivered by the Physics Department of the ENS. Admission is highly selective, and a thorough assessment of each candidate's application and abilities will be carried out at each entry level (M1 and M2).


A good knowledge of English, level C1, is required for admission to the ICFP master's program.

Fees and Scholarships


For the 2023/2024 academic year, the registration fee is 243 euros.

Since the start of the 2018 academic year, registration requires prior payment of the Contribution Vie Etudiante et de Campus (Student and Campus Life Contribution) to the CROUS.

The CVEC is intended to promote social, health, cultural and sports reception and support for students and to bolster preventive and health education initiatives. The annual fee is €100.


Students coming from abroad, either in M1 or M2, can also apply for a scholarship. The one year scholarship obtained in M1 can be renewed in second year, subject to attendance and results in M1

*PSL graduate program Scholarships :

When applying to the ICFP master, students may apply also to PSL master scholarships. Those scholarship 10k€/year require internships in a PSL related laboratory. These scholarships are awarded for 2 years and subject to completion of the required number of credits to go through to the following year of study.

*Call for Applications - PSL PhD Track 2024

Application Timeline
Opening date:  17 october 2023
Closing date: 11 december 2023 (CET Time 11:59)

In 2023, PSL is renewing its call for applications for its Phd track programs.
Highly selective and entirely taught in English, these five-year programs are intended for high-potential students who wish to take on the scientific challenges of tomorrow and be trained, from their Master’s to the completion of their PhD, as close as possible to research in PSL’s laboratories and its international partners.
Accessible after an undergraduate degree, the PSL Phd tracks offer funding for the entire duration of graduate studies.
With the PhD Track Grants, PSL is committed to promoting excellence and equal opportunities for students.

*Call for applications: International Master’s Scholarship program IDEX 

Application Timeline

 Deadline for application in master to be selected:  to be announced
- Once selected, deadline for receipt scholarship application: to be announced 

Université Paris-Saclay aims to promote access for international students to its Master’s programmes, provided by its faculties, component-institutions and associated universities, and to make it easier for highly-qualified international students to join the University, especially for those wishing to develop an academic project through research up to the doctoral level. These scholarships are awarded for 1 or 2 years to students enrolled in a Master’s programme at Université Paris-Saclay, depending on their admission level (M1 or M2), and subject to completion of the required number of credits to go through to the following year of study.

*Call for applications: SMARTS-UP, international scholarships for Master’s students

The SMARTS-UP Graduate Schools programme, managed by the Université Paris Cité, aims to promote the internationalisation of Master's programmes and help attract the best international students in order to constitute a pool of excellence for the recruitment of future doctoral students.

In this context, we offer € 10,000 scholarships for the academic year 2024-2025 to allow Graduate Schools taking part in this project to welcome international students in their Masters programmes. The scholarships are awarded for one year.

Submit your application before 5 p.m. (CET) on Friday 19th January 


It is not possible to combine all those scholarships.


After the master

This Master provides a general course of study during the first year and opportunities for specialization in the second year. Students have the opportunity to work in laboratories covering most of the fields of fundamental physics, including the most highly applied forms.
Upon completion of a dissertation, students have mainly access to careers in academia or with major research agencies (CNRS, CEA, IN2P3). Students can also leverage their hands-on research experience to proceed along a different professional path, ranging from teaching, public administration and consulting, to industrial or business careers.
The second year includes a seminar dedicated to research professions.

Note bene : This degree primarily leads to careers in public or industrial research.
Students interested in teaching careers at secondary education level are advised to follow a more suitable curriculum, in order to prepare the French Ministry of National Education’s competitive hiring exams (CAPES and Agrégation).

General information
  • Administrative registration

All students admitted to the program are required to complete an administrative registration with one of the partner institutions in order to validate their course. 

- Applicants previously enrolled in one of the partner institutions (Sorbonne Université, Université Paris Cité, Université Paris-Saclay, ENS or Institut Polytechnique de Paris) must renew their enrolment with their home institution.

- Applicants who do not belong to one of the above categories will be enrolled in one of the Master's partner university. This choice is made by the Master's program director.

  • Course registration

The study program, i.e. the selection of courses, starts in September.

  • Visa and residence permit

You don't need to apply for a student visa if you are a citizen of the European Economic Area (EU), Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein, Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, Switzerland or the Vatican. Since the 1st January 2021, British citizens must apply for a visa to study in France.

However, if you are not a citizen of the European Union, you will need to apply for a "VLS-TS" visa (Visa de Long Séjour pour études-Titre de Séjour).

- If you are a citizen from a country with a CEF (Etudes en France) procedure, you must apply via Études en France.

 Check if your home country is concerned by the CEF procedure and if so, apply through the Campus France website

- If you are a citizen from a country not concerned by the CEF procedure, the French consular authorities in your country of residence will advise you on the procedure for the visa application to follow.

  • Information for international students

 Here, you find a brief explanation on the french academic system.

There are three French university degrees: the licence (bachelor’s), the master and the doctorat (PhD). 
- The licence is prepared in three years after obtaining the baccalauréat (high-school degree). 
- The master is prepared in two years: M1 (first year of master) and M2 (second year of master). 
- The doctorat is usually prepared in three years.

Students can enrol in M1 in one university and in M2 in another one. Traditionally, many french students attend M1 in the same university or grande école in which they got the licence. 
Accordingly, the number of students in M1 of master ICFP is approximatively 40 and in M2 is approximatively 120.

During the M2, students choose the PhD subject and the supervisor, and apply for fellowships. The are several types of PhD contracts, some based on fellowships by the French Ministry of Education, some funded by research grants, 
and also by private companies and foundations.






How to apply

The 2024/2025 Call for applications

Master ICFP has a limited capacity. Admission is therefore very selective and a thorough assessment of each candidate’s application will be made.

List of documents to be submitted on the dedicated platform:

Candidate’s picture in jpg format
A completed application form
Curriculum Vitae (in pdf format)
Statement of Purpose (in pdf format - one page)
Scanned copies of academic transcripts (in pdf or jpg format)
2 Letters of Reference (each letter must be on letterhead and signed by the referee, see below)

Applications are only made online. Documents sent by post or email will not be accepted. Incomplete applications, or applications received after the closing date for registration won’t be considered.

To apply:

→ Step 1/ Fill your application on the application platform
Step 2/ Examination of your application by the jury of the master
Step 3/ You are informed of the answer by email (on the email address indicated in your application).

2024/2025 Application Timeline

  • Master 1:

January 11: Online application site opens

March 11 (11.59pm CET): Application deadline

March 11 (11.59pm CET): Submission of letter of recommendation by the recommender deadline

April 22 to May 5: Interviews of short-listed applicants (video conferences)

End of May: Admission results (All applicants receive an e-mail, whether or not they are selected).


  • Master 2 :

February 1, 2024 (02.00pm CET): Online application site opens 

April 30, 2024 (11.59pm CET): Application deadline

April 30, 2024 at (11.59pm CET): Submission of letter of recommendation by the recommender deadline

End of May: Admission results (All applicants receive an e-mail, whether or not they are selected).

For all administrative questions concerning the ICFP master's program, please contact us at