The École nationale d’administration (ENA) was founded by a government order of 9th October 1945, under the auspices of General de Gaulle. ENA is a state administrative establishment which trains top level civil servants, preparing its students for careers in the highest ranks of the French administration: the “Conseil d’Etat” (State Council), the “Cour des Comptes” (Court of Auditors), the Inspectorates (General Inspectorates for Finance, for Administration, and for Social Affairs) and the prefectoral, diplomatic, and overseas trade promotion services. ENA also trains civil administrators and counsellors in administrative tribunals and regional courts of auditors, as well as administrators for the City of Paris.
Ecoles, Canada

The creation of ENA had a dual purpose: to standardize the recruitment of civil servants destined for a wide variety of careers previously accessible via separate competitive examinations, and to ensure professional training of the highest quality for these civil servants, who generally rise to the highest levels of public service.

In addition, the aim of the school is to be an European school of governance, at the crossroads of all new forms of public management. Europe now represents a civil servant’s natural field of action, and it is for the purpose of emphasizing this European dimension that the major part of ENA’s activities have been grouped together in Strasbourg.

The Long International Course (CIL)

The Long International Course (16 + 2 months: 1 To possibly write a Master’s thesis and prepare for its oral defense.) is open to overseas civil servants beginning their careers, to overseas public sector agents, and in certain cases, to foreigners who have not yet gained professional experience but are set to join the civil service in their home country. This course allows them to benefit from the same training as the French students at ENA, and in particular two internships, one based on European Affairs and one on Regional Affairs (France).


The candidate must:

- be a civil servant, a public sector agent, or, in exceptional cases, not yet have gained professional experience but be preparing for a career in the civil service for the benefit of his/ her home country

- hold a degree at Master 1 level or have completed an equivalent course

- occupy a high-ranking civil service post

- speak and write fluent French

- be fluent in English

- pass the school’s entrance examinations.


The programme for foreign students is as follows (for students starting their course in December 2013; the order of modules may change from December 2015):

- 1 month in December (year N-1) of preparation for the part in common with French students

- 15 months in common with the French students from the three competitive examinations (courses in Strasbourg and internships in administrations in France or abroad)

- 2 additional months (April and May of year N+1) to write and defend a final Master’s Degree thesis.

The preliminary one-month period in December consists mainly of classes in methodology, a review of basic subjects and modules as part of the Master’s Degrees available to students.

After this initial period, students on the Long International Course along with their French counterparts who passed the entrance examinations, take two of the three modules comprising the common core, Europe (European Affairs) and Territoires (Regional Affairs), over the first fifteen months of a 24-month course.

These two modules are built on the principle of complementarity between internships and academic classes. The schedule is as follows:



- Negotiation seminar

- Orientation

- Acquisition of tools and methods (obtaining and analysing European documents) practical exercises in communication and negotiation (researching one’s position as a negotiatior; drawing up documents)

- Preparation directly linked to the internship posting: lecture on internships, meetings with mentors.


Locations: European institutions, international organizations, French permanent representations and embassies, French administrations.


- European and international affairs: theory and learning activities

- Theory and learning activities on legal affairs in relation to the European theme

These classes are often taught in the form of practical modules, with individual exercises (writing notes on thematic dossiers) and group exercises, writing tasks and simulation exercises.




- Applied exercises in communication and negotiation (seminar on crisis management; chairing a meeting)

- Practical matters relating to the beginning of the internship



- Theory and learning activities in territorial administration and territorial public policies

- Theory and learning activities on legal issues, economic and social issues.

Note-writing on thematic dossiers is set alternately with roleplaying exercises (meeting simulations), round table discussions and lectures. Part of the classes are taken jointly with students from the Institut national d’études territoriales (INET) in Strasbourg, which trains territorial administrators.



Internships have a special place at ENA, and students spend almost two thirds of the duration of their course on them. For all students, whether French or from overseas, these internships involve taking responsibility: they are not periods of observation.  Within the government department or organization to which he or she is posted, the student is considered as a civil servant, with the duties and obligations pertaining to that status. He or she is put in charge of very varied jobs and missions, which will become more challenging as he or she gains the trust of his or her mentor.

Internship postings are decided by the Director of the School with input from the Director of Internships after a procedure gathering students’ internship preferences.

The two internships provide an appropriate framework for the discovery of different aspects of Administration, at the level of Europe, the State or of local and regional authorities (regions, departments and municipalities).

In a more general way, these periods allow the student to understand the life of the organizations in which he or she is posted and to establish contact in social and professional settings which are as diverse as possible.

After the internship, the student is required to write a five-page report which aims at the evaluation of the quality of his or her work and the lessons which the trainee has learned from it.

Following a viva on the content of the internship and what the student has learned, a mark for the internship is awarded is by an examining board.


Other than the marks for the internships, each module comprises marks for individual and group exams, written and oral. Emphasis is placed in the exams on using complementary competences to resolve complex problems. Thus a single exam may call upon several distinctly-taught subjects.

Diversity of practical action is the aim in drawing up the exam papers, so that the various kinds of theoretical knowledge and practical know-how to be acquired can be assessed in an appropriate way.

Students who have passed exams are awarded a CIL International

Diploma in Public Administration.

This diploma is awarded by the Directorate of the School on the basis of all the tests and assessments undertaken by each student. The pass mark is 10/20.


CIL students can register for one of the three high-level professional Masters programmes.

These Masters, taken in addition to the training dispensed by ENA, are taught in Strasbourg and last 18 months in total.  They begin in December of the first year, with an initial phase during which the first part of the additional classes associated with the Master’s Degree chosen is taught, and end in May of the second year. The last two months are given over to the second phase of classes of the three Masters, and to writing and defending the thesis.

In addition to taking and validating some of the modules taken throughout the course at ENA, the Masters include further advanced classes organised by the academic partners in the chosen subject, as well as methodology lessons.

Students must also carry out research, which they present in a thesis defended before a jury made up of their academic tutor, a teacher from the university awarding the degree and an ENA representative.


This Master’s programme organized in association with CELSA Paris IV-Sorbonne includes modules on political and public communication, and theories of information, communication and sociology. It also includes classes on public relations and relations with the press, and qualitative and quantitative studies. Students are finally required to write a thesis on an aspect of public or political communication.


This Master’s programme is organized in association with the University of Strasbourg (UdS) and its Institute of political sciences (IEP).  Students will follow additional module in economic and financial administration. The course is designed to provide participants with complete and accurate knowledge in this field on a national, European and compared basis. Additional lessons are provided by a team of teachers from IEP Strasbourg. Students are finally required to write a thesis on a topic of public administration.

Professional Master in Public action in Europe

This Master’s programme is organised jointly with the University of Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne. The additional modules focus on the analysis of public policies in Europe, and are taught by staff from the University of Paris 1. Students complete their course by writing a thesis on a subject to do with public policies or public action.

Other International Cycles


The International Advanced Training Course (8 months) allows experienced civil servants holding positions of responsibility to familiarize themselves with all facets of public management in France and in Europe. The aim of the course is to favour comparative approaches and pool experience, particularly during the core course of five months with the French administrators. This course offers an overview of the French administrative organizations, the reforms and modernization of the State and the implementation of public policy. It fulfils training needs identified by overseas Administrations which wish to task their executives with missions linked to France or to the European Union. This qualifying course is taken in addition to two Master’s programmes.


The candidate must:

- be a civil servant or a public sector agent

- hold a degree at Master 1 level or, in exceptional cases, have completed an equivalent course

- have a sufficient professional background (minimum 5 years) to share experience with French and foreign colleagues

- hold a position of responsibility

- speak and write fluent French

- be fluent in English

- pass the school’s entrance examinations.

The IRA international course (CiIRA)

Created from 1971 on France’s five Regional Institutes of Administration (IRA) based in Bastia, Lille, Lyon, Metz and Nantes train administrative “attachés”, the administrators that form the backbone of the French civil service. Civil servants working in general administration, “attachés” occupy management posts in a wide variety of areas: human resources management, finance, studies in legal, economic or social fields. They play active roles in managing change in a civil service that is in flux and they are trained in all the different methods of working and action in the public administration: management by objectives, team supervision and leadership, project management, networking, quality approach…

Each IRA takes 130 students each year recruited by different competitive entrance examinations.

In 2012, the IRA introduced a new 8-month course, the IRA international course, or CiIRA.


Applicants must:

- be civil servants or public sector officers,

- have a degree at Masters 1 level or have completed an equivalent course

- have at least some professional experience,

- speak and write fluent French,

- pass the joint ENA/IRA entrance examinations which require a good knowledge of the French administrative system and the European institutions


Rules concerning French nationality:

Foreign nationals who also hold French nationality cannot present themselves for the ENA’s international courses.

On-line registration procedure:

Application forms for international courses starting in 2016 must be completed on line on the ENA server


The registration servers will be open from October 15, 2015 to December 31,  2015. After that date, you must contact the Department of Co-operation and Cultural Action of the French Embassy in your country of residence. From that Department, you must obtain a paper application form; you must check that you are within the time limit for registration set by the Embassy.

Before proceeding with your registration, you must check that you meet the general admissibility conditions for the various courses (CIL / CIP / CIIRA).

The on-line registration form is made up of five sections, all of which you are required to complete: civil status / contact details / training / professional experience / registration for a course and choice of Master’s course.

At the end of the procedure, a PDF file will be generated. You are required to print the application form, complete in manuscript the sections that have remained vacant, sign the form, and send the original together with the additional items required* by post or bring it:

- to the Service de Coopération et d’Action Culturelle (SCAC – Department of Co-operation and Cultural Action) of the French Embassy in your country of residence. NB: SCACs themselves set deadlines for the receipt of applications on a country-by-country basis. You must contact them to ascertain the deadline for submission.

SCAC Ottawa:

Frédéric BESSAT

464, Wilbrod, Ottawa

Ontario K1N 6M8

613 593 7416

Exceptionally, and if you are living in France at the time of submitting applications, you can submit your application directly to: Service des relations avec les élèves étrangers – ENA, 2 Avenue de l’Observatoire, 75006 Paris, before 31 December 2015.

Reminder of the documents to be attached to the application:

- a colour passport photo to be stuck to the application form

-a CV in Europass format

-a copy of your passport or identity card

-a copy of your highest-level qualification and, where appropriate, its translation into French

-a covering letter explaining your reasons for wishing to follow an ENA and / or an IRA course, your career objectives on completing the ENA / IRA course, and how the course that you wish to follow will help you in your career path.