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ARPE (International Pre-Doctoral Research Year) Year

The ARPE year gives students a chance to carry out long-term research work (9 months) in a research laboratory abroad, which the selected Ecole Normale student has decided is suitable for this particular year (Research programme) as part of their ENS Paris-Saclay degree. This acts as a great opportunity to have a rewarding research experience at the start of their academic training. The objective of this ARPE year is to get a feel for the culture and methods of design research laboratories. Students receive credits for this fully-fledged training year as part of their ENS Paris-Saclay degree. Ecole Normale students (irrespective of whether they are connected to the French Civil Service) who have completed their Master 1 year and who fulfil the conditions set out by the Design Teaching and Research Department (DER) in their application dossier can take part in the ARPE year. It generally takes place after the Master 1 has been completed, but, in some cases, it can also happen after the Master 2.

This particular year of the ENS Paris-Saclay degree meets a set of strict specifications. The application must be put together and submitted within a set timeframe, under the guidance of an identified member of staff from the Design department. Students take their own steps to establish the research project and prepare the application dossier. Support and advice may be provided by the head of the ARPE year in the Design DER, who is James Auger in this case. Students are strongly advised to keep in regular contact with James as the project is being created, in order to gain approval for the various preparatory steps. The opportunity to go on the ARPE year is finally approved following discussions with the head of the department, Caroline De Sa. As they must convey a positive image of the school abroad, the chosen students must demonstrate that they have a serious profile and are strongly motivated.

Advised timetable for preparing the ARPE project during the previous year (generally during the 1st year Master's degree M1).

First semester of previous year:
  • Deliberation about a research project.
  • Compilation of a list of laboratories related to the topic of the research project and initial contact made with laboratories abroad who could be interested in the candidate.
  • Conversations with James Auger (head of the ARPE course for the DER) in order to refine the project choice, as well as with the International Relations Department (SRI) in order to evaluate the feasibility of the project.

February of previous year:
  • Decision to take an ARPE year, made with the head of the department and the head of the ARPE programme.
  • The general framework of the research project is approved by the head of the potential host laboratory.

March-April of previous year: 
  • The application dossier for the ARPE year is drawn up.
  • The project is presented and defended in an interview with the head of the Design DER.

May of previous year: 
  • The chosen candidates are informed.
  • The choice of the host laboratory is approved with a written commitment sent to the deputy head of the course for approval.
  • A certificate is issued for the visa application. The course itself takes place (desired ARPE year and one year after)

September of desired ARPE year:
  • Students are registered and the agreement is put together. A research project is drawn up in French over 2-3 pages.
  • Oral presentation of an article/research project work for the host laboratory.
  • Vivas for students who left during the previous year. October-July: Professional immersion internship at the laboratory abroad.  January: Mid-course dissertation in English July: End-of-course dissertation in English September of final year: Viva in English in front of an audience. Preparation of an abstract in English.