Entrance into the principal curriculum at ENA that prepares for careers in the higher civil service is by competitive examination. This is taken either at the conclusion of university-level study, or while the candidate is already in the civil service or in professional life outside. There are three separate entrance examinations for entry to ENA each year; as noted above, these are:
- the concours externe for students having received a university-level diploma for at least the equivalent of three years of studies after secondary school (bac+3)
- the concours interne for career civil servants or government employees with at least four years’ professional experience; no diploma is required
- the troisième concours for elected officials, labor leaders and private-sector employees, with a total of at least eight years of professional or elected experience; no diploma is required.
These 3 competitive entrance examinations have been open to citizens of the European Union since 2004. It should also be noted that no-one can take a single type of entrance examination more than three times, or any combination of the three examinations more than five times.