Skip to main content

Academics

Field of Study: Social Sciences

Sciences Po is one of the most highly respected universities in France. It draws top students from all over the world interested in training to become future leaders in politics and management. Open exclusively to a limited number of UC majors, the curriculum focuses on political science, economics, international relations, law, and history. The comparative perspective of courses gives the curriculum a strong international dimension. 

Unique study opportunities

  • Learn alongside political science students from all over the world.
  • Actively engage with current European geopolitical topics.
  • Participate in lively debates with differing world views.
  • Receive an elite education from members of parliament and the French National Assembly in addition to career professors and visiting faculty.

Language

Language of Instruction: English, French

French Language Study: Required

Sciences Po Paris offers courses in both English and French, with French courses available only to students with requisite language skills. A French language course is required during the semester. If you have two years or more of French language, you can replace the French language course with a course taught in French.

When taking courses in French, overcoming the language barrier in the context of your courses may be a challenge at first. ​However, taking courses in French will afford you the opportunity to meet and interact with local students. You will be amazed at how your language competency will improve by being immersed in French courses. Many UCEAP alumni have reported that the best thing they did for themselves during their time abroad was push outside their comfort zone and take courses in French. 

Courses and credit

Requirements While Abroad

To successfully complete this program: 

  • Take a full-time course of study: Five courses for a total of 24–25 quarter/16–16.7 semester units.
  • You will enroll in one lecture course, three seminars, and one French language course.
  • If you have two years of university-level French, you can enroll in French-taught courses.
  • You can take up to two courses for pass/no pass per semester. 

Current Program Courses

All courses on this program are upper division. The fields offered at Sciences Po Paris are Economics, Law, History, International Relations, Political Science, and Sociology.

Research and independent study are typically not available on this program.

Catalogs and resources

Academic Culture

You’ll enroll in courses directly at Sciences Po prior to departure with assistance from the UC Study Center in Paris and UCEAP.

Before formal instruction begins, there is a mandatory welcome program. The welcome program includes social activities, an introduction to French culture, the French educational system, and specific tips about Sciences Po. There is no UC credit for the welcome program.

There are two main types of courses at Sciences Po. One type, called cours magistral, consists of a series of lectures held in amphitheaters for approximately 150 to 300 students. The lectures present a broad theoretical analysis of major issues and trends in the given field. The cours magistral meets for two hours per week and is supplemented by a mandatory conference session (20 to 24 students) that also meets for two hours per week. The second type of course is a seminar which meets for two to four hours per week and enrolls approximately 20 to 24 students. These seminars have a dedicated teaching assistant who runs 6 sessions of tutorials. Sciences Po also offers Art Workshops that are for small groups of 15 to 18 students. You must consult with the study center before signing up for an Art Workshop.  

The small group classes require a lot of participation, written exposés, continuous assessment, papers, a midterm, and a final exam. Participants report that lectures are comparable in size to UC, though the teaching style is drastically different. Professors expect you to take more notes than at UC, which requires strenuous effort since courses typically last for two hours with only a short break.
 
Unlike practices at UC, full syllabi, course readers, and published course notes are rarely available. You will get a syllabus on the first day of class however it may not be as thorough as a UC syllabus. You will need to keep notes of the topics covered each week so that you can develop a full syllabus to present to your academic advisors at UC.  Although assigned homework is rare, professors do provide extensive bibliographies from which you are expected to select books to read. You may not receive a schedule of reading assignments such as you might receive at UC.

On the final exam, you may be asked to present a broad, conceptual analysis of a given question based on lectures and independent reading. You must obtain a comprehensive knowledge of the subject through judicious reading.

Grades

You will earn direct UC credit and grades for all coursework. Grades for the fall semester are typically available in late March. Grades for the spring semester are typically available in late August.