Instituts d'études politiques

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Instituts d'études politiques (English: Institutes of Political Studies), or IEPs, are nine publicly owned institutions of higher learning in France. They are located in Aix-en-Provence, Bordeaux, Grenoble, Lille, Lyon, Paris, Rennes, Strasbourg[1] and Toulouse, and their vocation is the study and research of contemporary political science. They are distinct from other elite French schools, most notably the highly specialized grandes écoles (although they are usually considered as such), given their multi-disciplinary approach to teaching. All students at the IEPs study a curriculum that is highly practical and broadbased, focusing on the full range of the social sciences.

These establishments are more known in the familiar language under the name of Sciences Po (or Science-Po), followed by the name of the city where they are located (for example Sciences Po Strasbourg). The epithet Sciences Po without precision of place indicates the IEP Paris. The Paris Institute is referred to as simply the Sciences Po because it is the school after which all other IEPs in France were modelled from the inception of the IEP system by Charles de Gaulle in 1945, apart from Strasbourg, which was created by the same law but with the status of an internal institute of the Robert Schuman University. IEP Paris is the heir to the Ecole Libre des Sciences Politiques, often referred to as Ecole des Sciences Politiques or simply the Sciences Po, and its prestige.

According to article 2 of an 18 December 1989 decree, their mission is : 1° to contribute to the training of higher civil servants as well as executives in the public, para-public and private sectors, notably in the State and decentralized communities 2° to develop the research in political and administrative sciences

The Sciences Po approach and style inspired many universities in France but also abroad (the most famous example is that of the London School of Economics, founded on the model of the Ecole Libre des Sciences Politiques).

The nine Instituts d'études politiques are:

The other Instituts d'études politiques around the world are :


Every year an inter-IEP competition is held, hosted by the hometown of one of the IEPs and attended by participants from all 9 IEPs. The first crit, as it is known colloquially, was created in 1987 by the IEPs of Bordeaux and Toulouse who decided to have a friendly rugby match.

This competition takes the form of a 3-day sports event and party, and is held over the last weekend of March, run by the host university's "Sports office". The hosting of an event generally costs about 200,000 euros, funded by the participants, as well as by sponsors and grants. The hosting of the event is rotated between the different IEPs each year.



Each of the 9 instituts has a distinctive colour and distinctive symbols:

  • Aix-en-Provence. Colours: Red and gold. Symbol : An "X", cicadas and "Pastaga-man".
  • Toulouse. Colours : Pink and white. Symbol: A pig or hog.
  • Bordeaux. Colours : Red and black. Symbol: A bottle of red wine.
  • Rennes. Colours: Orange and black. Symbol : A reindeer called "René".
  • Paris. Colours: Yellow and black. Symbol: A lion and a fox.
  • Lille. Colours: Red and white. Symbol: A giant mussel
  • Strasbourg. Colours: Blue and white. Symbol: A stork called "Josy". Nicknamed the "Strohteam".
  • Lyon. Colours: Blue and red. Symbol: a lion called "Lyonix".
  • Grenoble. Colours: Blue and yellow. Nicknamed "Ikea" due to their colours.


Paris and Aix-en-Provence are the usual winners of the trophy