Sciences Po

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Paris Institute of Political Studies
Institut d'études politiques de Paris
Logo Sciences Po.svg
Former names
École libre des sciences politiques
Type Public, Grande école
Established 1872
Endowment €173 million
President Olivier Duhamel
Director Frédéric Mion
Academic staff
Students 13,000
Undergraduates 4000
Postgraduates 3900
Location Paris, Reims, Dijon, Le Havre, Nancy, Poitiers, Menton, France
Campus Urban
Nickname Sciences Po
Mascot The lion and the fox

Sciences Po (French pronunciation: ​[sjɑ̃s po]), formerly Paris Institute of Political Studies (French: Institut d'études politiques de Paris, French pronunciation: ​[ɛ̃stity detyd pɔlitik dəpaʁi]), is a Grande École[1] in Paris, France.

Sciences Po maintains departments in political science, economics, history, sociology, law, finance, business, communication, social and urban policy, management, and journalism. It is a member of several university consortia (including APSIA and the College Board) and has developed partnerships with 410 universities.[2] The main Paris campus is located in the 7th arrondissement on the Left Bank, between Boulevard Saint Germain and Boulevard Raspail. Other campuses can be found outside Paris for specialized undergraduate programs.

Sciences Po is ranked 4th in Politics and International Studies by QS 2016 World University Rankings.[3] Sciences Po has produced many notable alumni in the fields of government, law, economics, philosophy, history, business, literature, and media, including five of the last six French presidents. Approximately 28 past or present heads of state have studied or taught at Sciences Po, as well as many heads of international organizations (e.g., the United Nations and International Monetary Fund) and CEOs. Due to its prominent alumni, its selectivity and its history of providing candidates for admission to the École nationale d'administration (ENA), it is seen in France as an elite institution.[4][5][6] However, it is criticised, as well as the ENA, for creating in France an oligarchy[7] of disconnected with reality,[8] blinkered, arrogant and frequently incompetent people[9]


The name Sciences Po refers to three distinct, yet complementary institutions:

1872–1945: École Libre des Sciences Politiques[edit]

Sciences Po Founder, Émile Boutmy

Sciences Po was established in February 1872 as the École Libre des Sciences Politiques by a group of French intellectuals, politicians and businessmen led by Émile Boutmy, and including Hippolyte Taine, Ernest Renan, Albert Sorel and Paul Leroy Beaulieu. Following defeat in the 1870 war, the demise of Napoleon III, and the Paris Commune, these men sought to reform the training of French politicians. Politically and economically, people feared France's international stature was waning due to inadequate teaching of its political and diplomatic corps. ELSP was meant to serve as “the breeding ground where nearly all the major, non-technical state commissioners were trained.”[10]

New disciplines such as International Relations, International Law, Political Economy and Comparative Government were introduced. In August 1894, the British Association for the Advancement of Science spoke out for the need to advance the study of politics along the lines of ELSP. Sidney and Beatrice Webb used the purpose and curriculum of Sciences Po as part of their inspiration for creating the London School of Economics in 1895.[2]

The situation since 1945[edit]

As per ordinance 45-2284 issued on 9 October 1945, two entities were created from ELSP: Fondation nationale des sciences politiques (English: National Foundation of Political Science) or FNSP and Institut d'études politiques de Paris (English: Paris Institute of Political Studies) or IEP Paris.[3] Both entities were tasked by the French government to ensure “the progress and the diffusion, both within and outside France, of political science, economics, and sociology”.[10]

The epithet Sciences Po was applied to both entities, which inherited the reputation previously vested in ELSP.[4] France's Legislature entrusted FNSP with managing IEP Paris, its library, and budget, and an administrative council assured the development of these activities. The curriculum and methodology of the ELSP were also the template for creating an entire system of institutes of political studies (French: Institut d'études politiques) across France, namely in Strasbourg, Lyon, Aix, Bordeaux, Grenoble, Toulouse, and then in Rennes and Lille. They are not to be confounded with Sciences Po's satellite campuses.

FNSP further strengthened its role as a scientific publication center with significant donations from the Rockefeller Foundation. FNSP periodicals such as la Revue française de science politique, le Bulletin analytique de documentation, la Chronologie politique africaine, and the Cahiers de la Fondation as well as its seven research centres and main publishing house, Presses de Sciences Po, contribute to the reputation attained by Sciences Po research.[10]

Recent reforms[edit]

Sciences Po has undergone reforms under Richard Descoings as director (1997–2012). Sciences Po has introduced a compulsory year abroad component to its undergraduate degree, and now offers a multilingual curriculum in French, English, and other languages. New educational sites have been set up in Nancy, Dijon, Poitiers, Menton, Le Havre and Reims. Sciences Po also set the length of its undergraduate program to three years and its graduate program to two years in line with the Bologna Process.

Sciences Po also implemented reforms in its admissions process. Previously, Sciences Po recruited its students almost exclusively from grand schools (mostly state-funded) in France, but in March 2001, the school's governing council widened its admissions policy.[5] From September 2002, Sciences Po began accepting a small batch of students from certain schools located in economically depressed suburbs of Paris on the basis of their school record and a 45-minute interview, rather than the name-blind examination all other students must pass to be admitted. The proportion of students benefiting from financial support has grown fourfold over the past decade. In 2014, students accepted to Sciences Po hailed from 142 different countries.[11]


Sciences Po garden, between the rue Saint-Guillaume and the rue des Saints-Pères.

Sciences Po is located in the heart of Paris, in the 6th and 7th districts (arrondissements):

  • 27 rue Saint-Guillaume houses the head office since 1879. It is also home to the Amphitheatres Émile Boutmy and Jacques Chapsal.
  • 9, rue de la Chaise: administrative offices.
  • 56, rue des Saints-Pères: language classes, language lab, audiovisual service and a cartography workshop.
  • 117, boulevard Saint-Germain: Master of Public Affairs, office of the School of Journalism
  • 174, boulevard Saint-Germain: MBA offices and classrooms
  • 199, boulevard Saint-Germain: offices of Graduate Program staff.
  • 224, boulevard Saint-Germain: classrooms
  • 56, rue Jacob: Research Center for History (Centre d'histoire de Sciences Po) and International Relations (Centre d'études et de recherches internationales)
  • 13, rue de l'Université / The René Rémond building: classrooms and amphitheatre
  • 8, rue Jean-Sébastien-Bach: Urban Studies Graduate Program
  • rue d'Assas and rue de la Cassette at the Institut Catholique

Campuses for specific regional focuses:

  • Central and Eastern Europe in Dijon
  • Asia in Le Havre
  • Middle-East and Mediterranean in Menton
  • Europe & Franco-German Region in Nancy
  • Latin America in Poitiers
  • Africa in Reims
  • North America in Reims

The Paris Campus offers a general social sciences programme.


Sciences Po has 35% of its budget devoted to research and over 800 publications per year.

Research at Sciences Po hosts eleven research units bringing together over 200 researchers. Five of these centres are associated with the CNRS (the French National Centre for Scientific Research). it has a Doctoral School.

Research at Sciences Po covers economics, law, history, sociology and political science, while also taking in many interdisciplinary topics such as cities, political ecology, sustainable development, socioeconomics and globalization.


For the year 2016 the QS World University Rankings Sciences Po ranked globally 223 in the world (7th in France), 86 (4th in France) in social sciences and management, 149 (4th in France) in art and humanity, 4th (1st of France) for Politics and International studies, 50 in sociology (2nd in France) 51-100 (2nd of France) in Law, 51-100 (1st ex aequo in France) in Economics & Econometrics, 51-100 (2nd ex aequo in France) in History.[12] The magazine Foreign Policy, for their 2015 rankings, ranked Sciences Po 21st in the world to obtain a master's degree for a policy career in International Relations.[13] In the Times Higher Education World University Rankings for 2013/2014, Sciences Po ranked 98th in the world for Social Sciences.[14] In the 2013 Times Higher Education Alma Mater Index of Global Executives, a ranking of an academic institution's number of degrees awarded to chief executives of the world’s biggest companies, Sciences Po is ranked 81st.[15]

Network of universities[edit]

Sciences Po is part of a network of 410 partner universities. Partner universities include: Berkeley (USA), Cambridge (England), Columbia (USA), Freie Universität Berlin (Germany), Fudan (China), Keio (Japan), London School of Economics (England), Tufts (USA), etc.

Sciences Po is a member of the Global Public Policy Network along with the London School of Economics, the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University, the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin, and the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore.

Sciences Po is a member of the Sorbonne Paris Cité alliance.

Library and publishing[edit]

Sciences Po Library

Founded in 1871, the nucleus of the school’s research is Bibliothèque de Sciences Po. The library offers a collection of more than 950,000 titles in the field of social sciences.

In 1982, the National Ministry of Education made the Bibliothèque the Centre for Acquisition and Dissemination of Scientific and Technical Information in the field of political science, and since 1994, it has been the antenna associated with Bibliothèque Nationale de France.[6] Bibliothèque de Sciences Po is also the main French partner in the International Bibliography of the Social Sciences, which is based at the London School of Economics.[7]

Founded in the 1950s, Presses de Sciences-Po is the publishing house of Sciences Po. It publishes academic works related to the social sciences.

Notable faculty and alumni[edit]

See List of Sciences Po People

Sciences Po boasts a community of over 65,000 alumni, many of whom hold high-level positions in sectors as varied as auditing, diplomacy, media, social issues, sustainable development, finance, civil service, culture and more, in France and around the world.

Sciences Po alumni and former staff include twenty-eight heads of state or government, specifically the last four French presidents (François Hollande, Jacques Chirac, Nicolas Sarkozy - although he didn't graduate - and François Mitterrand), thirteen past or present French prime ministers, twelve past or present foreign heads of state or government, a former United Nations Secretary-General, the former head of the International Monetary Fund, the former head of the European Central Bank and the former head of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Former Portuguese Prime Minister, José Socrates was a doctoral student at this institution in 2012.[16]

The school educated top business managers, including CEOs of France's forty largest companies (Frédéric Oudéa of banking group Societe Generale, Michel Bon of Carrefour, Jean-Cyril Spinetta of Air France, Serge Weinberg of PPR, Gérard Mestrallet of Suez, Philippe Camus of Alcatel-Lucent), private bankers such as David René de Rothschild, the CEO of Lazard Italy, the CFO of Morgan Stanley Europe, the Director of Credit Suisse World, Co-founder, Chairman and CEO of TradingScreen and the Chairman of Credit Suisse Europe as well as the current head of the European Federation of Businesses, Industries and Employers and the current head of the French Businesses and Employers Union and many others.

Instruction is provided by a staff of about 200 permanent faculty and 4,000 lecturers from the professional world. Most recently, instructors included or still include former French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin, former WTO president Pascal Lamy, current French President Francois Hollande, former French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin, former French foreign minister Hubert Védrine, Nobel Prize Laureate economist Joseph Stiglitz, former Lebanese Minister of Culture Ghassan Salame and former Economics minister as well as former Managing Director of IMF Dominique Strauss-Kahn.

References and notes[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "About / A world-class university - Sciences Po". Sciences Po. 
  3. ^ "QS World University Rankings by Subject 2016 - Politics & International Studies". Top Universities. 
  4. ^ Conley, Marjorie (09.09.2003). "Sciences Po ― an elite institution's introspection on its power, position and worth in French society". Portfolio,The Journalism of Ideas. New York University. Retrieved August 10, 2016.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  5. ^ Koh, Aaron (2016). Elite Schools: Multiple Geographies of Privilege. New York; Oxon: Routledge. pp. 193,. ISBN 978-1--138-77940-2. 
  6. ^ Guttenplan, D.D. (04.09.2011). "In France, a Bastion of Privilege No More". The New York Times. Retrieved August 10, 2016.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  7. ^ [1]
  8. ^
  9. ^ Lichfield, John (17.05.2013). "Liberte, inegalite, fraternite: Is French elitism holding the country back?". The Independent. Retrieved August 10, 2016.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  10. ^ a b c “Sciences Po 1945–1979” Centre d’histoire de Sciences Po
  11. ^ "About / What is Sciences Po ? - Sciences Po". Sciences Po. 
  12. ^ "QS World University Rankings by Subject 2016". Top Universities. 
  13. ^ "Foreign Policy - The Best International Relations Schools in the World". Foreign Policy. 
  14. ^ THE World University Rankings for 2013-2014.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  15. ^ "Alma Mater Index: Global Executives 2013". Times Higher Education. 
  16. ^ José Sócrates: 1 more year in Paris (Portuguese)
  1. ^ "LSE: A History of the London School of Economics and Political Science, 1895–1995", Oxford University Press, 1 June 1995.
  2. ^ "Consolidation de L'autonomie de Sciences Po" Sénat, 1996.
  3. ^ "Le statut juridique de Sciences Po: la dualité FNSP et IEP de Paris" Centre d’histoire de Sciences Po
  4. ^ “Sciences Po Paris Overview: Introducing Sciences Po” Sciences Po Website, 2001.
  5. ^ “Sciences Po Paris Overview: Introducing Sciences Po” Sciences Po Website, 2001.
  6. ^ “Sciences Po Paris Overview: Introducing Sciences Po” Sciences Po Website, 2001.
  7. ^ "La Bibliothèque de Sciences Po", Sciences Po Website, 2007
  8. ^ "IBSS Boosts Coverage of French Social Science Journals", IBSS, 2005.
  9. ^ "Presses de Sciences Po", Sciences Po Website, 21 October 2004.
  10. ^ "Columbia University, LSE and Sciences Po launch Global Public Policy Network", PRNewsWire, 19 September 2005.
  11. ^ "Sciences Po’s Joint Degrees", Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs, 21 October 2004.
  12. ^ "Sciences Po ― an elite institution's introspection on its power, position and worth in French society" NYU Department of Journalism, 9 September 2003.


  • Richard Descoings, Sciences Po. De la Courneuve à Shanghai, préface de René Rémond, Paris: Presses de Sciences Po, 2007 (ISBN 2-7246-0990-5)
  • Jacques Chapsal, « L'Institut d'études politiques de l'Université de Paris », Annales de l'Université de Paris, n° 1, 1950
  • « Centenaire de l'Institut d'études politiques de Paris (1872–1972) », brochure de l'Institut d'études politiques de Paris, 1972
  • [8], A Sciences-Po, les voyages forment la jeunesse, Monde Diplomatique, Février 2006
  • Pierre Favre, Cent dix années de cours à l'École libre des sciences politiques et à l'Institut d'études politiques de Paris (1871–1982), thèse de doctorat, 2 volumes, 1986
  • Gérard Vincent, Sciences Po. Histoire d'une réussite, Orban, Paris, 1987
  • Marie-Estelle Leroty, L'Enseignement de l'histoire à l'École libre des sciences politiques et à l'Institut d'études politiques de l'Université de Paris de 1943 à 1968, mémoire de diplôme d'études approfondies dirigé par Jean-François Sirinelli, Institut d'études politiques de Paris, 2000
  • Anne Muxel (direction), Les Étudiants de Sciences Po, Paris: Presses de Sciences Po, 2004, ISBN 2-7246-0937-9: Résultats d'une grande enquête menée en janvier 2002 auprès des élèves par le Cevipof
  • Comité national d'évaluation des établissements publics à caractère scientifique, culturel et professionnel, Rapport d'évaluation de l'Institut d'études politiques de Paris PDF, Septembre 2005
  • Cyril Delhay, Promotion ZEP. Des quartiers à Sciences Po, Paris: Hachette, 2006, ISBN 2-01-235949-3

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 48°51′15.02″N 2°19′42.49″E / 48.8541722°N 2.3284694°E / 48.8541722; 2.3284694