|École libre des sciences politiques|
|Location||Paris, Reims, Dijon, Le Havre, Nancy, Poitiers, Menton, France|
|Mascot||The lion and the fox|
Sciences Po (French pronunciation: [sjɑ̃s po]), or Paris Institute of Political Studies (French: Institut d'études politiques de Paris, French pronunciation: [ɛ̃s.ti.ty de.tyd pɔ.li.tik də pa.ʁi]), is a university (legally a grande école) in Paris, France. The institution is a member of several academic consortia, including the Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs.
Its main campus is located around Boulevard Saint Germain in the 7th arrondissement of Paris, and there are another six campuses in different French cities. Sciences Po maintains departments in political science, economics, history, sociology and law.
Sciences Po is considered one of Europe's leading academic institutions in the social sciences and was ranked 4th globally in politics and international studies by the QS World University Subjects Rankings 2017. At the same time, the institution is criticised together with other prominent grandes écoles for creating a technocracy of disconnected leaders. Alumni include many notable public figures, including seven of the last eight French presidents, 12 foreign heads of state or government, a former United Nations Secretary-General, and a number of CEOs of France's 40 largest companies.
- 1 History
- 2 Campuses
- 3 Academics
- 4 Rankings and reputation
- 5 Notable alumni and academics
- 6 See also
- 7 References and notes
- 8 External links
1872 to 1945: École Libre des Sciences Politiques
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.”
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.
ELSP proved very successful at preparing candidates for entry into senior civil service posts, and acquired an image as a major feature of France’s political system. From 1901 to 1935, 92.5% of entrants to the Grands Corps de l'État, which comprises the most powerful and prestigious administrative bodies in the French civil service, had studied there (this figure includes people who took civil service examination preparatory classes at Sciences Po but did not earn a degree).
1945: the École Libre des Sciences Politiques becomes Sciences Po
Sciences Po underwent significant reforms in the aftermath of France’s liberation from Nazi occupation in 1945. The humiliation of France’s surrender to Nazi Germany and moreover the collapse of the Vichy regime provided the impetus for a major restructuring of the state’s institutions.
Charles de Gaulle, as leader of France’s Provisional Government, appointed Michel Debré to overhaul of the recruiting and training of public servants. Though eight of thirteen ministers in De Gaulle’s government were Sciences Po alumni, the university had also been instrumental in training the class of leaders whom many accused of having given in to Nazi aggression. Communist politicians including Georges Cogniot proposed abolishing the ELSP entirely and founding a new state-run administration college on its premises.
Debré proposed the compromise that was eventually adopted. First, the government established the Ecole Nationale d’Administration (ENA), an elite postgraduate college for training government officials. From then on, the Grands Corps de l’Etat were obliged to recruit new entrants exclusively from the ENA's graduates. In 1945, the École libre des sciences politiques was restructured into two separate legal entities: the Institut d'études politiques (IEP) and the Fondation nationale des sciences politiques (FNSP). Though legally a public institution, it was to be managed by a private trust, the newly-established Fondation Nationale des Sciences Politiques (English: National Foundation of Political Science) or FNSP, with Roger Seydoux as its first president. Though the appointment of high-ranking faculty members now required government approval, the FNSP allowed Sciences Po to retain considerable administrative autonomy. 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”.
The epithet Sciences Po was applied to both entities, which inherited the reputation previously vested in ELSP. 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 a network of institutes of political studies throughout the country, namely in Strasbourg, Lyon, Aix, Bordeaux, Grenoble, Toulouse, and then in Rennes and Lille. They are not to be confused with the seven campuses of Sciences Po in France.
It was now the ENA rather than Sciences Po that fed graduates directly into senior civil service posts. However, Sciences Po became the university of choice for those hoping to enter the ENA, and so retained its dominant place in educating high-ranking officials.
1945 to 1997
Between 1952 and 1969, 77.5% of the ENA’s graduate student intake were Sciences Po alumni.
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, consolidated the university's reputation as a research hub.
The Richard Descoings era (1997-2012)
Sciences Po underwent various reforms under the directorship of Richard Descoings (1997–2012). In these years, Sciences Po introduced a compulsory year abroad component to its undergraduate degree, and began to offer a multilingual curriculum in French, English, and other languages. It was during this period that Sciences Po added its regional campuses.
Sciences Po also implemented reforms in its admissions process. Previously, Sciences Po recruited its students exclusively on the basis of a competitive examination. This system was seen to favor students from prestigious preparatory high schools or those who could afford year-long preparatory courses. In March 2001, the school's governing council widened its admissions policy. From September 2002, Sciences Po began accepting students from certain schools located in economically depressed suburbs 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. But this process has been accused of being superficial and being in fact a "lotto for poor people"
Descoings was accused of "reigning as almighty master on his school, by distributing material advantages and "small envelopes", and setting up a clientelist and authoritarian "carrot system"" and to implement a "management of fear".
2013–2017: reorganization and development under President Frédéric Mion
Frédéric Mion, a graduate of Sciences Po, ENA and École Normale Supérieure and former secretary general of Canal+, was appointed president of Sciences Po on 1 March 2013. His intention to pursue Sciences Po's development as a "selective university of international standing" is detailed in the policy paper "Sciences Po 2022", published in the spring of 2014. The restructuring of Master's study into graduate schools continued with the creation of the School of Public Affairs and the Urban School in 2015 and the School of Management and Innovation in 2016.
In early 2016, Sciences Po updated its governance structure, adopting new statutes for its two constituent bodies: the Fondation nationale des sciences politiques (FNSP) and the Institut d'études politiques de Paris (IEP). This reform is "the most significant since 1945" and clarifies Sciences Po's governance with new rules, which address observations made by the Cour de comptes in a 2012 report.
In late 2016, Sciences Po acquired a new site, the Hôtel de l'Artillerie in the 6th arrondissement of Paris, which it intends to make the new heart of its urban campus and a seat of "educational renewal".
Sciences Po has seven campuses in France. The main campus is in Paris, and six smaller regional campuses are spread across the country.
The Paris campus is spread across several buildings concentrated around the Boulevard Saint-Germain in the 6th and 7th arrondissements (districts). The Paris campus is the home to all the graduate schools, the central library, the head administrative offices, and a few thousand undergraduates. The historic centre of Sciences Po at 27 rue Saint-Guillaume houses the head office and central library since 1879. It is also home to Sciences Po's two largest teaching halls, the Amphitheatres Émile Boutmy and Jacques Chapsal. Other buildings include:
- 117, boulevard Saint-Germain: School of Journalism
- 199, boulevard Saint-Germain: Doctoral School
- 174 and 224, boulevard Saint-Germain: offices and classrooms
- 13, rue de l'Université / The René Rémond building: Law School and administrative offices
- 8, rue Jean-Sébastien-Bach: Urban School
- 56, rue des Saints-Pères: Language Lab, audiovisual service and a cartography workshop.
- 56, rue Jacob: Research Center for History (Centre d'histoire de Sciences Po) and International Relations (Centre d'études et de recherches internationales)
- rue d'Assas and rue de la Cassette at the Institut Catholique
New facility at L'Hôtel de l'Artillerie
In 2016 Sciences Po purchased the Hôtel de l’Artillerie, a 17th-century former monastery located 200 meters from its campus on Rue St.Guillaume. The building was previously the property of the French Ministry of Defense and is 14,000m2 in size. The university has announced its intention to refurbish the building as a major addition to its facilities in Paris. It is estimated that this project will cost around 200 million euros in total.
The Hôtel de l’Artillerie will house new facilities for Sciences Po’s graduate programs, including a courtroom for the Law School and a newsroom for the Journalism School. It will also incorporate a cafeteria, study areas and accommodation for 50 to 100 students on scholarships.
Frédéric Mion, the director of Sciences Po, stated his intention to create a campus comparable in quality and capacity to Sciences Po’s most prominent international partner universities such as Columbia University, the London School of Economics and Hong Kong University.
Work will begin at the site in 2018. It is scheduled to open in 2021.
The six regional campuses are home to undergraduate students, and a few very specialized departments within Sciences Po. Each campus has a specific focus on a different region of the world for the undergraduate programme taught there:
The academic bodies of Sciences Po consist of the University College, six professional schools, and the Doctoral School. The university also contains a library system, the Presses de Sciences-Po, and holds ties with a number of independent academic institutions, including Columbia University, the National University of Singapore, and the Sorbonne Paris Cité alliance.
The University College (Collège universitaire) is the home of all undergraduate students. At the graduate level, there are six professional schools:
- School of Public Affairs
- Paris School of International Affairs
- Law School
- Urban School
- School of Management and Innovation
- School of Journalism
The Doctoral School offers Master and PhD programmes in law, economics, history, political science, or sociology. The PhD programme contains roughly 600 doctoral candidates.
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, socio-economics and globalization.
Sciences Po is home to a research community that includes over 200 researchers and 350 PhD candidates. In 2015, 32% of the university’s budget was devoted to research. That year, 65% of its research publications were in French, 32% in English and 3% in other languages.
The university has numerous research centers, seven of which are affiliated with France’s National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS).
- Center for Socio-Political Data (CDSP), which provides scientifically-validated data for international survey programs. It also supports training in data collection and analysis.
- Centre d'études européennes (CEE), which focuses on inter-disciplinary European studies; participation, democracy and government; election analyses; the restructuring of the state and public action.
- Centre for International Studies (CERI), which produces comparative and historical analysis on foreign societies, international relations, and political, social and economic phenomena.
- Centre for Political Research (CEVIPOF), which investigates political attitudes, behaviour and parties, as well as political thought and the history of ideas.
- Centre for History (CHSP), whose research focuses on: arts, knowledge and culture; wars, conflicts and violence; states, institutions and societies; the political and cultural history of contemporary France; from local to global: international history and its levels.
- Centre for the Sociology of Organizations (CSO), which conducts research on the sociology of organizations, sociology of public policy, and economic sociology. It also studies issues related to higher education and research, healthcare, sustainable development, the evolution of firms, and the transformation of the state.
- Center for Studies in Social Change (OSC), which conducts research on topics such as urban, school and gender inequalities, stratification and social mobility, and ethno-racial or social segregation.
- Department of Economics, which investigates areas such as labor markets, international economics, political economy, microeconomics and development.
- Law School, whose research focuses on globalization, legal cultures and the economics of law. It has also produced work on the theory and history of law, public and private international law and intellectual property.
- Médialab, which studies the way data generated by new information technologies is produced, circulated and exploited.
- Observatoire Français des Conjonctures Economiques (OFCE), which is both a research center and an independent economic forecasting body. Its stated mission is to “ensure that the fruits of scientific rigour and academic independence serve the public debate about the economy".
In addition to these research units, the university has recently established three major research programs – the LIEPP, DIME-SHS and MaxPo.
- The Laboratoire Interdisciplinaire d'Evaluation des Politiques Publiques (LIEPP) analyzes public policy based on qualitative, comparative, and quantitative methods. The laboratory has been selected by an international scientific jury as a "Laboratoire d'Excellence" (Labex) that will be financed for the next ten years by the French government.
- Données Infrastructures et Méthodes d'Enquête en Sciences Humaines et Sociales (DIME-SHS) aims to collect and disseminate data for use in humanities and social sciences research.
- The Max Planck Sciences Po Center on Coping with Instability in Market Societies (known as MaxPo), was founded in 2012 in co-operation with the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies (MPIfG). It investigates how individuals, organizations, and nation-states deal with various forms of economic and social instability. It is located at Sciences Po’s Paris campus.
Network of universities
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), the London School of Economics (England), Tufts (USA) etc.
In 2005, it established a doctoral/post-doctoral partnership program with the University of Oxford to provide a platform for comparative analysis of political systems and societies. OxPo, as this program is now known, facilitates academic and student exchanges between the two universities, provides grants for research collaborations, and organizes joint workshops, graduate conferences and seminars.
Sciences Po co-founded the Global Public Policy Network in 2005 in co-operation with the London School of Economics and the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University. The network provides dual degree programs that allow students to study at two institutions. It has since expanded to include the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin, the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore, the Graduate School of Public Policy at the University of Tokyo and the Fundção Getúlio Vargas (FGV) at the Escola de Administração de Empresas in Brazil.
Sciences Po is a member of the Sorbonne Paris Cité association.
Library and publishing
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. 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.
Sciences Po organizes numerous public lecture events. Recent guest speakers have included Ban Ki-moon, General David Petraeus, Condoleeza Rice, former President of Brazil Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Eric Schmidt, Joseph Stiglitz, Sheryl Sandberg, Mario Draghi, UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova and Harvard University professor Michael Sandel.
Since 2007 it has organized the Franco-British Dialogue Lecture Series in collaboration with the LSE and the French Embassy in London. The lectures are held every term at the LSE’s European Institute.
Rankings and reputation
For the year 2016 the QS World University Rankings, based on English speaking publications, 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 in France) for Politics and International studies, 50 in sociology (2nd in France) 51-100 (2nd in France) in Law, 51-100 (1st ex aequo in France) in Economics & Econometrics, 51-100 (2nd ex aequo in France) in History. Its Master in Public Policy (MPP) with a concentration in Economics and Public Policy was ranked 6th of Western Europe (1st in France) by Eduniversal among masters in Economics. The U.S. 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. In the Times Higher Education World University Rankings for 2013/2014, Sciences Po ranked 98th in the world for Social Sciences. 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.
Reputation and criticism
Due to its prominent alumni, its selectivity and its history of providing candidates for admission to the École nationale d'administration, Sciences Po is seen in France and abroad as an elite institution.
The institution is partly state-funded, and some have accused it of receiving a disproportionate share of public money. In 2012, student representatives at Sciences Po Lille alleged that Sciences Po was unduly favored by the State, as it received €8,700 of government funds per student per year, while Sciences Po Lille was only receiving €2,600. The lawyer and academic Gilles Devers criticized the amount of public money allocated to the university in a blogpost the same year. The sociologist Nicolas Jounin, himself an alumnus of Sciences Po, has accused the university of being a "financial hold-up".
Critics have accused Sciences Po of prioritizing access to professional networks over education and expertise. As a result, some have referred to the school as "Sciences Pipeau" (pronounced and sometimes spelled "Sciences Pipo", "pipeau" meaning "puffery" in colloquial French). This nickname has also been employed by some students.
Sciences Po has also been accused of being unduly helped by the media. "Almost every French newspaper is run by an almunus of Sciences Po", and most of the journalists in France are alumni from Science Po, so it would give the school "a mediatic cover without equivalent" and permit it to "cultivate a culture of secrecy" about its internal affairs. "Sciences-Po is under-criticized," analyzes a professor. Former students are unlikely to criticize it. "Those who teach there have no interest, and not necessarily the urge, to do so. Those who are not there can hope to be there one day." The journalist Ariane Chemin stated in 2013 that, because so many journalists come from Sciences Po, the school has an undue good public reputation.
Political and financial scandals
On April 3, 2012, Descoings was found dead in his Manhattan luxury hotel room during a trip to represent Sciences Po in New York. The police initially concluded that his death had been caused by an overdose, but the final coronary report eventually stated that he died a natural death. Descoings' energy on this last day and the missing phones and computer have raised questions as to the precise circumstances of his death.
In October 2012, the Court of Audit reprimanded Sciences Po for financial mismanagement, accusing it of opaque remuneration procedures, unwarranted expenses claims and excessive pay-rises for managers. The Court noted that the university’s complex legal status – a public university managed by a private trust – had contributed to dysfunction and waste. It also criticized the French government for increasing state funding for the university without insisting on additional public oversight. In February 2016, the Court of Audit noted that reforms had been made but suggested that greater transparency was still needed. Frédéric Mion, director of Sciences Po since 2013, defended the university’s record and contested a number of the Court's conclusions.
In July 2015, the former president of the Foundation Nationale des Sciences Politiques, the private trust which manages Sciences Po, was fined €1500 for failing to properly consult the Foundation’s Administrative Council over budgeting decisions involving public money.
Notable alumni and academics
Over 65,000 people have studied at Science Po. Alumni and former staff include twenty-eight heads of state or government, including seven of the last eight French presidents (Emmanuel Macron, François Hollande, Nicolas Sarkozy - although he didn't graduate -, Jacques Chirac, François Mitterrand, Alain Poher - though he served only as an interim president -, and Georges Pompidou), 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, studied at Sciences Po as a doctoral student in 2012.
Among the alumni are 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. Influential cultural figures such as the writer Marcel Proust and the founder of the modern olympics Pierre de Coubertin also graduated from Sciences Po.
Senior French diplomats including François Delattre (currently French ambassador to the UN), Gérard Araud (currently ambassador to the USA), Sylvie Bermann (currently ambassador to the UK), Bernard Émié (currently ambassador to Algeria), Jean-Maurice Ripert (currently ambassador to Russia) and Maurice Gourdault-Montagne (currently ambassador to China) are also alumni.
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 and former Economics minister as well as former Managing Director of IMF Dominique Strauss-Kahn. The philosopher, anthropologist and sociologist Bruno Latour has taught there since 2006. Emmanuel Gaillard also teaches at the Law School.
- 1987–96: Alain Lancelot
- 1997–2012: Richard Descoings
- 2012: Hervé Crès (interim)
- 2012–13: Jean Gaeremynck (interim)
- 2013–present: Frédéric Mion
- Paris School of International Affairs
- École nationale d'administration
- Instituts d'études politiques
- Grands établissements
- Grandes écoles
- Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs
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- Sciences Po (FNSP and IEP Paris) official English-version website
- Histoire@Politique (journal published by the IEP-Paris)
- In France, a Bastion of Privilege No More New York Times, September 2011