The Paris Institute for Political Science Studies, more commonly known as “Sciences Po” to students, was founded in 1872. Nestled in the legendary Saint-Germain-des-Prés neighborhood, this prestigious university has established itself as an excellent learning ground for France’s elite. Sciences Po has since spawned a dozen campus throughout the country. Of these, the one in Reims stands out. When the next academic year begins, it will host Parisian undergraduates. It is also positioned as a decidedly international campus.
Playing the international card to attract foreign students
In September 2010, a group of foreign students – mainly from North America – arrived in Reims. The purpose of their visit was not just to sample the bubbly wine that is the pride of France, but also to enroll in the Euro-American curriculum offered by the brand new Sciences Po Reims campus. The program includes economics, law, history, sociology, political science, general culture and two foreign languages.
In addition to the bachelor degree taught entirely in English, the institute organizes a large exchange program. Admitting foreign students has been part of the Sciences Po tradition since the post-war period. These developments were especially driven by Richard Descoings, Institute Director from 1996 to 2012. Thanks to him, Sciences Po is becoming a Tower of Babel where myriad languages are spoken. Partnerships have been formed with 470 foreign universities in all the countries of the European Union, as well as with Harvard University and Columbia University (United States) and universities in Sydney (Australia), Rio and Sao Paulo, Cape Town and Johannesburg, Shanghai and Hong Kong, New Delhi and Bombay, Cameroon, Ghana, Indonesia, Japan, Dubai, Kuwait and so on. In Reims, half the students hail from 35 foreign countries. They are selected on the basis of their application and an admissions interview.
“A dedicated team helps them settle into the campus: housing assistance, administrative procedures, etc” explains Nathalie Jacquet, Director.
Building on this success, in September 2015 the campus began running the innovative Europe-Africa program, which prepares Africa’s future political and economic leaders. This program is for students from North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa – Habib Bourguiba and Boutros Boutros Ghali are Sciences Po alumni – but the institute is now seeking to recruit the Anglophones of South Africa and Kenya.
Ideal location and working conditions
Sciences Po is just a 45-minute train ride from Paris via TGV and is perfectly poised to grow. Some 77 million euros were invested to renovate the new campus on the site of the former Jesuit college in Reims. That is where auditoriums and the connected library were designed to create a rarefied environment.
“In addition to its historic character which lends a certain cachet to the new architectural complex, construction work on the campus is also ensuring that the learning environment meets the best equipment and technology standards,” Nathalie Jacquet stresses.
Teaching methods emphasize teamwork and multicultural experiences. Seminars with illustrious speakers are also in the works. The third year of study is systematically spent abroad. Mindful of this appeal, the mother campus in Paris designated the Reims campus to begin accommodating most of its undergraduate students in 2017. An international relations program will also be set up. About 1,600 students are expected for the next academic year.
A passport to employment
Sciences Po has built its reputation on the quality of training it provides for senior officials. But today the institute opens doors to a vast array of career opportunities in the private sector in fields such as consulting, communications, media and banking.
A multidisciplinary, international curriculum and a flute of champagne. What could be missing?
Sciences Po Reims
1 Place Museux, 51100 Reims
Tel +33 (0) 3 26 05 94 60
Sciences Po Paris
27 rue Saint Guillaume, 75337 Paris . Metro station : Saint Germain des Près
Tel +33 (0) 45 49 50 50