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Sciences Po and Columbia: The Best of Two Worlds

A graduate school in Political Science and International Relations spotlight: the world-renowned Sciences Po, Paris. In this month-long series, alumni share their insights about the school’s different programs, its culture and why it might or might not be a food fit for those going into an international politics career.

The Sciences Po Paris School of International Affairs (PSIA) offers a coveted dual degree Master program with Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA). This program is a rare opportunity to study in two of the most prestigious universities in international affairs, in two of the world’s most vibrant global cities – Paris and New York City.

How does it work?

Selected students to enter this program will spend their first two semesters in Paris. While at Sciences Po, they can choose to enroll in one of the seven Master programs available: Master in International Security, Master in International Public Management, Master in International Economic Policy, Master in Environmental Policy, Master in International Development, Master in Human Rights and Humanitarian Action, Master in International Energy. In addition, they will have to choose either a regional or thematic concentration and complete two additional courses.

The second year will be spent in New York, at SIPA. Here, the students will be required to take any additional courses to meet SIPA requirements and also courses related to a chosen policy concentration and specialization.

Although both schools have a lot of overlap in curriculum, they also complement each other. For example, you might find it more difficult to find gender-related courses in PSIA, but SIPA has a specialization focused on gender.

How can I get in?

This is the tricky part – since this program is so unique, it only accepts 20 applicants each year. That means there is a lot of competition and so prospective students will need to stand out in order to make the cut. From language requirements to high grades and academic and professional references, it is very important to have an excellent application package.

Since both PSIA and SIPA are very oriented towards practitioners, always keep in mind that motivation letters should cover specific career goals and aspirations. These prestigious schools are looking for the future innovators, leaders and Nobel Prize winners. They are also international by nature, therefore, it is important to stress how the applicant might excel in international and multicultural environments.

Is it affordable?

For many Americans, Sciences Po Master programs are very affordable. The maximum tuition per year for this prestigious French university 14,500 € (around $16,300). Of course, when studying at SIPA, Columbia’s tuition fees apply. Which means that the first year will cost about $16,300 and the second year will cost $57,500, living costs not included. Although such an amount might be shocking for European students, it will not surprise many Americans. And, of course, the dual Master degree offers two diplomas, an important point to keep in mind.

Both PSIA and SIPA have many options for financial aid and scholarships. Applicants who will need help to cover their expenses should pay attention to the PSIA calendar and make sure they are aware of the early deadline for such applications.

Best of both worlds?

France and the United States are two of the most important countries in the world with key roles to play in the international relations sphere. When studying abroad, courses are not all that matters – the chance to immerse yourself in a different culture and the possibility to learn a new language can play a significant part in your future. Through SIPA and PSIA, students can meet fantastic academics and practitioners that are shaping international dialogue, practices and policies. Understanding the different viewpoints of both French and Americans will contribute to a wiser knowledge of international relations and how different cultures interact with each other.

While for French and European students, the opportunity to study in an American school is cherished and very valuable. For American students, this program is gateway to Europe and the chance to live in a legendary city.

Indeed, the PSIA/SIPA dual degree Master program can really be the best of both worlds!

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