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Programs and Deadlines
About Penn Abroad
Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris (Sciences-Po) (BPO)
Paris, France (Exchange Program) (Fall Spring Academic Year Outgoing Program)
Program Terms: Fall,
Homepage: Click to visit
Budget Sheets Fall,
Fact Sheet:
Language of Instruction:
Language Prerequisite:
See Program Description
Minimum Cumulative GPA: 3.3
Credit Available For:
College, Huntsman
Other Eligibility Requirements: Grades of B or better in French
Type of Program:
Direct Enrollment, Exchange
Application Deadline:
Fall/Year: February 15, Spring: September 10
Department Preferred:
Philosophy, Politics, Economics (PPE)
Program Description:
Alyssa D., AY 12/13 Student
Photo Credit:  Alyssa Dickinson, Sciences Po Academic Year 2012/13

Program Snapshot

(click on links below to learn more)
The Academic Program
  • Exchange with the Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris (Sciences Po)
  • Fall Semester: late August - mid-December
  • Spring Semester: mid January - late May
  • 3.3 GPA
  • French Program: 7 semesters of college-level French with grades of B or better
  • PPE Program: 2 semesters of college-level French with grades of B or better
  • Independent Housing
The City of Paris
  • Language: French
  • the capital and most populous city in France
Special Features
  • Welcome Program for Exchange and International Students
  • Student Clubs
The Application Process
  • PPE majors must be nominated by PPE to participate
Financial Matters
Penn Resources
Read About the Student Experience

This program requires an advising session with a Program Manager prior to opening an application. To view the schedule for upcoming group advising sessions, or to schedule an individual appointment, select the ‘Schedule an Advising Appointment’ button on the Penn Abroad homepage.  


The Academic Program

About Sciences Po

For over one hundred years, the Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris, or "Sciences Po" as it is commonly known, has been training the best young minds of France and Europe for leadership service. One of Europe's most distinguished Grandes Ecoles, Sciences Po prepares its graduates to take their place in international business, multilateral organizations, positions of public responsibility, and many other fields.
Education at Sciences Po fosters dialogue between the major disciplines of the social sciences – economics, history, political science, law and sociology. It gives students the tools they need to understand the contemporary world.  Students also develop critical thinking and public speaking skills through pedagogical methods that favor group projects, oral presentations and the confrontation of ideas. By providing a multidisciplinary approach and a range of electives, such as artistic workshops, Sciences Po encourages students to adopt different perspectives.

Students who have completed at least 7 semesters of college-level French, or the equivalent, are required to take all of their courses in French.

PPE students with less than 7 semesters of college-level French are required to take a French language course at the appropriate level or at least one of their regular content courses in French while in Paris.
Grades are reported on the French scale and are converted to Penn grades according to standard French – U.S. grade equivalencies:
A = 14-20
A- = 12+
B+ = 11+
B = 10+
B- = 9+
C+ = 8+
C = 7+
C- = 6+
D = 5+

The scale is not based on an equal distribution of points nor on a percentage. In the French system, a perfect exam or paper may not always be awarded a grade of 20 depending on individual professors' practices. Students are assessed on the basis of continuous work, and mid-term and final exams.
As on all Penn Abroad programs, grades are recorded on the Penn transcript and are calculated in the cumulative grade point average. The pass/fail option can be exercised according to the Penn on-campus policy.

Learn More About Sciences Po
Select "English" on the upper right of the page to switch text to English from French.
Sciences Po Website
Exchange Program at Sciences Po
Course Catalogue


Participants must be willing to live under local conditions for students. Many amenities to which students become accustomed at Penn may not be available during the period of study abroad.

Sciences Po, like most French universities does not have housing of its own. Students from Paris generally live at home with their parents or rent apartments of their own if they have the resources. Students from elsewhere in France usually get a room as a lodger in someone's home, or, more frequently, obtain government subsidized housing in the Cité Universitaire or in a student hostel. In many cases, students may not have housing in place until after they arrive on site.

The Sciences Po International Relations Office can offer only limited assistance to international students seeking housing. While students are advised to make initial inquiries before leaving the U.S., the best plan is for students to look in person on site for suitable homestay lodging or apartments to rent. There are a variety of sources of information to which lodging seekers can be directed, but many of these resources are used most effectively on-site. It may be possible to make arrangements to live in the Cité Universitaire or in a student hostel by correspondence in advance. The Penn Abroad Office does not maintain accommodation in Paris for Penn students and can offer only limited assistance to students seeking housing. Penn Abroad cannot accept final responsibility for the living arrangements of students who attend Sciences Po.

More information on housing can be found in the Sciences Po Welcome Guide

The City of Paris

The capital and largest city of France, Paris has a population of over 2 million people with an additional 10 million living in the outlying suburbs, making it one of the most populated metropolitan areas in Europe. Known as one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world, Paris is a center for the arts, intellectual discourse, and gastronomy. It has been an important and central location for over two thousand years, and is today one of the world's leading cultural and financial centers. With the river Seine and famous boulevards crossing the city, Paris is made up of twenty arrondissements, each with its own unique character. The city offers a wide array of art museums, musical and theatrical venues, architectural landmarks, stunning gardens, and some of the world's top institutions of higher learning, all of which make Paris an ideal location to explore scholarly and cultural pursuits. Paris' transportation system has grown quite extensively to accommodate the growing city and allows visitors and residents to easily access the many attractions and points of interest.

The city is home to a number of universities and renowned research and teaching institutes, many of which are located in the Latin Quarter. While Paris is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, studying in the city will offer the student an opportunity to gain a very different perspective of the city.

Special Features

The Welcome Programme

The first day of the Welcome Programme is dedicated to a presentation of Sciences Po and its different services (finding housing, obtaining a residence permit, completing administrative registration, etc.).  In small groups, the students will also discover the Sciences Po Paris Campus. They are introduced to the location of different student services, classrooms and amphitheatres.

During the following week (Monday-Friday), students follow methodology workshops in small groups (10h), a methodology module in the amphitheatre and an introductory lecture into French Political Life. Nearly 18 hours of methodology and introductory lessons taught by experienced Sciences Po teachers enable students to put their skills into practice!

The cost of the Welcome Programme is covered by Penn Abroad.  All students are strongly encouraged to participate.  Sciences Po grants 2 ECTS credits for the Welcome Programme.  However, Penn will not grant credit for the program. 

Extracurricular Life

Campus extracurricular life revolves heavily around student-run clubs catering to a wide variety of social, cultural, and sports interests. Penn students are encouraged to participate in one of the many student clubs as an important part of their overall study abroad experience. Joining a club at Sciences Po will provide exchange students with the opportunity to foster friendships with French and other international students. The university boasts over 80 clubs and societies for a wide-range of interests as well as over 30 sports clubs. Sciences Po has an active student arts association, the "Bureau des Arts," which organizes regular cultural events such as theater festivals, poetry readings, and musical concerts. It also provides student discounts to renowned Parisian cultural performances.

Financial Matters

Students are charged Penn tuition and student fee (called study abroad fee the semester abroad) for all Penn programs.  In most cases, financial aid applies to Penn-approved programs.  Student Financial Services reviews program budget sheets each semester to determine how to appropriately adjust your aid package.  

Penn Resources

Students who study abroad are encouraged to take advantage of Penn's many resources for students, even if you haven't used them before going abroad.  There is an extensive list of resources on the Penn Abroad website that can help you to explore issues that might pertain to you and to help you prepare for a term abroad. 

In addition to these resources, we encourage you to reach out to a past program participant or ambassador to learn more about the program from a student perspective.

Read about the Student Experience

An academic year student contributed to the Penn Abroad blog.  Read her posts to get a sense of the student experience at Sciences Po. 

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The preceding is subject to change without warning.
Updated 7/23/15.