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FP Guide

2019 Applying to Grad School in International Affairs

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Sciences Po, Paris School of International Affairs (PSIA)


One of the world’s largest schools of international studies, Sciences Po’s Paris School of International Affairs (PSIA) attracts “truly outstanding students” from more than 110 countries, says Vice Dean Mark Maloney.

“Our goal is to train and shape global actors to understand and respond to the complexities of our world,” Maloney says.

Celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2020, PSIA is ranked number three globally for Politics and International Studies in the 2019 QS World University Rankings by subject. Along with this top ranking has come greater selectivity in admissions.

“Our goal is to train and shape global actors to understand and respond to the complexities of our world.” –Mark Maloney, Vice Dean, Paris School of International Affairs, Sciences Po

To recruit the best students, PSIA offers seven master’s degree programs, each dedicated to one area of international affairs, all conducted in English. About one-fourth of PSIA courses are offered in French. Students also have the option to study one of 17 languages accessible at the university. 

Students can pursue a two-year master’s degree in one of three ways: during two years at PSIA, as part of a joint program in Journalism and International Affairs with the School of Journalism at Sciences Po, or as part of a dual-degree program with one of PSIA’s 14 university partners around the world.

PSIA’s two years of master’s degree study include three semesters at Sciences Po in Paris and one semester away. A large majority of students undertake an internship in France or overseas, with support from PSIA’s career office. Many students also apply to research and write a master’s thesis under the direction of a Sciences Po professor or researcher. This combination provides students with an in-depth background in the social sciences and hands-on experience in the professional field they seek to work in.

PSIA also offers a one-year Master in Advanced Global Studies, covering the same seven fields of international affairs, for candidates with at least five years of professional work experience.

A successful applicant must demonstrate three accomplishments, Maloney says: academic excellence, relevant experience, and a clear motivation for applying to their chosen master’s program at the school.

Excellent students from any disciplinary background, not just those who have studied political science or international affairs, will be considered for admission. Only one program (excluding the dual-degree and one-year master’s programs) has a prerequisite: the Master in International Economic Policy, which requires candidates to have validated coursework in microeconomics and macroeconomics.

All applicants to PSIA should have experience relevant to their proposed program, through a paid job, an unpaid internship, volunteer work, or social outreach on campus. The school wants to see evidence that prospective students are committed to their field of study through actions beyond the classroom.

“They should have a well-defined professional project and be able to show that they understand our curriculum well enough to articulate why PSIA is the best place to prepare them to reach their goal,” Maloney says.

Graduate Degree Program Options
• Master in Advanced Global Studies (one year)
• Master in Environmental Policy
• Master in Human Rights and Humanitarian Action
• Master in International Development
• Master in International Economic Policy
• Master in International Energy
• Master in International Public Management
• Master in International Security
• Joint Master in Journalism and International Affairs

Deadlines for Fall 2020 
Application: Admission decisions for all standard two-year master’s programs are made on a rolling basis, according to the following deadlines:
December 20, 2019, for completed application received by November 3, 2019
February 14, 2020, for completed application received by December 15, 2019
March 15, 2020, for completed application received by January 12, 2020
April 17, 2020, for completed application received by February 16, 2020
May 29, 2020, for completed application received by March 1, 2020

Deadlines for one-year, joint, and dual-degree programs are different. Please check PSIA’s admissions web page: https://www.sciencespo.fr/psia/content/admissions.html.

Scholarships: There is a range of scholarships for prospective students, all based on academic merit. Many are directed at candidates from particular countries. Deadlines for two major awards are:
Eiffel Scholarship: November 3, 2019
Emile-Boutmy Scholarship: December 15, 2019

Standardized Exam Scores: Standardized exams are only required to prove proficiency in English for non-native speakers. There is no French language requirement. Some dual degrees may require standardized exams. Please check PSIA’s admissions web page.

Recommendation Letters: Two academic references are required, preferably from professors who can write meaningfully about an applicant’s academic performance in the classroom. Applicants may include an additional professional reference.

Application Checklist: https://www.sciencespo.fr/psia/content/admissions.html

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