Political science

Political science is a relatively young discipline. It has been taught in France since 1870 at the Ecole Libre des Sciences Politiques (now the IEP de Paris, commonly known as Sciences Po), and after 1945 it became an academic discipline, first at the Instituts d'Etudes Politiques (IEP) and then at law faculties.

Sciences politiques

Political science courses

Training in political science is diverse and open-ended. It focuses on understanding contemporary societies and is interested in how they are governed.
The discipline itself covers several areas of knowledge:

  • International relations
  • Political sociology
  • Public policy
  • History of political ideas

It is taught in Instituts d'Etudes Politiques (IEP), law faculties and a number of schools specialising in international relations.



The Instituts d'Etudes Politiques (IEP) - including the one in Paris commonly known as "Sciences Po" - have specific recruitment procedures and teaching.

The 5-year course, with a multi-disciplinary and generalist 1st cycle (Bachelor), is based around the teaching of humanities and social sciences (law, economics, history, political humanities, political science and sociology) and languages. Emphasis is also placed on public speaking through presentations and other forms of presentation.

Internationalisation is an essential aspect: all students go abroad (often in their 3rd year).

IEP Paris has several campuses, the main one being in Paris. The delocalised campuses, which only take undergraduates, are located in 6 cities in France. Each of these campuses is geographically specialised.


Political science degrees

Universities offer courses in political science. Most courses are offered at Master's level, with only a few specific courses available at Bachelor's level.

Law degrees or law degrees combined with another course (Law/Economics, Law/LEA, French Law/Foreign Law) may be suitable for further study in political science.

These courses offer a wide range of career opportunities, but are mainly geared towards politics, journalism or international relations.