Sciences-Po is a world-renowned university with particular strengths in the social sciences. Created in 1872, it provides intellectual training anchored in the study of the humanities and the social sciences. Click here to see their latest brochure.
The university's alumni include Nicolas Sarkozy (the most recent past President of France), Pascal Lamy (former Director-General of World Trade Organization), Boutros Boutros-Ghali (former Secretary-General of the United Nations) and Francois Hollande (current president of France). It is a highly selective institution.
The main (Paris) campus is just off the Seine, between Boulevard Saint Germain and Boulevard Raspail, within walking distance of Notre Dame, the Panthéon, and the Assemblée Nationale. It is housed primarily in 17th and 18th century mansions located on and around Rue Saint-Guillaume and Rue de l'Université, in the 7th arondissement on the left bank. Most Richmond participants will study at this campus. Click here to access a campus map.
Sciences-Po also maintains six regional campuses, each focused on the study of a particular world region (including instruction in pertinent foreign languages).
About the city
- Dijon: Central and Eastern Europe program
- Le Havre: Europe-Asia program
- Menton: Middle East and Mediterranean program
- Nancy: German-French program
- Poitiers: Latin American, Spanish and Portuguese program
- Reims: Transatlantic program
Paris is one of the world’s most charming and diverse cities. It offers limitless discoveries and opportunities for learning.
- Overall GPA of 3.30
- Basic proficiency in French strongly recommended, but not required.
- Note: Students must be in good academic and disciplinary standing with the University to study abroad. Each applicant’s disciplinary record will be reviewed, and students must be cleared by the Office of the Dean of Richmond College or Westhampton College. Students on conduct probation will not be able to study abroad if their probationary period extends beyond the start date of their intended program. Situations of housing probation and honor probation will be handled on a case-by-case basis.
- Participation may be denied, or acceptance may be revoked, if a student's conduct prior to departure raises doubts as to his or her suitability for the program.
- Robins School of Business students: This program is suitable only for students majoring in Economics.
It is assumed that students applying to Sciences-Po are doing so primarily in the hope of having a semester or year of substantial academic challenges and corresponding rewards. Students applying to Sciences-Po should thus devote most of their essay to
- their academic accomplishments to this point
- how a semester or year at Sciences-Po will help them meet their academic and career goals
- how they will adjust their study skills to adapt to the differences in academic culture that they will encounter at Sciences-Po
Sciences-Po is one of the world's best institutions for political science, law and other social science areas. Students going there should expect the coursework, even that taught in English, to be more challenging than at most other programs.
- public policy
- international relations
- political economy
- management studies (limited selection)
- constitutional and administrative law
Classes in French as a foreign language are offered on all levels during the semester. Before applying to this program, students wishing to take French language or culture at Sciences-Po must speak to Dr. Pappas or Dr. Kapanga in the French section of the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures to determine what kind of French credit, if any, they will receive for these classes.
Please see these links for information on classes available.
Students accepted to the program will receive a course schedule three to four weeks in advance of registration. They will need to choose one or two alternates for each course they wish to take. Registration for Fall semester opens in July. Registration for spring semester opens in December.
Language of instruction
About one-third of Sciences-Po undergrad classes at the Paris campus are taught in English. The distribution across disciplines varies; for example, most Economics classes are taught in English, but most Law & History classes are taught in French.
Students with a sufficient level of proficiency may take all their classes in French. Others will take classes in English plus a class in French as a foreign language.
Be aware that students attempting to take classes in French will be graded on the same standards as native speakers.
Sciences-Po credits and UR units
Sciences-Po uses the European Union's ECTS (European Credit Transfer system) for assigning credit to its classes. Most classes there are valued at 6 ECTS. The usual load is 24 ECTS per semester, and 30 ECTS is the maximum.
UR's Office of the Registrar uses the following formula to convert from ECTS to UR Units:
Divide ECTS by 7, then round up to nearest tenth of a Unit.
Please see this page on the website of the Office of the Registrar for an explanation of how academic credit earned abroad is transferred to UR.
Sciences-Po uses the French grading scale of 0 - 20, in which 10 is the minimum passing mark. UR converts these grades as follows.
14 - 20
12 - 13.99
11 - 11.99
10 - 10.99
7 – 9.99
D (no UR credit)
0 – 6.99
F (no UR credit)
Sciences-Po does not have its own housing but does provide housing advice.
Students obtain accommodation (usually small apartments) through a housing placement company with whom Sciences-Po has a long relationship. To obtain housing for fall semester or the academic year, students need to apply in April or May. To obtain housing for spring semester, students need to apply in September or October.
Temporary housing for the beginning of the fall semester may be arranged through the Cité Internationale Universitaire de Paris (CIUP). Click here for information.
Dates and costs
Click here for Dates and Costs for Sciences-Po.
Click here to read about scholarships for study abroad.
Sciences-Po follows an academic calendar that is very similar to that of UR; fall exams end by Christmas.
A Welcome Program is offered before classes start each semester. This provides very helpful practical information about living in Paris, but also includes tips on how to navigate the French academic system, which is very different from that of the US.
Students going to France who are pursuing a major or minor in French (this includes double majors) should consider applying for the French Embassy’s Benjamin Franklin Travel Grant.
US citizens must obtain a student visa from the government of France to study abroad in that country.
The first step is online registration with an organization called “Campus France”.
Then you complete the visa application forms found online at the website of the appropriate Consulate General of France.
Next, you make an appointment (several weeks in advance) at the appropriate French embassy or consulate to submit your visa application and supporting materials (including your passport) in person.
Once in France, you will apply for a residency permit, the final validation of your permission to study there.
Please note: The Office of International Education recommends against traveling internationally in the three or four months prior to a semester in France. If you and/or your passport are not dedicated to obtaining your French visa during this critical time, your visa application process can be expensive, stressful or unsuccessful.
- We recommend against traveling abroad in the summer before a fall semester in France.
- We recommend against traveling abroad in the fall before a spring semester in France. Also, spring participants should pay for expedited Campus France processing. The Office of International Education can reimburse students for the normal Campus France fee, but not the extra cost for expedited service.
Contact Chris Klein in the Office of International Education.
This document represents the most accurate information available at the time of publication. Statements contained herein are not contractual obligations, and verbal or other representations that are inconsistent with or not contained within the document are not binding. The University of Richmond reserves the right to change without specific notice programs and the conditions under which they are offered.
Updated 19 Dec 2016