LSE undergraduate exchange with Sciences Po

Applying for Sciences Po exchange in 2015

Applications for the Sciences Po exchange in 2015 will open following the briefing session in February 2015.  Please refer to the information below for more advice on the exchange.

Sciences Po Information|

Sciences Po Exchange Programme Sample Courses|

LSE Information|

Applications for the competition will close at midnight on the 27 February 2015.

Background to the scheme

In 2011/12 LSE launched an exciting new exchange programme (for 2nd year undergraduate students) with Sciences Po, one of France's leading higher education institutions and one of the School's five institutional partners. 

Like LSE, Sciences Po has a specialist academic focus on subjects in the humanities and social sciences. Also like LSE, it has an international outlook, with 40 per cent of its 10,000 students originating from outside France.

How will I benefit from participating in the exchange?

Studying abroad is a highly rewarding experience. Returning students often describe their experience as 'life-changing'. It can have a profound effect on how you view the world and your place within it by challenging you and your assumptions. As an individual, you will develop independence and self-reliance. Indeed, the experiences and skills you develop abroad should help you mature both personally and academically. Taking part in a scheme of this kind should also improve your career prospects: in choosing potential recruits, employers place a great value on adaptability, flexibility and the ability to communicate well with people from different cultures. Students who have spent time studying overseas usually develop these skills and can demonstrate them to employers. 

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What is on offer at Sciences Po?

10 LSE undergraduates will spend a full academic year at Sciences Po, either at its main Paris campus or at one of its Regional Centres.

The main campus is in the centre of Paris, at Saint-Germain-des-Prės, close to the Louvre and the Latin Quarter. As well as offering programmes across the social sciences and the humanities, some in conjunction with other universities in Paris, the city campus acts as a global hub, welcoming over 1000 students each year from Sciences Po's partner universities.

Student numbers at each Regional Centre are low – 100 to 250 students – which means that these campuses have a real community feel.

Each of the Regional Centres is focussed on studies relating to a particular part of the world:

Reims| Transatlantic relations

Dijon|

Central and Eastern Europe

Le Havre|

Europe/Asia

Menton|

The Middle East and the Mediterranean

Nancy|

Germany and other German-speaking countries

Poitiers|

Latin America, the Iberian peninsula

Sciences Po would particularly like to highlight the Reims campus as beneficial to LSE students.  Tailor made courses are available focussing on international affairs and business affairs.  Advanced French is not essential for this campus, but there is the opportunity to take intensive French classes to improve your language ability.  Both cheaper and safer than Paris, it is only a 45 minute train journey from the capital.

Sciences Po's educational programmes have a strong international dimension thanks to multi-lingual teaching and the comparative and international perspectives of the courses. These cover a wide range of subjects, including Political Sciences, History, Economy, Business, European Studies, International Relations and Law. In addition, each campus offers courses in languages relevant to their regional focus. 

You can find out more about Sciences Po and the Regional Centres at http://college.sciences-po.fr/siteparis/etudiants-echange|.

How good will my French need to be?

It is possible to take the year at Paris, Menton and Reims on the basis of English only.

For Nancy you would need at least English and German (C1 level, Common European Framework of Reference for Languages[CEFR]).

For Dijon you would need at least English and French (C1 level, CEFR).

For Poitiers you would need at least English and French (C1 level, CEFR), or English and Spanish (C1 level, CEFR), or English and Portuguese (C1 level, CEFR).

 Common European Framework of Reference for Languages|

What will the academic commitment entail?

You will need to take a full course load at Sciences Po. This means that you will need to study courses worth up to 30 European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) credits per term. 

You will need to ensure that

  • (a) you don't take courses that directly overlap with courses you have taken, or are going to take, at LSE

and

  • (b) you take at least one language course, ideally with a view to studying a language you haven't studied before. 

Naturally, you will need to meet any academic conditions or pre-requisites set for admission to the courses you choose.

You can choose a wide range of courses that you are interested in or you can specialise on a region or a language. 

We strongly recommend that you discuss your course choice with your Academic Adviser before you apply.  You will choose your first courses before you go to France and choose your second set of courses by January in the following year.  It is not always possible to take all of your first choice courses and Sciences Po encourage you to also have second and third choices in mind.  Please note that you will be required to take the full course load of 30 credits.

If you are a non-EU student, you will need to check the conditions of your visa to make sure that the course load at Sciences Po meets any special visa requirements you may have.

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How does this fit in with my LSE degree studies?

The scheme is open to all LSE students, whether from the UK, the rest of the EU or elsewhere, who are currently in the second year of their undergraduate programme.

You will need to be in good academic standing. For example, we would normally expect you to have passed all your first year exams without needing to retake any of them, although we would be prepared to consider exceptions to this. N.b. if you are offered a place on the scheme but fail one or more of your second year exams, you might be asked to withdraw from the scheme. 

The Sciences Po year would be additional to the requirements of your LSE degree. Having completed the year at Sciences Po you would then return to LSE to study the 3rd and final year of your undergraduate degree programme.  The Sciences Po year would not count towards your final classification. However, Sciences Po will issue you with a transcript giving details of your results and details of your grades for your studies at Sciences Po will be included on your LSE transcript.

By completing a full workload (which equates to 30 European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System [ECTS] credits per term), you will be eligible to receive Sciences Po's Certificate in Social Science and Humanities. If you meet the relevant credit thresholds, your Certificate will also indicate a thematic 'concentration' or foreign language 'mention'. For further details, please see: http://college.sciences-po.fr/siteparis/curricula|.

How does the scheme work financially?

Costs involved

From 2014 - 2015,  you will need to make a payment towards tutiton fees at LSE whilst you are on the exchange.  The amounts have yet to be confirmed but are expected to be:

  • UK/EU students: £1350
  • International students: £4500

If you are eligible for funding through the Student Loan Company, you will be able to apply for a loan to cover these tuition fees. 

The likely living costs vary widely by Regional Centre, from €6,230 to €10,500 over a ten month period.

Students studying at the Paris campus are advised to attend the Welcome Programme. There is a charge for this programme and you would be responsible for paying this yourself. In 2013/14 the charge was €250.

You will need to make provision for travel costs, and health and travel insurance. Non-EU students will need to take out French social insurance via Sciences Po, which costs about €100 per year; British and other EU nationals are covered by the European Health Insurance card.

Support available

If you are a Home UK student, you will continue to be eligible for support (maintenance loan and/or grant) from Student Finance for the year in France.

If you are a Home UK or EU student who is currently in receipt of a LSE Bursary, your award  will also be renewed at its current rate for the year in France, subject to an assessment by the Financial Support Office.

All students will be eligible for a mobility grant under the Erasmus scheme. The levels for next year have not been set as yet, but, based on 2013/14 figures, it is likely to be in the region of €370 per month.

The School will provide an Annual Fund Sciences Po Exchange Bursary of £2500 to assist with travel and living expenses. 

If you currently hold a LSE scholarship, you will not be able to hold it during your year in France.

You will also be free to undertake part-time work alongside your studies (within reasonable limits). Opportunities for work vary according to location, and will depend on French visa rules.

International students who have loans from their home country, e.g. the US or Canada, will need to clarify with their lender whether their loan(s) can be applied to the year in France, although LSE can help with official documentation.  Sciences Po is an accredited institution for US student loan purposes.

Where would I live?

You will receive support from Sciences Po housing services in arranging housing on the campus where you will be attending courses but it will be your responsibility to find a place to live.  This is more difficult in Paris where this is a housing shortage.

For details go to:

Sciences Po: Living in France|

You will have access to all the academic, social, health and welfare facilities available to Sciences Po undergraduates, including all student societies.

If you need a visa for entry into France, you will need to make your own arrangements for obtaining it, although Sciences Po will offer you guidance on the application process.

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When does the Sciences Po term start?

For students attending the Paris campus, there is an Orientation at the end of August each year.  The term in Paris and in the regional centres then starts in September.

How do I apply?

The 2014 - 2015 competition has now opened.  The deadline for receiving applications is midnight on the 28 February 2014.

You need to submit:

Personal statement of up to 1250 words (longer statements will not be considered) covering:

  • your educational journey so far, including reflections on your experience of LSE to date 
  • your initial thinking about the year at Sciences Po – which campus you would like to attend and why, which courses you want to take and how they relate to your degree programme at LSE, which languages you might want to study
  • your ambitions beyond your LSE degree, and how the Sciences Po year would contribute towards your future plans.

Academic reference from a full-time member of LSE staff, preferably your Academic Adviser or Departmental Tutor.  (If the member of staff works part time or is currently on sabbatical but able to provide a suitable reference, this is fine but the panel will not accept references from Graduate teaching assistants).The academic reference should cover your suitability to participate in the Sciences Po exchange programme and the way(s) in which your referee thinks you would particularly benefit from taking part in the programme;  it should also comment on your academic performance and wider contribution to the department so far.

If we don't have the supporting reference, we won't be able to consider your application. Your referee can email the reference directly to Bethan Ovens

Erasmus@lse.ac.uk  |

or alternatively you can submit it along with your personal statement and application cover sheet.

Your documents should be emailed to Bethan Ovens at

Erasmus@lse.ac.uk|

Please write 'Sciences Po application' in the subject of the e-mail.

The onus is on you to make a persuasive case. In assessing your application we will be looking for evidence that you have given this opportunity careful thought, that you have strong reasons for wanting to take advantage of it and that you have undertaken suitable research, for instance by visiting the Sciences Po website and beyond. We will also be looking for a detailed explanation of why you would like to study at your first choice of campus and how the year at Sciences Po would contribute to your future plans.

Feedback from LSE students who took part in the first exchange, 2011/12

The overall experience:

The most satisfactory aspect of the non-academic experience of the programme has been how my horizons and perspective have been completely broadened by studying abroad. I can’t quite put into words how much I have gained from this year.

My year at Sciences Po far surpassed my expectations. I thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of it and was glad I had the opportunity to participate.

I would 100% recommend participating in an exchange programme with Sciences Po. It gives you opportunities that you are unlikely to ever come across again. It is a great experience both educationally and personally.

The curricula:

One of the best aspects was being able to choose any of the courses on offer. This allowed me to choose whatever I was interested in and I subsequently enjoyed all of my courses. It also allowed me to choose new courses in which I had no background. Without this year abroad, I would not have been able to study these subjects as part of my LSE degree due to all the regulations’.

Returning to LSE

I have been incredibly satisfied with my year with Sciences Po, in fact probably even more as I look back at it. I would not say that the return to LSE had been an issue, in fact I would even say that my experiences in France have made me appreciate the opportunities offered at LSE and in London even more.

As for how my experience at Sciences Po is affecting my time back at LSE and in London, it's been a great impact. I have a totally fresh approach to my law degree and feel very motivated!

After having done the exchange, I feel that I am much more refreshed and was very much looking forward to beginning study at LSE once again. The difficulty was getting familiar with the material. At Sciences Po, I chose a wide range of subjects, unrelated to Economics, so coming back to LSE took a bit of getting used to. Being able to compare the two institutions, I now appreciate LSE much more, and the education that I have. I do miss being in France, and the excitement of speaking in a different language, but I love being back in London again. I have developed many skills during my time in France, in which I am now able to transfer to life within and outside of LSE and has definitely helped me.

Further Information

Sciences Po - information for International Students|

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