Undergrads in dual-degree program to study two years in France

A new dual-degree program will be offered in fall 2016 by UC Berkeley’s College of Letters and Science. But this program has a twist. Freshmen applying to Berkeley will also have the opportunity to study at France’s leading university in the social sciences, Sciences Po.

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Students at the Reims campus will focus on relations between Europe and North America, as well as Europe and Africa, in addition to their core courses. (Photo courtesy of Sciences Po)

The Sciences Po and UC Berkeley Dual Degree Program is part of Chancellor Nicholas Dirks’ larger goal for every student to have an international educational experience before graduation.

Students admitted to the program — it’s open to freshmen interested in pursuing the social sciences — will spend their first two years studying at Sciences Po, and will finish their junior and senior years at Berkeley. Students are encouraged to pursue a major available at the Sciences Po campuses, ranging from global studies to sociology, and will choose from an array of core courses and electives.

Sciences Po, short for “Sciences Politiques,” which translates to “political science,” offers students three campuses to choose from — Le Havre, located on the coast of Normandy; Menton, on the French Riviera; and Reims, just 45 minutes outside of Paris. The campuses share a common curriculum, but each campus has a distinct area-studies focus.

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At the Le Havre campus, students will study the relationship between Europe and Asia. (Photo courtesy of Sciences Po)

French isn’t required to get into the program — the instruction is in English — but once students arrive at Sciences Po, they are required to take French and a language associated with the campus’s region, from Arabic to Hindi to Japanese, in addition to their regular courses.

Robert Gleeson, the academic coordinator of the program, says it offers students a fully integrated international educational experience, with about a third of the students on each campus coming from the region being studied, and others coming from across the globe.

“We’re living in a global civilization,” says Gleeson. “The program gives students two years of instruction in France, where they’re studying about one of three world regions, and then brings them back to study at Berkeley, which already has a strong international focus. They will offer the campus a broad, international perspective.”

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Students are the Menton campus will learn all about the dynamics between Europe, the Mediterranean basin, the Middle East and the Gulf states. (Photo courtesy of Sciences Po)

Admission to the program is highly competitive. To be considered for the dual-degree program, freshmen interested in applying — it’s not available to transfer students — must be admitted to both Berkeley and Sciences Po by filling out a UC application with a supplemental application to Sciences Po.

Those who complete the program will receive a bachelor’s degree from UC Berkeley and Sciences Po, and will have guaranteed admission to a master’s program at Sciences Po.

The president of Sciences Po, Frédéric Mion, will be on campus this weekend to meet with alumni and leaders from both universities, and on Monday, Oct. 12, he will attend a ceremony to sign the official agreement of the dual-degree program.

To learn more about the Sciences Po and UC Berkeley Dual Degree Program, visit sciencespo.berkeley.edu or email sciencespo-ucberkeley@berkeley.edu.