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Programs : Brochure

Fact Sheet:
Fact Sheet:
Click here for a definition of this term Language of Instruction: English, French Click here for a definition of this term Language Prerequisite: See Program Description
Minimum Cumulative GPA: 3.3 Click here for a definition of this term Credit Available For: College
Other Eligibility Requirements: Grades of B or better in French Click here for a definition of this term Type of Program: Semester/Year Study Abroad
Click here for a definition of this term Housing Options: Apartment/Off-Campus, Arranged by Student Click here for a definition of this term Application Deadline: Fall/Year: March 1, Spring: September 10
Click here for a definition of this term Department Preferred: Philosophy, Politics, Economics (PPE)
Program Description:

BPO LogoInstitute of Political Studies in Paris (Sciences Po)

The program at Sciences Po allows Penn students to directly enroll in courses at the prestigious Parisian university alongside degree-seeking students. 

For over one hundred years, the Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris, or "Sciences Po" as it is commonly known, has been training the best young minds of France and Europe for leadership service. Education at Sciences Po fosters dialogue between the major disciplines of the social sciences – economics, history, political science, law and sociology. It gives students the tools they need to understand the contemporary world and helps them develop critical thinking and public speaking skills through pedagogical methods that favor group projects, oral presentations and the confrontation of ideas. By providing a multidisciplinary approach and a range of electives, such as artistic workshops, Sciences Po encourages students to adopt different perspectives.

For additional information, visit the Sciences Po Exchange Programme website
The City of Paris

The capital and largest city of France, Paris is one of the most populated metropolitan areas in Europe. Known as one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world, Paris is a center for the arts, intellectual discourse, and gastronomy. It has been an important and central location for over two thousand years, and is today one of the world's leading cultural and financial centers. The city offers a wide array of art museums, musical and theatrical venues, architectural landmarks, stunning gardens, and some of the world's top institutions of higher learning, all of which make Paris an ideal location to explore scholarly and cultural pursuits.

Did you know…?

The city of Paris is divided into twenty administrative districts, or arrondissements, each with its own unique character, history, and cultural attractions.


The program at Sciences Po is for College credit only.

The General French Language Program

Minimum GPA Requirement: 3.3

Language Prerequisite: Grades of B or better in all French courses. Successful completion of at least 7 semesters, or the equivalent, of French by the end of the academic semester (fall or spring) prior to departure. If you are a high-level French speaker, it could still likely be the case that you have not taken 7 semesters of French at Penn - this is alright. As long as you have successfully reached a reasonably high level of French, and your home school approves you, you are eligible for this program.
The PPE Program (Please note that this program is only intended for declared PPE majors - there are no exceptions)

Minimum GPA Requirement: 3.3

Language Prerequisite: Grades of B or better in all French courses. Successful completion of at least 2 semesters, or the equivalent, of French by the end of the academic semester (fall or spring) prior to departure.

Language of Instruction

French and English


A full course load at Sciences Po consists of 30 ECTS credits (typically 4-6 courses) per semester.  Penn students must maintain a full course load while abroad and may only enroll in courses at the undergraduate level. Penn Abroad recommends that each course be 5-7 ECTS credits. While ultimately at the discretion of your home school, 5-7 ECTS per course appropriately equates to 1 CU of coursework.

Students on the French language program are required to take all of their courses in French.

Students on the PPE program are required to take a French language course at the appropriate level or at least one of their regular content courses in French. The remainder of courses can be taken in English. 

Sciences Po Academic Calendar
Sciences Po Course Catalog for Incoming Exchange Students

Grading Scale

As on all Penn Abroad programs, grades are recorded on the Penn transcript and are calculated in the cumulative grade point average.  The pass/fail option can be exercised according to the Penn on-campus policy of your home school. Be sure to review Penn Abroad’s academic policies.

French university grades are awarded on a 20 point scale (including decimal points, e.g. 13.5). The scale is not based on an equal distribution of points nor on a percentage.

Grades are reported to Penn on the Sciences Po scale and then converted to Penn grades according to the following grade equivalencies:
Sciences Po Grade Penn Grade
14-20 A
12+ A-
11+ B+
10+ B
9+ B-
8+ C+
7+ C
6+ C-
5+ D

BPO Special FeaturesOrientation Activities

All Penn students are required to attend the orientation activities organized by Sciences Po prior to the start of each semester. The Welcome Programme has an extra cost that Penn pays for. 

Student Associations

Penn students studying at Sciences Po have access to a wide range of student activities and associations.

BPO Campus
Participants must be willing to live under local conditions for students.

Sciences Po, like most French universities, does not have housing of its own. Students will be required to find their own accommodation in Paris. To assist students in finding private accommodation, Sciences Po offers a limited Housing Service where students can find apartment listings.

Penn Abroad Financial Policies

Students are charged Penn tuition and academic fees for all Penn Abroad programs. Additional expenses will typically include items such as housing, visas, and airfare.  Please see the program budget sheets below for more information. Be sure to review Penn Abroad’s financial policies.

Financial Aid and Study Abroad

In most cases, financial aid applies to Penn-approved programs. Student Financial Services reviews program budget sheets each semester to determine how to appropriately adjust your aid package. Visit SFS's website for more information on how Financial Aid will work during your semester abroad.

Budget Sheets


Scholarship Opportunities

Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program: Competition for awards for study abroad, for US citizen students who are receiving federal Pell Grant funding at a 2-year or 4-year college or university.

Please review the Penn Abroad application process, policies, and procedures. To open an application or learn more about the program, please schedule an appointment with a Penn Abroad Global Programs Manager. For a student perspective on life and academics in France, contact a Penn Abroad Past Participant. 

Important note: You will be required to apply for a visa to study in France. While this process has some steps, your Global Programs Manager will support you during the process. Your Global Programs Manager will send you an email with visa application instructions, and it is imperative that you act promptly so that there is no delay in processing your visa. As part of this process, your passport will not be in your possession for about 2-3 weeks, so please plan accordingly. (This does not apply to EU citizens/passport holders)