10 Reasons to Study in Reims

Discover the largest of the undergraduate campuses
  • Students in the church yard ©Paul Rentler / Sciences PoStudents in the church yard ©Paul Rentler / Sciences Po

After having learned that one could study at Sciences Po while being outside of Paris, most high schoolers ask themselves THE fateful question: what differences are there between the seven different campuses of the undergraduate college? And how does one choose between the cities of Dijon, Le Havre, Menton, Nancy, Paris, Poitiers or Reims? Learn more about the ‘champagne campus’ and discover its solid arguments.

1. The "Harry Potter campus"

The regional campuses of Sciences Po are all situated on historic and architecturally exceptional sites. Inaugurated in 2010, the campus in Reims is one of the most beautiful examples: constructed in the 17th century, the former Jesuit College (fr.) has since renewed its vocation as a place of instruction. From the arches of the old kitchens to the stained-glass windows and paintings, and passing through the courtyards dotted with trees and century-old vines, the location finds itself somewhere between Oxford and the Sorbonne. Magnificently restored, the campus offers students both the beauty of a historic monument, and the technology and modernity necessary for contemporary students. Our favourite feature: the woodwork and baroque gilts of the old Jesuit library, transformed into a study room, that could easily serve as the background of a scene from Harry Potter.

2. The advantages of a Large City...

Blessed with an immense architectural heritage, the ‘City of Kings’ - it was in Reims that the sovereigns of the Ancien Regime would be crowned - is well-known thanks to its 13th century cathedral, and is home to three UNESCO world heritage sites.

Designated ‘The City of Art and History’, it plays host to a rich cultural life, with an opera house and multiple music festivals. Reims is the 12th most populated French city with nearly 200,000 inhabitants; thus the services and amenities necessary for a rich student life, including festive and athletic events are certainly available. Last but not least, Paris is only a 45 minute train ride away by TGV, allowing students to easily benefit from the endless possibilities offered by the capital, and opportunities to attend the events and conferences organised on the Paris campus.

3. ...Without the Inconveniences!

The living conditions in Reims are easier than those of Paris, notably due to considerably cheaper housing options available by the CROUS and other student residences. Many of these are located within a five minute walk from campus. Less expensive, daily life is also less stressful with shorter transits and an easy access to activities, leisure and services. Idem at the campus level: second largest campus in size, after the Paris campus, it hosts more than 1,400 students. A community of an ideal size, simultaneously nurturing exchange and cohesion.

4. A Passion for Student Life and Associations

Exchange and cohesion are built via a rich community life, which accentuates the rhythm of the campus year-round. More than 30 associations allow students to follow their passion in various domains such as art, culture, athletics, debate and politics, education, the environment, the world, health, solidarity, the fight against discrimination, etc… The spirit of the campus is particularly present during the Sciences Po Collegiades, the inter-campus sporting and artistic competition of the Undergraduate College.

5. A True MElting Pot

More than half of the students at our campus in Reims are international students, coming from over 50 different nationalities, with the United States strongly represented. The programmes are taught in both English and French, the two official languages of the campus that all students master by the end of their bachelor’s degree. Hence the presence of the most reputed anglophone professors in their respective domains. Faithful to the North-American culture, the classes are very interactive and are based on the Anglo-Saxon academic model.

The campus of Sciences Po in Reims is thus a unique opportunity to meet and befriend people with different backgrounds and experiences, to practice and learn foreign languages - from Spanish to Swahili to Arabic - and to have a very international daily life.

6. A Historic Programme Dedicated to the United States...

“Sciences Po with an American twist!” Since its inauguration in 2010, the Reims campus has hosted the “Euro-American” programme of the bachelor’s degree. What are the differences between the French and American legal systems? Why has the United States only had one constitution since the end of the 18th century? In this programme taught entirely in English, students explore transatlantic relations with a comparative approach of institutions, law, foreign policy, and their contemporary issues.

7. ...Not to Mention a New Programme Focusing on Africa

In 2015, Reims became the only campus to offer a second regional specialisation with the arrival of the Euro-African programme. Within the scope of this French-taught curriculum, students explore the history of the African continent as well as the democratic, demographic, environmental, economic and urban issues and the conflicts linked to them. Some examples of courses are: “Uses and Practices in History in Sub-Saharan Africa (19th-21st century), “Conducting Negotiations at the International Level: Europe and Africa”, and “Could the Solutions Implemented in Canada Against Poverty Be Effective in Africa?” (all in French). The coexistence of these two programmes leads to the development of interesting and diverse comparative perspectives.

8. Plus Six Times Two: the Vast Choice of Dual-Degree Programmes

Another specificity: Reims is the only undergraduate college campus that gives access to six of the nine bachelor’s dual degree programmes. These four-year programmes consist of two years of studies in Reims and another two years spent at the partner university. This is an exceptional experience that facilitates access to career opportunities in France and abroad.

The undergraduate dual-degree programmes offered in Reims are with the following partner universities:

  • Columbia University (New York, USA)
  • University of California Berkeley (USA)
  • University of Hong Kong
  • National University of Singapore (NUS, Singapore)
  • University of British Columbia (UBC, Vancouver, Canada)
  • University of Sydney (Australia)

9. Many Different Possibilities, One Single Degree

As is the case for all the campuses of Sciences Po, professors of all specialties and from different countries allow for the study of the fundamental subjects of Sciences Po: law, economics, history, sociology, political science and the humanities. This is the heart of the multidisciplinary education in the social sciences and humanities that is taught on each campus. No matter the choice of the regional specialisation, in Reims or elsewhere, students belong to the one and only Undergraduate College, and study to obtain the same bachelor’s degree.

10. A Ticket to the World (and to Paris)

Like all their undergraduate classmates, students at the Reims campus all spend the third year of their programme abroad at one of our 470 partner universities. And once they receive their degrees, all students have the opportunity to catch up with each other in Paris while following one of our 27 master’s degree programmes or 47 dual master’s programmes, all taught on our Parisian campus in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, in the heart of the capital.

Reims students will now study in the Dean Awn Library

A Tribute to the Late Dean Emeritus of Columbia University’s School of General Studies
  • The Reims campus library, renamed in honor of Peter J. Awn ©Martin ArgyrogloThe Reims campus library, renamed in honor of Peter J. Awn ©Martin Argyroglo

Energetic. Supportive. Eccentric. Intellectual. Non-traditional. Witty. Brilliant. Passionate. When colleagues and alumni are asked to describe the late Dean Emeritus Peter J. Awn of the Columbia University School of General Studies, adjectives begin to flow. As of September 2019, his name will adorn the state-of-the-art library of our Reims campus.

On September 4th, 2019, current Dean of General Studies of Columbia University, Lisa Rosen-Metsch, the President of Sciences Po, Frédéric Mion, former Vice-President of International Affairs, Francis Verillaud, the Dean of the Undergraduate College, Stéphanie Balme, campus director, Tilman Turpin, family, friends, alumni and current students, gathered on the Reims campus for a dedication ceremony that would name the campus library after the late Dean Awn.

Dean of the School of General Studies from 1997 to 2017, Peter Awn, together with Francis Verrillaud, was the co-founder of the dual BA program between Columbia University and Sciences Po. Their shared vision of a world-class, international and multicultural education resulted in the creation of a program that would allow students to study two years at Sciences Po (in Reims, Le Havre or Menton), and two years at Columbia University in the city of New York.

According to students and colleagues, both past and present, Peter J. Awn was more than just a professor or a Dean - he was an inimitable institution of the Morningside campus. His fame was not limited to Columbia, however, as he was well-loved and respected by all who had the privilege of meeting him. He possessed an inexhaustible desire to improve the lives of students, and it was this shared desire that helped Columbia University and Sciences Po make the dual BA program between Columbia University and Sciences Po the success it is today. But his role did not end there: Dean Awn visited the three participating campuses twice a year, meeting students from the incoming cohorts and ensuring that they already felt part of Columbia University. President Mion described him as a francophile, and Vice-Dean Curtis Rodgers recounted how much he cherished meeting students during his bi-annual visits to France.

Dean Awn was part of the School of General Studies for four decades, and it is not difficult to understand why he became almost synonymous with the institution. “GS” (as it is informally known) was created in 1947 with the purpose of allowing WWII veterans to return to university and rebuild their lives. A former Jesuit priest-turned-scholar of Islam, Dean Awn believed in second chances, and so he took this vision and expanded it to all 'non-traditional' students (be it veterans, performers, entrepreneurs, career-changers, or clergymen) who had had to interrupt their higher education or start at a later age due to various circumstances. The dual BA, launched in 2010, was perhaps the most innovative extension of these values.

Awn, who had since retired from the position of Dean but continued to teach at Columbia University, kept a close relationship with students and alumni of the dual BA until his death in February 2019. Sciences Po chose to honour its colleague and friend through the naming of the recently created Reims campus library, a place of intellectual reflection and curiosity.

The dedication ceremony was conducted in the former refectory, where campus director Tilman Turpin, President Mion, Vice-Dean Curtis Rodgers, Francis Verillaud, Dean Rosen-Metsch, Elif Naz Coker, an alumna of the program, as well as Norman Laurila, a lifelong friend of Dean Awn, addressed the gathering. In a poignant series of tributes, speakers recounted memories, told anecdotes, and paid their respects to a figure who dedicated his life to the pursuit of excellence in education, but most importantly, to education that is accessible to all. To close the ceremony, President Mion and Dean Rosen-Metsch unveiled the plaque honouring Dean Awn that will henceforth adorn the entrance of the bibliothèque, a sacred space that symbolizes knowledge and education and where students spend countless hours during their studies.

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At the Undergraduate College, A Back-To-School Programme centred around Ecology

  • Students listening to inaugural lecture in amphitheatre @Judith AzemaStudents listening to inaugural lecture in amphitheatre @Judith Azema

On your marks, get set… the start of the new academic year is upon us! Some students will be taking their first steps at Sciences Po as freshmen, others will be returning to familiar ground. Like every year, a back-to-school ceremony is held on each campus.

Seeing Blue

Among the novelties for the start of term at the Undergraduate College is the creation of an ‘Ocean Series’ dedicated to a maritime theme, piloted on three campuses: Poitiers, Le Havre and Menton. The blue wave hits with an inaugural lecture by oceanographer Francois Sarano on the Poitiers campus, and then with Anne Cullere, Vice Admiral of the French Navy, who will discuss “Ruling the Seas, our concern, our future” in Le Havre.

On the Paris campus, the new recruits will spend their week preparing a debate simulation on biodiversity, and attending lectures by anthropologist and sociologist Bruno Latour on “Politics of the Earth”, and by Jean-Marc Jancovici, energy and climte expert, on the transition to renewable energy.

Programme

  • Tuesday, 27 August: term starts at the Reims campus.
  • Wednesday, 28 August: term starts for 1st year students at the Paris campus. Inaugural lecture by Bruno Latour, anthropologist and sociologist - Read our article "It's no longer a question of ecology, but of civilisation"
  • Thursday, 29 August: term starts for 2nd year students at the Paris campus. Inaugural lecture by Jean-Marc Jancovici, energy and climate expert - Read our article "CO2 or GDP: The choice is ours"
  • Thursday, 29 August: term starts at the Nancy campus. Inaugural lecture by Dr. Viviane Dittrich,Deputy Director of the International Nuremberg Principles Academy on the "Multilateral Vision of the EU".
  • Tuesday, 3 September: term starts at the Le Havre campus. Inaugural lecture by Anne Cullerre,Vice Admiral of the French Navy.
  • Thursday, 5 September: term starts at the Poitiers campus. Inaugural lecture by François Sarano, oceanographer.
  • Monday, 9 September: term starts at the Menton campus.
  • Thursday, 13 September: term starts at the Dijon campus. Inaugural lecture by Aleksander Smolar, journalist and political scientist.

A Different View: A Student Initiative Makes Refugees' Stories Heard

Read the Interview
  • Portrait of Memphis Blue ©University of Sydney - International HousePortrait of Memphis Blue ©University of Sydney - International House

Memphis Blue is a student in the dual degree programme between Sciences Po and the University of Sydney. At the beginning of 2019, she was awarded the Davis Projects for Peace, which she used to launch the initiative “A Different View” in New South Wales, Australia. In this interview, she tells us about the project and her plans to expand it further.

You are studying in the dual degree programme between Sciences Po and the University of Sydney. What led you to choose this programme and how do the experiences at these two universities complement each other?

I chose the dual degree programme as it allowed me to combine my wide range of interests into one degree. I always knew I wanted to study Arabic and the Middle East, but at the same time I loved learning French and wanted to study different religions. The wide range of subjects provided at Sciences Po’s campus in Menton gave me a breadth of understanding and has subsequently helped me in narrowing down my interests at the University of Sydney.  

At the beginning of this year you were awarded the Davis Projects for Peace. Can you tell us about this grant and how it led you to launch your project "A Different View”?

The Davis Projects for Peace is an initiative connected to International Houses Worldwide where students are supported in starting an initiative for peace in any part of the world. A Different View is an organisation which facilitates talks given by individuals from refugee backgrounds. In these talks at high schools and community groups, the speakers explain where they come from and their experiences, giving participants the opportunity to understand to a greater extent what it means to be a refugee. The money from the grant has allowed me to undertake these talks at more than 10 schools so far and establish A Different View as an organisation, which will hopefully continue into the future.

What are the greatest challenges that you have come across while working on this project?

So far, the greatest challenge associated with A Different View has been learning how to establish it as an association. There is a lot of paperwork involved to allow it to operate and I feel like I have learnt so much going through this process. Recently A Different View became registered as a charity, which was fantastic, as that had been a long and repetitive application procedure. 

What have you learned through this project? What has it brought you?

For me, the best part of A Different View is when students come up to the speaker after the talk has finished, and thank them personally for sharing their story. Many of the students have said that it has helped them understand so much more about the experiences of refugees. This is the most rewarding part of the programme, as it demonstrates to me the need for these kinds of activities to provide people the opportunity to learn about refugee experiences. 

What ambitions do you have for the future, for "A Different View" or another project?

In terms of A Different View, I hope to continue going to high schools in New South Wales Australia, and talking to more students about refugees. It would be fantastic if the organisation could grow larger, and branch further from schools into community groups, especially in rural areas of New South Wales. I plan to apply for government endorsement for A Different View, as this would mean that more schools would be attracted to the programme and request it to come to them. 

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Sciences Po Top Performer in 2019 U-Multirank for Student Mobility

  • Africa Week on our campus in Reims ©Sciences PoAfrica Week on our campus in Reims ©Sciences Po

The 2019 U-Multirank has placed Sciences Po in the Top 25 Universities for Student Mobility. Student mobility is an integral part of Sciences Po’s core values and curriculum, with a mandatory year spent abroad as an undergraduate, but also in most master’s programmes.

Thanks to a network of nearly 480 partner universities, Sciences Po sends and receives students from all over the world, creating a multicultural community of open-minded, outward-looking students. 25 languages are taught at Sciences Po, and over 150 nationalities are represented in our student body. Thanks to the diversity of backgrounds and viewpoints - whether it be amongst professors or students, inside and outside of the classroom - studying social sciences at Sciences Po provides a global understanding of the world we live in.

*U Multirank was launched in 2014 by the European Commission as a means to compare universities based on a number of different criteria, making it an interesting alternative to most well-known higher education rankings.

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Comitted to Life

  • Arturo Garcia Gonzalez @Judith Azema / Sciences PoArturo Garcia Gonzalez @Judith Azema / Sciences Po

Arturo is a 2nd year undergraduate student studying on the Poitiers campus. He was born in France but has lived the majority of his life in Mexico. He got his baccalaureate from a Franco-Mexican school, and he chose Sciences Po because social engagement is an important part of the curriculum. Read the interview with Arturo who is engaged and committed, well beyond the confines of the campus, to mental health issues...

Can you tell us about your civic engagement? 

This year, I am doing my community internship at the National Association of Alcohol and Addiction Prevention. We work on various projects focusing mostly on preventing and reducing risks, such as workshops on narcotics in the Vivonne prison. Our flagship project this year, run by the Regional Health Agency, is to develop a network of “student resources”, who will be given psycho-social training. These students will serve as links between the student community and Public Health Authorities, with regards to mental health issues.

How do you plan to train these students? How will they be selected?

We help them develop their psycho-social skills and teach them ways to deal with student welfare issues, for example interpersonal relationships, coping with stress, and managing emotions. The content of the training programme is in the development stage, and we hope to put it into place in time for the start of the 2019 academic year. Student mentors will be chosen according to their involvement in university life (health or social work, clinical experience, etc.) The University of Poitiers is a pilot site for this project which, if successful, we would like to deploy on a national scale. 

You seem really committed to the cause. Beyond helping your community, what does it represent for you?

I feel that suicide is completely overlooked by the media, despite the fact that there are a million suicides a year. It is still a taboo subject. The National Observatory for Student Life reports many cases of student depression and attempted suicide. Students often struggle to find someone to talk to about their problems. Training students so that they can help their peers allows us to maintain the Institution’s Duty of Care, which people often do not know about. In addition, it is much easier to speak to another student, in an informal context, about complicated situations. This all helps to remove the controversy surrounding suicide.

Is this your first experience in this sector?

No, last year I did a 7 week internship in Bogota that allowed me to experience a range of institutions. First of all, I worked for a private foundation which helps young people, mostly from more privileged families, to overcome drug addictions. I then joined a public foundation which helps people in situations of poverty and social deprivation, which gave me a completely different perspective. Finally, I spent some time in the psychiatric ward of a public hospital in the south of Bogota, and at the National Institute of Prisons and Penitentiaries. Through all of this, I gained a more global vision, which I hope will help me with our current project which concerns about 25,000 students. 

What’s next for you?

I am going to spend my 3rd year in the United States, at the University of Pennsylvania, in preparation for a master’s degree in management. Obviously, I will continue to be committed to causes I am involved in. I have already noticed that the University of Pennsylvania offers medical training: I will definitely try to make the most of my time there and take part in some mental health projects.

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Poitiers: 5 Surprising Things About our New Campus

Take the Guided Tour
  • The entrance to the new Poitiers campus ©Sylvain RochasThe entrance to the new Poitiers campus ©Sylvain Rochas

Since 2001 Sciences Po has had a campus in Poitiers, but the undergraduate college was pushed for space at the Hôtel Chaboureau. There was a 15% increase in students in the space of 5 years, with the attractiveness of the Latin-American programme making new premises necessary. This became a reality in September 2018 at the heart of a new site built in the 18th century and reinvented for the 21st. Watch the guided tour on the occasion of the official inauguration which takes places on Wednesday, 10th April.

It’s not the first time that it has been a “school”

Built at the start of the 18th century, the former Jacobin convent occupied one of the buildings. The new campus reconnects the site with its educational vocation. Former home of the University of Poitiers, the institution created in the Middle Ages by clergymen, successfully survived the ups and downs of history right up to the French Revolution. In 1789, the convent became the seat of the Jacobin club (not to be confused with the previous tenants of the buildings), then barracks and a prison. In 1842, a philanthropist bought the property and transformed it into the Ecole Saint-Vincent de Paul. The owners were no longer religious, but the educative vocation tied in with the building remained. In 1902, the establishment became a boarding school and is renamed Pensionnat Saint-Jean-Baptiste de La Salle. It closed in 1905 and then reopened again, then returned as collège Saint-Stanislas, which it remains until 1980. Acquired and converted by the Region Nouvelle-Aquitaine, the site welcomed the ESCEM up until 2017. Thanks to the renovations financed by the region and the town, it once again becomes a “school” but this time, of higher education. Read below for a short summary of the history of this exceptional place, 23, rue Jean Jaurès

Poitiers is the new Paris

By moving to this new site, designed specifically for Sciences Po, we have conceived  an “ideal campus” for the needs of students and instructors of the 21st century. First of all, students have more space: there are 3 lecture halls whereas we could only fit 90 students in a lecture on the old site, and 10 classrooms instead of 5. But there is the added benefit of more spaces for other purposes: an art room, a cafeteria, associative offices, coworking spaces, common room etc. The classrooms are equipped with the latest in teaching technology, and students now have access to a health centre in dedicated premises. 

The site is thus a pilot, which prefigures other campus improvements, and notably the new site l’Artillerie in Paris, which will open its door in 2021-2022. The signposting, which is entirely accessible, is another example of this. 

“Meet you at Mafalda”

Yes, the student common room has been baptised “Espace Mafalda”. But we are not called Sciences Po for no reason…The famous comic character, created by Argentine artist Quino, is very popular in Latin America, and has a political aspect to her. Her editor, Julian Delgado, was tortured and killed. 

In total, eight famous personalities from the Latin American and Iberian world give their names to spaces on campus. All of which were chosen from amongst student suggestions: 

  • Gabriela Mistral lecture theatre - a Chilean poet, the first Latin American woman to win the Nobel Prize for Literature (1889-1957) 
  • Rubén Darío lecture theatre - Nicaraguan poet, diplomat, and journalist (1867-1916)
  • Paulo Freire lecture theatre - Brazilian academic (1921-1997)
  • Gabriel García Márquez Library - Colombian novelist, short story writer, journalist, and political activist, Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982 (1927-2014)
  • Cafeteria Mercedes Sosa, Argentinian singer (1935-2009)
  • Luis Buñuel videoStudio - Spanish director and scriptwriter
  • Frida Kahlo art studio - Mexican artist and painter (1907-1954)
  • Ana de Castro Osorio room - Portuguese writer and politician (1872- 1935) 

A Global Campus

With 30 different nationalities out of 187 students, the Poitiers campus in parallel with the other delocalised campuses of the Undergraduate college, is both international and anchored in the local framework. 60% of students are international - Brazilians and Spanish being the biggest contingent. But since 2007 the campus has admitted 950 students from the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region. Students from all horizons, are both engaged in their local communities and fortunate enough to meet leaders from all over the world (since 2013, the heads of state of Costa Rica, Uruguay, and Ecuador have visited). These students, once they graduate, do not hesitate to become ambassadors of their campus the world over. 

Cohabitation with the Region

The campus building also hosts the offices of 30 personnel from the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region. And with good reason too! The acquisition of the site was in part financed by the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region, the deparmtent of Vienne and the urban community of Grand Poitiers. The restoration of the building has been overseen by the Nouvelle-Aquitaine Region since July 2017 and  co-financed by Nouvelle-Aquitaine and Grand Poitiers. Sciences Po furnished the buildings with the help of the Region and Grand Poitiers.  

Key Figures

  • 187 students
  • 100 instructors each year 
  • 2,400 m2
  • 15 classrooms 
  • 30 nationalities represented
  • 58% international
  • 25.5% scholarship holders
  • +15% intake in the past 5 years

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From Sciences Po to the European Parliament

Hear from Charlotte, a Sciences Po alumna and European Parliamentary Assistant
  • Portrait of Charlotte ©Sciences PoPortrait of Charlotte ©Sciences Po

Charlotte Nørlund-Matthiessen did her undergraduate studies on the Dijon campus, which hosts the European specialisation programme with a focus on Central and Eastern Europe, before enrolling in the European Affairs Master’s programme at Sciences Po. Since graduating in 2012, she has worked on multiple projects inspired by her drive to build a stronger Europe. Today she works as a Parliamentary Assistant for a French MEP at the European Parliament in Brussel

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