Home>Théodore Tallent, Doctorate in Political Science


Théodore Tallent, Doctorate in Political Science

Can you describe your university background?

After taking my baccalauréat S, I joined Sciences Po's undergraduate college on the Paris campus, where I was able to enjoy the diversity of the teaching and have the opportunity to explore a wide range of disciplines. Specialising in economics, I had the opportunity to take part in a semester-long academic programme with the George Washington University School of Business during my second year. I did my 3rd year as an exchange student at New York University. Given my interest in public policy issues, particularly European ones, I then decided to join the School of Public Affairs and more specifically the Master in European Affairs. Despite my interest in environmental issues, I wanted to keep my options open by choosing a generalist stream in public affairs and management. However, as my interest in ecology grew throughout the Masters, I decided to take courses dedicated to the different aspects of this issue. 

Aware of my shortcomings on these issues and determined to deepen my understanding of environmental policy, I then decided to do a second master's at Cambridge University, in environmental policy. It was during this Masters that I decided to do a doctoral thesis in political science at Sciences Po, focusing on environmental issues, and more specifically on the territorial acceptability of climate policies in Europe.


As part of my training at the School of Public Affairs, I chose to undertake three work experiences that would allow me to specialise in environmental policies and to discover, from the inside, the action in favour of the ecological transition. Convinced that environmental challenges needed to be tackled at a supranational level, I joined the WWF in Brussels during my gap year to take part in advocacy work on European environmental policies. Determined to work on the design and implementation of environmental policies, I then joined the cabinet of the Secretary of State for Ecological Transition, Brune Poirson, where I had the chance to work on the issue of the circular economy. Following on from this gap year, and in order to get a global view of the players involved in this issue, I chose to do my second year of the master's programme as an apprentice with ENGIE Solutions, the branch of ENGIE offering decarbonisation services to cities and businesses. These three complementary experiences taught me a lot about how the transition to carbon neutrality could be accelerated through the actions of NGOs, governments and multinationals, but also, each time, what the obstacles and limits were, particularly social ones. These experiences have had a major impact on my approach to environmental issues, as they have all evolved around the social challenges of the low-carbon transition.


My training at the School of Public Affairs enabled me to develop both intellectually and personally. I started my Masters without really knowing where I was going, and thanks to courses taught by researchers as well as professionals working in NGOs, think tanks, public administrations and companies, I was able to deepen my understanding of European issues and ecological challenges. It was particularly enriching to have the opportunity to meet lecturers who practised ecology on a daily basis in their different professions! 

As well as the excellent courses I was able to take, my professional experiences also helped to enrich my education. I learnt the fundamentals of the ecological crisis and public policy at Sciences Po, and then had the opportunity to put this knowledge into practice, both during my two internships and my work-study experience.

So it's really my three years at the School of Public Affairs that have shaped the career I'm planning - a career that is now taking the path of research!


Given the huge environmental and social challenges we are facing, I see doing a thesis as a way of contributing to the debate on climate policies, and in particular their social component. This research project, looking at the acceptability of the low-carbon transition in rural areas in particular, was born out of my Master's degree at Cambridge and exchanges with various professors, who were a real source of inspiration for me. As part of this thesis, I am trying to understand the reasons for the tensions created by climate policies in certain areas and to rethink the attitudes and practices of the working and middle classes living outside the major urban centres. The ultimate aim is to contribute to current discussions on the construction of a truly inclusive environmentalist discourse.

Joining the world of research also means joining the world of teaching. With this PhD, and after 6 years on the benches of Sciences Po, I have moved to the other side of the classroom. I teach political science to first-year students at Sciences Po, on the Reims campus, and am preparing to teach comparative politics to second-year students, as well as helping to coordinate the Ecological Culture course given for the first time to all first-year students at Sciences Po. I'm really enjoying this new role and I'm definitely looking forward to a career that includes teaching and passing on my knowledge.


When you are a student, you often think that your future is simply and strictly conditioned by your academic results and professional experience. Of course, that contributes to it, but if there's one thing I've learnt in the course of my training, it's that there isn't just one way to get to your "destination". You have to experiment! This means, for example, getting involved in projects that may sometimes fail, but that will always bring us something useful and formative. It also means sometimes taking the wrong path, choosing the wrong course, internship or even Master's degree, because it is perhaps this mistake that will give rise to an opportunity or lead to an encounter that is as unexpected as it is enriching. Finally, it means daring to do new things and try new experiences that will help us evolve and give us the opportunity to change hats along the way, redesigning our life path as we go along.


Virtual Graduate Open House day, October 2024

Graduate Open House Day

On 19 October 2024: meet faculty members, students and representatives and learn more about our 30 Master's programmes.


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