The Research Track

Who is it for?

The research track of the Regional and Urban Strategy (STU)Governing the Large Metropolis (GLM) and Governing Ecological Transitions in European Cities (GETEC) Master's programmes, organised in partnership with the Doctoral school of Sciences Po, in sociology or in political science, is for students who intend to undertake doctoral study after their Master's degree.

What form does it take?

The research track in sociology or political science is organised with the Sciences Po Doctoral School, starting in the second semester of the Master's programme. Admitted students follow this track within their Master's programme, with specific courses and exercises.

  • First year: pre-track
    • Semester 1: interested students may apply (see below).
    • Semester 2: interested students can take certain courses at the Doctoral School in political science and sociology (see the STU and GLM curricula). They prepare a short research proposal. Selection for the research track is finalised at the end of the second semester.
  • Second year: research track
    • Semester 3: students admitted to the track prepare their research dissertation and take certain courses at the Doctoral School.
    • Semester 4: research dissertation (fieldwork, analysis, drafting), at Sciences Po or on exchange at a partner university abroad, supervised by a professor from the "Cities are back in town" programme. Defence of the dissertation.

Admission procedure

Step 1: statement of intent (semester 1)

All first year Master's students may apply by sending a letter of intent to the head of their programme, setting out the research topic, the intended field, and the choice of academic discipline.

Step 2: pre-admission and admission (semester 2)

Students submit their research proposal (five pages maximum) to the academic advisor of their Master's programme (before mid-May).

Applications are assessed in late May by a committee made up of Urban School faculty members and senior Doctoral School faculty. Admissions are mainly based on academic results from first year.

Students admitted to the research track are put in touch with the supervisor of their dissertation.

Step 3 : Preparation of the research dissertation (semesters 3 & 4)

Guided by their supervisor, students refine their research proposal and submit it at the start of second year to the academic advisors of their Master's programme.

They write their dissertation in semester 4. In the second half of May, students defend their dissertation before a jury of two Sciences Po faculty members, one of whom is the dissertation supervisor.

Career opportunities

Graduates from the research track can apply for a doctoral programme

  • at Sciences Po, under the conditions defined by the Doctoral School
  • or at a partner university.

Around thirty graduates from the Urban School are enrolled in a PhD programme at Sciences Po or in other universities in France (Université Paris Est, IEP Lyon, EHESS) and abroad (United Kingdom, United States, Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Hong Kong, etc.), in various disciplines (sociology, political science, geography and urban planning) and with public and private funding.


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