Master’s Programme in Digital Transformation in the Public Sector and Administration
Entitled the "Digital, New Technology and Public Policy Stream”, this two-year Master’s programme is taught exclusively in English and open to candidates with a previous undergraduate degree. Students on the specialised digital transformation track study key contemporary issues in public policy design and implementation, in light of the impact of digital shifts on society.
- Description and aims of the programme on digital transition within public services
- Courses specific to the programme on digital transformation and public actionn
- Career opportunities after the Master’s programme in public sector digitalisation
- Admissions to the Master’s programme after a Bachelor’s degree
- Digital transformation training in the heart of Paris, France
Description and aims of the programme on digital transition within public services
The Digital, New Technology and Public Policy Stream at the School of Public Affairs is an option available to students of two Master’s programmes: the Master in Public Policy and the Master in European Affairs.
Both Master’s programmes are structured around core courses offering in-depth, interdisciplinary and comparative knowledge of the field of public affairs, blending economic, legal, ethical, historical, political, managerial and digital approaches.
The Master in Public Policy focuses on core issues of governance in contemporary society and provides key skills and knowledge relating to public policy evaluation, public economics, leadership and project management.
The Master in European Affairs centres on study of EU institutions and their management, regulatory issues, as well as economic and political perspectives on European political integration.
The Digital, New Technology and Public Policy Stream gives students a comprehensive understanding of the economic, social, legal, political and ethical impact of new technologies, e.g. artificial intelligence, on forms of public action. Graduates of the stream leave equipped with new key skills and expertise enabling them to understand and use digitalisation to advance the public interest, whether in the public, private or non-profit sector, at local, national, European or international level.
Description of the specialised programme on digitalisation in the public sector
Year 1 - Digital, New Technology and Public Policy Stream
In the first year of the Master's programme, students take courses specific to the Digital, New Technologies and Public Policy Stream, taught in English (Decoding Biases in Artificial Intelligence; Digital and Innovative Government; Law and New Technology; The Platform Economy: Microeconomics and Macroeconomics of Digital Markets). These are complemented by core courses for all Master’s students at the School of Public Affairs, taught in French or English (Public Economics; European Law; Governance, Democracy and Public Policy; Public Policy Analysis and Evaluation; Management, Project Management and Negotiations; Public Policy Incubator). Finally, in addition to general academic training and language classes, students may then choose from a wide range of elective courses and optional courses.
Year 2 - Digital, New Technology and Public Policy Stream
Students in their second year of the digital transformation programme deepen their knowledge through courses in Data and Algorithms for Public Policy and Regulation and Digital Economy (both in English). They also work on a case study immersing them in a complex problem-solving scenario, which gives them a first-hand insight into the different phases of public policy implementation. These courses are complemented by general academic training, elective courses offered at the School of Public Affairs and language classes.
Students intending to sit recruitment exams for the French or European civil also have the opportunity to take optional preparatory courses (public law, general knowledge, international issues etc.). During the fourth and final semester of the programme, students can choose to put their skills into practice and gain professional experience by completing an internship, or undertake an independent research project by writing a Master’s thesis. They can also use this semester to add an international perspective to their studies via an academic exchange at a partner university abroad.
Finally, students also have the option of spending the second year of the Master’s completing an apprenticeship.
Courses specific to the programme on digital transformation and public action
- Decoding Biases in Artificial Intelligence (in English) : The course invites students to explore issues of discrimination in AI and to investigate why and how and why public data and state-of-the-art algorithms, far from being neutral and objective, may inherently produce discrimination toward certain populations. Conversely, we will also use machine learning techniques to mine large datasets and try to characterize systematic race or gender biases.
- Digital and Innovative Government (in English) : This course aims to prepare students to address the main issues associated with digital transformation of the public sector, from an international perspective. It discusses and provides an understanding of how digital technologies can help to design innovative policies, how governments can most effectively pursue innovation, and the constraints and risks relating to these.
- Law and New Technology (in English) : The development of new technologies has initiated changes that are reshaping all sectors of the economy, politics and society. The major socio-economic transformation that this digital transition (or revolution) entails has key implications for legal systems around the world and demands the adaptation of national laws across the board. Are we heading towards a genuine “legal revolution”? Or are the shifts underway merely an adaptation of the rule of law, without requiring any in-depth transformation?
- The Platform Economy: Microeconomics and Macroeconomics of Digital Markets (in English) : The objective of this course is to analyse the economics of digital markets (key economic characteristics of digital markets, business strategies in such markets, potential market failures, opportunities for intervention and ways in which public authorities should do so, consequences of the platform economy with regards to economic development). It will cover relevant theoretical and empirical material in economics, and analyse case studies in class.
- Data and Algorithms for Public Policy (in English) : Data and algorithms are increasingly used by governments to design and deliver public policies. Heart transplant allocation, calculation of taxes and matching of schools and students are just a few examples of algorithm-mediated administrative processes. Yet, as powerful as they are, these instruments present a series of challenges for individuals and the society. The course gives students an understanding of how data and algorithms impact public policy (from design to implementation and evaluation), how to measure their impacts and how to mitigate risks by keeping these systems accountable by design.
- Regulation and Digital Economy (in English) : As “software eats the world”, nations want their rules and values to apply equally well to the digital economy. But standard regulatory approaches are strongly challenged, because of fast-changing innovation and the worldwide footprint of internet players. Conversely, digital tools can promote self-organisation and reduce the need for regulation. This course explores the new forms and fields of public intervention to regulate the digital economy, focusing on regulatory approaches based on economics.
Career opportunities after the Master’s programme in public sector digitalisation
Experts with an in-depth understanding of and ability to handle both public policy and digital issues are still relatively rare. For that reason, graduates of the Digital, New Technology and Public Policy Stream are particularly sought after in both the public and the private sector.
Graduates of the programme go on to lead and manage the digitalisation of public organisations at local, national and international level, as well as on behalf of different regulatory authorities (e.g. the European Commission).
In addition, many of our graduates pursue careers in the private sector (for technology companies, start-ups etc.), in strategic consultancy firms working at the interface of digital transformation and public policy, or in the non-profit sector, think tanks, NGOs and other professional organisations.
Admissions to the Master’s programme after a Bachelor’s degree
The digital transformation management track offered at Sciences Po’s School of Public Affairs is open to candidates currently studying for a Bachelor’s degree or equivalent, or who can provide evidence of a VAE (Validation des Acquis de l’Expérience) certification.
Candidates are not required to have earned their Bachelor’s degree at Sciences Po, nor to have completed an undergraduate degree in digital technology or political science in order to apply for this Master’s programme.
There are no technical requirements for applying to this policy stream. Several of the stream’s courses will equip students with practical skills, particularly in data handling.
The School of Public Affairs welcomes candidates from highly varied geographic, academic and professional backgrounds. Its graduates become the new champions of the public good in Europe and internationally.
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Digital transformation training in the heart of Paris, France
Teaching for the specialised digital governance programme takes place in the heart of Paris (7th arrondissement), in the various buildings of the School of Public Affairs.
The Sciences Po Paris Campus is situated in the historic Saint-Germain-des-Prés neighbourhood, just walking distance from numerous French parliamentary buildings and monuments. This ideal location gives students a unique opportunity to enjoy the dynamism, international atmosphere and rich cultural offering of the French capital.