Core courses in the social sciences

Pre-College Programme
  • Master Class topicsMaster Class topics

As part of their core courses in the social sciences, all Pre-College students attend a series of 2.5-hour Master Classes, taught by different guest speakers from Sciences Po's faculties. Each Master Class addresses a key contemporary issue through a multidisciplinary approach, typical of Sciences Po education. Structured into an interactive lecture and a question-and-answer period, Master Classes encourage lively discussions among students and renowned professors. Through the diversity of topics addressed by the Master Classes, students learn to understand the complexities of the world through the lens of the social sciences.

In preparation for Master Classes, students participate in interactive, small-group tutorials, which develop their understanding of the material and themes addressed in the Master Classes, including key concepts and required readings. Tutorials also prepare students for university studies in France and abroad by introducing them to the academic methodology that they will encounter in higher education. 

As Master Classes are different from one session to the other, students can participate in both sessions and select two elective courses (one for each session). 

The 2022 academic programme includes the following Master Classes:


Introduction to Development Economics

  • Professor: Sergei Guriev

  • Master Class Overview: The Master Class provides students an introduction to modern development economics, discussing the state of development, the frontiers of development economics and its methodology. In this Master Class, students will learn the main facts and regularities of economic development and discuss the key challenges of economic development. Download the Master Class Overview for Policies and Politics (PDF, 101 Kb)

Voiceless and Invisible Citizens:  A New Social Divide?

  • Professor: Emanuele Ferragina
  • Master Class Overview: This Master Class provides students with a clear understanding of the economic and social dynamics that influence the labour market and the capacity of citizens to participate in social and political life. Throughout the Master Class, students learn how protests and social movements, particularly involving young people, seem to be increasingly related to these dynamics. Download the Master Class Overview for Voiceless and Invisible Citizens (PDF, 69 Kb)

Facing a Decade of Polycrisis: The European Union and its Institutions

 How Critical is the Crisis of Multilateralism?

  • Professor: Thierry Balzacq
  • Master Class Overview: This Master Class introduces students to multilateralism, focusing on its history, processes and outcomes. Students will learn about multilateralism as the dominant approach since the 17th Century to achieve peace and cooperation between states, which is increasingly questioned  in terms of its utility and efficacy both at regional and global levels. Download the Master Class overview for the Crisis of Multilateralism (PDF, 101Kb) 

session 2

The Concept of Human Security and its Application to Building Peace

  • Professor: Shahrbanou Tadjbakhsh
  • Master Class OverviewWhy does peace fail and conflicts and insecurities abate? Is the problem the conceptualization of the ultimate goal of “peace” or the way that peacebuilding is conducted in practice? This Master Class encourages students to reflect critically on the meanings that have been attached to the concept of peace from different perspectivesDownload the Master Class Overview for Peacebuilding (PDF, 81 KB).

Facing Nuclear Weapons Challenges in 2022

  • Professor: Benoît Pelopidas
  • Master Class Overview: This Master Class provides students with tools to assess the validity of claims regarding nuclear weapons to which they may be exposed. The lecture offers a framework for projecting the scope of possible nuclear futures, which are illustrated with untapped primary sources from global nuclear history. Download the Master Class Overview for Nuclear Weapons Challenges (PDF, 120 Kb)

Populism versus Democracy

  • Professor: Nonna Mayer
  • Master Class Overview: This Master Class is an introduction to the study of contemporary populisms with social science tools. After defining the concept of populism and the diversity of parties it applies to, the Master Class focuses on the electoral rise of populist radical right parties in France and Europe since the 1990's, its causes and its consequences for democracy. Download the Master Class Overview for Populism vs. Democracy (PDF, 85 Kb)

Refugee and Migrant Issues in Europe

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