What's New in 2017

What's New in 2017

Interview with Nicole Bryant, Director of the Summer School
  • Nicole Bryant, Director of the Summer School, addresses students.Nicole Bryant, Director of the Summer School, addresses students.

Summer 2017 will mark Nicole Bryant's fourth year as Director of the Sciences Po Summer School.  We sat down with her to learn what will make this summer so special, including the new Pre-College Programme and expanded course offerings.

You are preparing your fourth Summer School. What are you most excited about for 2017?

Each year, the role of the Summer School team is to take the best of what Sciences Po has to offer and build upon it to ensure that our students have an incredible experience over the course of just a few short weeks.

For our University Programme, that means adding new classes to a roster that is already incredibly diverse.  One thing that I'm very happy about this year is our increased offer of elective classes. University Programme students - whether they are in the French language or social sciences track - are now going to be able to choose from an even larger selection of electives. This means that you can study, say, French language for your core course, and French philosophy as an elective. Or economics for your core course and add on French language classes. We know that our students have a wide variety of interests and we don't want to restrict their learning. One of the hallmarks of a Sciences Po education is the combination of social sciences, political humanities, and foreign language, and our 2017 course list certainly reflects that!

And of course, we are thrilled to be opening our newest programme, the Pre-College Programme, for secondary school students.

What made you decide to open up a programme for high school students?

Quite simply, it was the students themselves - and their parents! Every year, we receive many phone calls and emails from younger students and their parents who want to join the Summer School, which was previously open exclusively to university students and graduates. Our colleagues at Sciences Po would participate in high school recruitment fairs and everyone - students, parents, high school teachers, college counselors - wanted to know why we didn't yet have a programme for teenagers. When you have an institution as well-known as Sciences Po, there is a lot of demand to come and "try the place out" before applying for a Bachelor's degree. So this year we got the message and designed a new curriculum specially-adapted for high school students. We couldn’t be more pleased with the result!  The academic programme combines social sciences courses with foreign language study to introduce students to a variety of Sciences Po’s disciplines through subjects drawn from current events. There isn't anything quite like our Pre-College Programme in France just yet... As we sit here, it is only December, and I'm already impressed by the very positive reactions we've gotten in response to our announcement.

Can you give us a preview of some of what will be covered in 2017?

With pleasure! One of the Summer School's goals, of course, is to stay abreast of current events. Last year, it was incredible for our students in the course “The European Union at a Crossroads” to study Brexit as it happened! But obviously, we are only now beginning to understand the implications of that referendum, and to watch its ripple effects on other nations around the world. You can be sure that the E.U. will continue to be a major topic for 2017, as will populist and far-right shifts across the world, notably in the U.S. with the inauguration of President-Elect Trump, and of course in France - where the results of the May 2017 presidential elections will be decided just before our summer session starts. Not to mention some major themes which remain perennially important for our students: migration, sustainable development, security, gender... For all of these reasons, 2017 is going to be a pretty unique moment to be studying the social sciences, and we know that Sciences Po - for its professors, its location and the quality of our classes - is going to be an amazing vantage point from which to take it all in!

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