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Governing the Large Metropolis

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Programme objectives

The Master's programme Governing the Large Metropolis aims to prepare graduates for work on public policy issues in a variety of large metropolises beyond Europe, in relation to different types of organizations and agencies.


Caire © Cristian SantibanezThe world cities and urban sprawl of both the global North and the global South face massive public policy and governance challenges. The scale and speed of urbanization raise a plethora of issues, which are all covered in the programme. These include: economic development, poverty and slums, housing, health, technological and social innovation, the management of risk, infrastructure, water and waste disposal, changing labour markets, sustainable development, democratic participation. Governing populations divided and organized by class, income, religion, ethnic origin, mobility and/or gender has become even more difficult in a globalizing world where opportunities for mobility, participation in overlapping networks, interdependence and the scale of large urban regions make classic territorial conceptions of government and public policies partly obsolete.


Students receive rigorous methodological training, experience from international professionals and exposure to high level academic content.

The programme is taught entirely in English with a great emphasis on issues of comparative study. No ready made recipes are provided, and no simple fairy stories on the so called “best practices of good governance”: the programme trains the students with a strong critical approach and management skills so as to be competent for project accounting and decision making to implement urban policy in critical environments.


Systematic relations are built with urban professionals and research groups, including cities such as Bogotà, Lima, Mexico, Rio, Sao Paulo, Lagos, Beijing, Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Istanbul, Cairo, New Delhi, Shanghai, Tokyo and Johannesburg.

Going beyond geography, development studies and physical planning, the Master's programme aims at training young professionals who will take charge of public policy design and implementation in the governance of large cities in the future.


Main orientations and specific features

The two-year programme comprises a mix of sound interdisciplinary theoretical courses, case studies, methods and professional training:


  • Theoretical training focuses on public policy, sociology, governance, law, economics, demography, risk and globalization, centering on issues such as housing, migration, food security, utilities, climate change, informal economy, local finance, conflict management, transports, cultural policies, and the digital city;
  • Professional training is provided in the first year through a group project (capstone) commissioned by a private or public organization, which involves doing applied research in the urban field. Students work 1.5 days a week for six months with a professional tutor. Students also take advantage of a planned study trip to a large urban center (past cities include Cairo and Istanbul). Case studies and workshops are taught by professionals;
  • Solid methodological training in advanced quantitative and qualitative analysis, network analysis, map work, ecological data mining, and GIS training;
  • In the second semester, Regional training focuses on specific area of expertise, with historical insights on urban change. Students have to chose among African Metropolis, Arab Metropolis, Asian Metropolis, Latin American Metropolis, and North American Metropolis
  • in the final semester, students will either undertake an internship of at least 14 weeks in a large metropolis or will spend the semester within a partner university, where they will prepare a paper or research thesis (for those envisaging a PhD).

During the whole duration of the programme, students are assisted in their course and professional orientation through a regular vocational statement exercice.


The programme works in collaboration with Science Po's Master in Territorial and Urban Strategies (STU) and the dual Master's degree in Urban Policies of Sciences Po and the London School of Economics (STU/LSE). It also has a close link with research conducted at Sciences Po, notably with the research program "Cities are back in town".


Career oppportunities

Based on the experience of former Sciences Po graduates in urban strategies who chose an international career, students will have opportunities to work in the following organisations:

  • international organisations;
  • health organisations;
  • global utility firms (water, transport, waste disposals, energy);
  • NGO’s in different sectors (democratic governance, environment, housing, development…);
  • urban planning agencies, economic development agencies, urban political organisations;
  • agency supporting networks of cities;
  • urban and regional governments;
  • private foundations and think tanks;
  • private developers and international consultants in the large metropolis.

More information on the placement here.


The students and former students of the STU, STU/LSE and GLM masters join up to an association named In Situ.


Students' profile

GLM students are very diverse in their academic, geographical and personal backgrounds.

The 2013-2015 cohort

The 2012-2014 cohort