Presentation of the examination
The “Grand Oral” examination, set by Sciences Po, has undergone a number of changes, both to its format and to how it is assessed. These changes were presented and approved by Sciences Po governing bodies in June 2016.
The “Grand Oral” examination is now based on the students’ experience during their final year off-campus semester, be it an internship, a study period abroad, a master’s thesis, a personal project or any one of the specific projects in place in some schools.
From their experience, students must choose one particular issue that draws on the core subjects they took during their Master’s. To pass the “Grand Oral”, which has been given extra weight as a compulsory element of education (see article 44 of the Rules of Education, PDF, 136 Ko), students must now obtain a pass mark (minimum of 10/20). Repeat exam sessions will be held for those students who do not succeed during the initial session. The new “Grand Oral” examination will be implemented in full for the 2017-2018 academic year, including for those students on placement this year (2016-2017).
However, considering the time frame of the approved changes for this academic year, the “Grand Oral” sessions in December 2016 and May 2017 will be based on the candidates’ off-campus experience but will not require students to get a pass mark.
The new « Grand Oral » sessions take place as follows
- If the candidate’s off-campus experience is in the form of an internship, the ‘Grand Oral’ will consist in an executive summary (see below) and oral presentation.
- If the candidate’s off-campus experience is in the form of a master thesis, the ‘Grand Oral’ will consist in an oral presentation.
- If the candidate’s off-campus experience is in the form of an educational project, the ‘Grand Oral’ will consist in an oral presentation of the project itself.
The schools must inform their students of the conditions applicable to the presentation of Master ‘s theses, educational projects and apprenticeships.
The « Grand Oral » duration
The oral examination lasts 25 minutes, including 10 minutes dedicated to the student’s presentation, 10 minutes for discussion on the presented topic and 5 minutes for discussion on the student’s future projects as well as feedback on their studies. The student must complete their oral presentation without notes or documents.
Executive summary (internship option)
The aim of the executive summary is to allow students to present the issue or analytical focus chosen to showcase their off-campus experiencefor their “Grand Oral” examination. The executive summary is also used by the jury to facilitate discussion with the candidate. The jury’s assessment is based solely on the candidate’s oral presentation, with no consideration for anything else. The oral examination assesses the students’ capacity to conceptualize, put into perspective, argue and structure their arguments, and to use the experience they have gained, as well as their knowledge and skills to address a complex, professional issue.
For their executive summary and then during the oral examination, the students will be expected to present a well-argued, personal reflection on the subject they have chosen as part of their course
without hesitating to adopt a personal stance.
As with scientific work, the methodology used must be well argued and thorough, drawing on the different social science subjects and concepts taught throughout the student’s course of study. The presentation must demonstrate the student’s intellectual and professional maturity as they prepare to enter the job market.
Particular care must be taken to define the concepts used. It is essential that students define concepts relative to their subject and concepts used in the introduction to their executive summary, and be able to do this rapidly during the oral examination. Students may also use other facts (figures, international comparisons etc.), on the condition that data is fully exploited and incorporated into their demonstration. Bibliographic references are compulsory.
The executive summary must be no longer than 800 words (excluding bibliographic references - in Times New Roman, size 12 font) and must be provided in an electronic format. Detailed information on how the executive summary should be submitted will be sent out at a later date.
Schedule for May 2017 session
For this examination session, students must submit their executive summary by Monday 10th April 2017 at the latest (before midnight), so that it may be given to members of the jury. Any summaries received after this date will not be accepted.