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Sciences Po Doctoral School

Created in 1988, the Sciences Po Doctoral School now offers five PhD programs, in law, economics, history, political science and sociology. Alongside these five programs it offers a specialized doctoral track (”discipline plus”) in international relations that can be taken in conjunction with the doctoral programs in political science or history. These doctoral programs offer two years of master’s studies followed by three years of PhD research.

The doctoral programs have three primary objectives. The first is to offer a course of instruction allowing students to acquire genuine expertise in the chosen discipline during the two years of study at the master’s degree. Secondly, through their research thesis, students can use this period to formulate their dissertation project under the best possible conditions and, more generally, ensure they are ready to embark on dissertation work without delay. Lastly, through this format, the doctoral school aims to prepare students for high-level academic careers but also for the increasingly numerous career options that require candidates to hold an internationally recognized doctorate.

Students are offered an ideal environment to help them achieve these goals. They have access to one of the largest libraries in continental Europe, benefit from tutorial assistance throughout the study program, work in close collaboration with outstanding research centers and are guided by leading scholars who supervise fewer than five doctoral students on average. They may also pursue studies abroad thanks to Sciences Po’s partnership with prestigious universities and apply for one of the many and often generous bursaries – 60% of PhD students not yet engaged in a full-time career on admission to the program obtain a research grant. Lastly, they benefit from an administrative support ratio that is unique in France and that guarantees broad, high-quality assistance to the academic community as a whole.

The school’s priorities are naturally reflected in its new organization. In particular, each of the five doctoral programs is headed by a director of doctoral studies. Reporting directly to the director of the doctoral school and the school’s committee and seconded by the administrative team, they are responsible for the PhD students in their respective disciplines, from admission to award of the final degree. They chair the thesis committees responsible for delivering an opinion on admission and continuation of studies. Lastly, they are responsible for selecting candidates for the majority of the bursaries and other grants available.

Under the impetus of its director, Sciences Po has made research a priority. The doctoral school, like the research centres, benefits from this ambitious policy and can today offer its students particularly attractive conditions of study.



Doctoral program in law

Course director
professor Mikhail Xifaras

As a core part of its research activity, the School of Law offers a doctoral program within Sciences Po’s multidisciplinary doctoral school and in partnership with other prestigious universities (Harvard Law School, Cornell Law School, McGill Law School, Kyoto School of Law, Keio Law School, Goethe Universität-Frankfurt, Facoltà di Giurisprudenza dell’Università di Torino, Faculdade de Direito da Universidade de São Paulo…).

This doctoral program offers a very solid education to master and PhD students keen to work in legal research and undertake academic careers. Deliberately restricted to a very small number of students, it is intended for those of them keen to make an important theoretical contribution to the understanding of legal phenomena in a given field of the law. Thanks to the very small number of candidates admitted, PhD students are guaranteed very close supervision. The education offered is based on the knowledge of fundamental legal techniques, concepts and methods of reasoning, a rigorous and critical approach to the tools of legal theory, an opening to multidisciplinary legal approaches and extra-legal disciplines, familiarity with the diversity of legal methods, perspectives and cultures, and, lastly, adoption of a comparatist and global viewpoint.

Doctoral program in economics

Professor Thierry Mayer

This program offers a high-level education in economics encompassing all the different fi elds in which PhD candidates are expected to acquire expertise: quantitative and data analysis skills using statistical methods; a methodology that enables modeling of individual and collective choices according to the principles of rationality (opportunity cost, maximization, marginal reasoning); alternative methodologies enabling an understanding of the limits of the rationality principle (limited rationality, behavioral economics), and analysis of exchange and general equilibrium situations and their macroeconomic implications. Alongside these classic, purely economic approaches essential for doctoral studies in the fi eld of economics, Sciences Po also allows students to explore the approaches suggested by other disciplines such as political science, law and sociology. The program is aimed at students intending to pursue academic careers in France and abroad, careers requiring high-level doctoral studies (international organizations, think tanks, research institutes, government ministries, banks, insurance), and, more generally, any student keen to acquire a solid, internationally recognized, theoretical and practical education.

Doctoral program in history

professor Paul-André Rosental

The doctoral program in history aims to produce outstanding historians keen to pursue academic careers in France and abroad or any other career that requires a high-level education in history and an aptitude for research (secondary school teaching, journalism, publishing, the media, documentation, government ministries and regional authorities, research centres, think tanks, NGOs, international organizations, etc.). The program focuses more particularly on preparing students for research by encouraging them to read widely to familiarize themselves with and assimilate seminal historical works. It also offers tutorial supervision and training workshops in the use of archives and the different sources of information (images, films, radio, television, web, etc.), together with seminars focusing on quantitative methods and interview and courses in other disciplines.

Doctoral program in political science

professor Jean-Marie Donegani

This program offers a high-level, integrated, comprehensive and interdisciplinary education. It is aimed at students keen to pursue academic careers in France and abroad, careers requiring high-level doctoral studies (international organizations, think tanks, research institutes, government ministries, journalism, publishing, NGOs), and, more generally, any student keen to acquire a solid, internationally recognized, theoretical and practical education.

The program offers three concentrations:

  • Political theory
  • Comparative Politics
  • Political Sociology and Public Action

Each concentration is directed by a team of French and international specialists comprised of Sciences Po professors and researchers, together with visiting professors and researchers. The program places particular emphasis on research methods in the social sciences. The faculty includes leading specialists in electoral sociology and data analysis and the laboratories are equipped with the most sophisticated data-processing.

Doctoral program in sociology

professor Didier Demazière

The Program in sociology aims to produce outstanding sociologists keen to pursue academic careers in France and abroad or any other career requiring a high-level education in sociology and an aptitude for research (centres of expertise for government ministries and regional authorities, research centres, international organizations, consulting, survey institutes, think tanks, NGOs, secondary-school teaching, journalism, etc.). This program offers a theoretical education in the fundamental concepts of the discipline; specialized courses in specific fields of sociology; broad, in-depth methodological training – both quantitative and qualitative – based on concrete exposure to fieldwork and data; training in international comparisons; close collaboration with research centres whose reputation is internationally recognised (CEE, CSO, OSC) and the supervision of a very dedicated academic team.