Sciences Po Paris & LSE Dual Master's Degree (International Economic Policy) - Please help!

Hello all,

This is my first post on CC. I am struggling right now as to what I should do following my graduation from undergrad. Some background: I just graduated with a BA in Economics from a University of California school. I have been accepted into the Sciences Po Paris and LSE dual master’s degree, a 2 year program in International Economic Policy, earning two master’s degrees (one from each institution). My other option, if not the degree, would be to get a job in the US right now, but the prospects are not seeming too interesting.

The reason I am struggling is the reputation of Sciences Po in the US. I am a US citizen and 90% sure I will be living/working in the US for the rest of my life. I am unsure of the prestige of Sciences Po in the US, and if it will really be valuable. I know that LSE has a huge reputation here and is very credible and well known, so that helps a lot. I had just found out about Sciences Po last year, and I am shocked at how many people in the US don’t know about it (even in international relations and poli sci field!). It is a very highly ranked school according to several rankings (up there with Harvard!) but I worry that the lack of recognition in the US will be a problem. I don’t want to waste money for a program that will earn me little merit at home!

Any knowledge/experience about the program, or Sciences Po Paris in general, would be greatly appreciated. Thank you all in advance!!

Out of curiosity, why the 2 year programme? Isn’t the whole beauty of a UK masters that you can do it in 1 year? Also ask yourself is the UK/France better than the US for you looking at work opportunities? I personally believe you’ll be hard pressed to get a better social sciences education than the LSE - so it is a reasonable decision if you really want to learn about this field.

Nevertheless, Sciences Po is very good, yes. It’s not particularly known here in the UK either, however, if you’re in the LSE and social sciences circle then Sciences Po is very much respected. Indeed, much like the LSE, it is one of the most elite, and often controversial, universities in its country. That being said the LSE is much more famous than its French cousin but not necessarily better.

Like I say, Sciences Po is well known and respected in social sciences academic circles. It has a litany of partnerships with top US schools. Whether this translates to the US job market I cannot say though a HR department that didn’t know Sciences Po within your discipline would be a bit shocking.

Thank you so much for your answer! Yes, you do make several good points. I chose the dual degree because of my interest in Sciences Po of course, but also the fact of getting to live in both France and the UK.

I am mostly worried about the translation of this degree to the US job market and if it would be a good decision to attend. I know both of these schools are very good and highly respected (especially LSE), but just worried that it won’t be seen as well in the US. Any input on this? Or the types of positions I would be eligible for after this degree? Thank you so much again!!

As to whether you think it is a good decision, I think you have to ask yourself some questions. What types of job do you want afterwards? The opportunity cost - ie what jobs are you giving up if you attend (you’re an economist so I didn’t need to explain that!). How much do you want to do this programme? I wouldn’t recommend doing it unless you personally, as opposed to professionally, want to do it. And finally, the question you ask: what will you get out of it? That’s tricky to answer as there is no guarantee of any result, but as a general rule work experience is usually better than an advanced degree. Although those without certain degrees in certain fields may reach a soft ceiling.

I can’t speak directly for Sciences Po but I know LSE is well regarded in international NGOs - they send a lot of students there. Traditionally LSE is known for producing NGOs workers, investment bankers, financiers, consultants, lawyers, academics, journalists/media types, government/civil service workers, supranational organisation workers and leaders (ie, UN and EU), politics and world leaders (over 55!). I’m sure LSE grads go on to do different things as well but this is indicative of the roles LSE grads take - so a lot of professional and political work. The careers service, who are very good, seems orientated along these lines. Science Po will be a similar story.

LSE is of course not as well known to the general public in the US as, say, Harvard or Columbia or for that matter most top US universities. That being said, in other regions this may be different. Though, I don’t foresee LSE being a problem in the US in the professional space. They have strong alumni networks for example and are prevalent in the International economic policy or development field. Sciences Po, as a result of it not being in the anglo-sphere, is necessarily going to be less well known. That being said, I think HR departments at big firms and supranational orgs, and NGOs will of course know of both of these institutions very well.

One consideration is that being in France and UK may put you at an a disadvantage for US internships (just based on location) if you’re worried about that sort of thing.

Your strength will be having access to two important economic cultures and becoming fluent in French. Your objective should be to find internships in either city and leverage your experience with a TNC or multinational company.
If you want this double Master, go for it, but with your eyes open.