Read the story of how UBC came to partner with one of the world's leading institutions specializing in social sciences and discover how undergraduate students manage the duality of completing two degrees in just four years. It is a transatlantic learning journey that will leave its international cartography on their lives forever.
Welcome to the UBC Dual Degree program option with Sciences Po.
The University of British Columbia is a global centre for research and teaching, consistently ranked among the 40 best universities in the world. Since 1915, UBC's West Coast spirit has embraced innovation and challenged the status quo. Its entrepreneurial perspective encourages students, staff and faculty to challenge convention, lead discovery and explore new ways of learning. At UBC, bold thinking is given a place to develop into ideas that can change the world.
The Faculty of Arts at UBC is the first faculty at UBC to partner and collaborate with L'institut d'études politiques de Paris (or more familiarly, Sciences Po) and to offer what is a first for any Canadian institution of higher learning: the Dual Degree Bachelor of Arts Program.
—Dr. Gage Averill, Dean, Faculty of Arts, UBC
Sciences Po was founded in 1872 in Paris and is located in the historic neighbourhood of Saint Germain-des-Prés, with six additional regional campuses in historic cities across France. Best known for Political Science and International Affairs, Sciences Po is rated number one in France in this discipline and 13th internationally, according to QS World Rankings. Its excellence in social sciences attracts students from all over the world who in turn contribute to a strong international presence at the university and who now make up nearly 50 percent of its student population.
Sciences Po offers a three-year undergraduate degree with a mandate that each student must spend her or his third year abroad, either studying or completing an internship in a company. Sciences Po has existing dual degrees with some of the most prestigious universities in the world, such as Freie Universität Berlin, Columbia University, London School of Economics, Georgetown and now UBC.
—Françoise Melonio, Sciences Po Dean of Academic Studies
— Dr. Janet Giltrow, Senior Associate Dean, Faculty of Arts, UBC
THE UBC DUAL DEGREE
The first UBC Dual Degree undergraduate program was launched in September of 2013 with the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Po (l'Institut d'études politiques de Paris) to offer an intensive international study option for students that will result in two degrees being granted: the Sciences Po Bachelor of Arts and the UBC Bachelor of Arts.
In the Dual Degree program, students are essentially doing five to six years of academic coursework in the traditional four-year undergraduate degree framework. However, for dual-degree students the potential for learning in a global context with two leading universities far outweighs the logistical challenges of studying and living in a different country.
“It is an opportunity to spend two incredible years abroad, giving time to discover a new culture in depth and also time to better think of how to pursue my studies. It is also a way to differentiate my path and profile from others, as the majority of students do not follow such a program: a way to make my resume special, which would open me more professional doors in the future,” says Tom Adriaenssens, a third-year Sciences Po transfer student at UBC.
Students who choose a dual degree are highly motivated to succeed; they recognize that having an international experience offers them a valuable differentiator that will serve them long after they complete their program. The duality of the degree, however, goes beyond the inherent split of study locations between second and third year when students must choose a specialization at UBC to pursue in their remaining two years of study.
Dr. Gage Averill, Dean of the Faculty of Arts, believes the effort is well worth the outcome. “Graduates will have so many more opportunities opened to them if they have developed the capacity to work across national boundaries and to understand the global dimensions of commerce, trade, ideas, media, finance, culture and politics. More and more high-achieving students are seeking study opportunities that give them deep-rooted, substantial experience in more than one place. The Dual Degree immerses students in two educational cultures, informs them internationally in a way that other kinds of study mobility cannot. With a dual degree, students can show that they have lived up to the standards of two high-ranking global universities.”
When students transition from the regional campuses of Sciences Po to UBC, they will be welcomed into a leading global research university with a campus the size of a small city — a counterbalance to the regional settings at the Sciences Po campuses. UBC will offer students a truly unique duality of perspectives on their studies and on campus life as they pursue their specializations during their third and fourth years of their degree.
#UBC partners with French university #SciencesPo to launch international dual undergrad degrees: http://t.co/bVanwLmZij via @UBC_Arts— UBC Faculty of Arts
—Adrien Jourdain, fourth year, Sciences Po student at UBC
THE SCIENCES PO DUAL DEGREE
While in France for their first two years, UBC dual-degree program students can choose to study at three different regional campuses: Le Havre, Menton and Reims. No matter the campus of choice, core courses in social sciences include Political Science, Economics, History, Sociology, and Law. Each of the three campuses has a particular global academic focus that defines the curriculum: North America for Reims, Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East for Menton, while Le Havre is focused on Asia.
“This degree has opened so many doors that, prior to starting I did not even know existed,” enthuses student Kiera Schuller. “From travelling and living in Europe to learning a new language and meeting international contacts, the program has exposed me to countless new opportunities.”
“The courses are vigorous and have taught me an incredible work ethic, as well as presentation and public speaking skills, which will be valuable in any future career position. Sciences Po encourages all students to take on leadership positions on campus, which inspired me to join the Model United Nations society on campus and take on administrative positions in organizations like AIESEC. These experiences will be very helpful in demonstrating leadership capacities for later careers. I am particularly interested in pursuing a career in law and this dual degree gives me an incredible foundation to begin my work towards this path. Being able to demonstrate a passion and dedication to work through completing the program will give me an opportunity to distinguish myself, offering a unique international perspective, experience, and strong work ethic,” continues Schuller.
Sciences Po asks much of its students including the demanding requirement that students attend all classes and show up on time. Three absences in a class lead to a “défaillance” — the ECTS attributed for the course will not be allocated to the student and three ten minute delays count as an absence. In return, the Sciences Po education will provide open doors towards a promising future for motivated students who choose to study with one of the world’s leading institutions specializing in social sciences.
A new dual Bachelor with the University of British Columbia in #Canada has been signed! Discover the program here: http://t.co/Ajy0r8Siys— Sciences Po (@sciencespo)
—Kiera Schuller, Dual Degree student, UBC/Sciences Po
— Adrien Jourdain, fourth year in Economics (Honours Program), transferred from Sciences Po for the final year of his degree
CAMPUS LIFE AT UBC
On the edge of urban, forest, and ocean, thinking opens to the new and undiscovered.
UBC's Vancouver campus is set at the edge of a peninsula overlooking the Strait of Georgia and the Salish Sea, with the cosmopolitan city of Vancouver acting as a sparkling backdrop for a university continually shaping its place as a world leader in research and teaching.
UBC is a place formed by the entrepreneurial spirit of its students and where new innovation will help shape its future.
With only two years of academic study on the Vancouver campus, dual-degree students will want to make use of every available moment outside the classroom. World-class attractions, sporting events and student clubs (370 and counting) promise to make life on campus interesting and engaging with new activities to discover every day.
It is a bustling place, but all the activity is easily balanced by serenity; the Pacific Spirit Regional Park and miles of sandy beaches are just a short walk away. Student residences provide a housing option for those wishing to live on campus and going by the Instagrams hashtagged with #UBC, the views are truly amazing.
But being a dual-degree student is demanding. Compressing five to six years of study into a four-year degree requires some serious dedication. UBC's Student Services, however, understand the unique challenges of its student body and have developed the ‘Live Well to Learn Well’ program which offers a myriad of resources and support for students to live well, feel good and achieve success.
Intense course study should also include self-care with a healthy dose of fun. While at UBC, dual-degree students will be encouraged to get outside and go beyond the classroom. Explore. Discover new places. Make new friends. Create lasting memories.
CAMPUS LIFE AT SCIENCES PO
The most surprising thing about living in France and moving to a country I'd never been to before was probably the culture shock — living in a foreign country is a lot different from just visiting. But if you can do it, you can do anything.”
— Amanda Chubak, Dual Degree student, Reims campus
The opportunity to learn at a prestigious university, live in France and experience the rich history, culture, and exceptional beauty of the campuses at Sciences Po is a potent draw for students considering the Dual Degree program. Of its seven campuses, the Sciences Po Paris campus is most similar to UBC — urban, embedded into the city's identity with a large, bustling campus—while the three regional campuses of Le Havre, Reims and Monton are intimate, unique learning centres described by Sciences Po as student communities “on a very human scale”, with fewer than three hundred students.
The Le Havre campus is located on the Normandy coast and in the heart of the city of Le Havre, founded in 1517 by King Francis I of France and now a designated UNESCO World Heritage site. The Le Havre campus offers students a learning environment and curriculum focused on the political relations between Europe and Asia. All course content is taught in English with the option to take language classes in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Hindi and Indonesian.
Similar to other Sciences Po regional campuses, Le Havre has a small student body (currently 225 students) and takes full advantage of its maritime location to offer students a wide range of social and recreational activities such as the Sciences Po Euro-Asia Sailing Team, a point of pride for Sciences Po.
Students who choose to study at the Menton campus will take courses that focus on the key political, economic and social issues of the Middle East and Gulf States. Classes are taught in French, English and Arabic in subjects such as Political Economy of the Middle East, Geopolitics of the Middle East and History of the Arab-Islamic Civilization.
The campus is located in the heart of the French Riviera, a destination many dream of visiting but where few have an opportunity to live and learn during their undergraduate years. Similar to the other regional campuses at Sciences Po, Menton has a small number of students (fewer then 150) with a highly specific area of focus in the social sciences.
“Speaking in French was challenging at first, particularly when handling administrative processes, but it has become easier over time and has immensely helped develop my language skills. Cultural mannerisms are also very different (particularly the tradition that all shops are closed on Sundays!) and take time to adjust to, but are beautiful in their way and it takes little time to fully appreciate them. It helps you understand the history and values of a country, which are intertwined with the every day culture,” says Kiera Schuller, a Dual Degree student.
Imagine studying in a 17th century former Jesuit college with an on-site vineyard in the heart of France’s champagne region and world gastronomic centre. This is Reims, a campus that is intentionally intimate with less than 200 students, with a curriculum focused on the study of Europe-North America transatlantic relations.
The Bachelor of Arts Dual Degree with UBC and Sciences Po model is one that is setting in motion a deliberate strategy towards international strategic partnerships that enhance the international learning experiences for students at UBC in every discipline.
We are currently in discussions with a number of universities in Europe and in Asia about comparable dual degree programs. There are important reasons why we are making this kind of project a centrepiece of our global strategy. Student exchange programs are useful for student development, but they typically result in short visits and the relationships between the universities may not be otherwise strengthened. Similarly, when faculty members collaborate with colleagues internationally on research, the research and the faculty members benefit, but this may not result in broader ongoing university-to-university linkages. With the dual degrees, we build long-term, immersive experiences for our students and we work closely with other universities on designing the curriculum and student support. As a result we begin to build deep and ongoing partnerships that can be a platform for other kinds of collaborations, including graduate studies and research projects. We are exploring, too, the possibility that this kind of activity could result in networks of leading universities or even consortiums.”
—Dr. Gage Averill, Dean, Faculty of Arts, UBC
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Thank you to Kyle Schneider and Anne Destrait from Sciences Po, and Dr. Gage Averill, Dean of the UBC Faculty of Arts, Dr. Janet Giltrow, Senior Associate Dean of the UBC Faculty of Arts, Lois Nightingale and Loren Plottel from UBC for contributing and helping to coordinate the content for the story. Special thanks to the following students who co-created the story with us: Kiera Schuller, Amanda Chubak, Adrien Jourdain, Sophie Cêtre, and Tom Adriaenssens.
Story team: UBC Communications and Marketing — Margaret Doyle, Digital Storyteller; Michael Kam, Web Developer/Coordinator; Adrian Liem, Senior Web Coordinator; Aida Viziru, Web Interaction Designer. Additional research and copywriting — David Leidl, Copy Editor and Researcher.
Published: April 2014