Sciences Po Aix

One of France's "Grandes Écoles", offering programs in Political Science, Economics and International Relations. Sciences Po Aix is a selective, internationally-focused institution in France, and is located in a beautiful 17th century building on the "Place de l'Université".

The university faces St. Sauveur Cathedral in the historic heart of Aix-en-Provence, known for its summer music and opera festivals and lively student atmosphere.

Sciences Po Aix (Institut d'Etudes Politiques d'Aix-Marseille) is a separate faculty at Aix-Marseille University. Founded in 1409, Aix-Marseille Université is located in the heart of the Provence region of France. The university has a student population of more than 22,000 students, including 3,000 international students. Aix-Marseille is currently ranked as one of the top 4 universities in France and amongst the top 3% globally (ARWU 2018; THE 2019).

Key information

Language

English, French

Semester

Fall, Winter, Academic year

Program type

Exchange

Application information

Application status

Open

APPLY NOW

20-21 applications

Priority deadline Jan. 8, 2020

University-specific additional requirements

One academic reference required - see the Eligibility section below.

21-22 applications

Opens November 1, 2020

Student experience

Check out this student video

Program details

Areas of Study: One of France's "Grands Ecoles", offering Programs in Communications, Economics, French, History, International Relations, Law & Society, Political Science, Sociology, Religious Studies - courses are available in French, English (and a few in German) under the relevant semester, with a specific section for courses offered in English as well.

Course requirements:
In Europe, full-time course load is typically 30 ECTS (European credits), and exchange students are typically expected to take 30 credits per semester. 6 ECTS = 3 UCalgary units (1 half-course). The amount of credits each course is worth corresponds to the workload/contact hours, and can vary from 1-30 ECTS per course, so please be mindful of this in your selection.

Note: Sciences Po Aix is a separate faculty at Aix-Marseille - students are not eligible to take courses from Aix-Marseille University or courses at the Institut d'Etudes Françaises pour Etudiants Etrangers.

Certificate d'Etudes Politiques (CEP): Aix offers a one-year certificate program composed of 2 compulsory modules, two compulsory small group seminars, 2nd or 4th year language classes, and other courses of your choosing for a total of 30 ECTS per semester. A certificate from a French language teacher attesting a level B2 of French is required (alternatively, Alliance Française, Institut Française, or other accredited body can certify). 

Student Tips: "Some of the courses I liked in particular were: Gender and Politics, Violence and Politics, Islam and Globalization and Geopolitics of the Indian Subcontinent. The first [two were] taught by the same professor (Marc-Calvini Lefebvre) and are wonderful and informative classes where I learnt a lot about many areas of the world. The professor delves into theory and real-life examples. The second two classes [were] taught by Alix Philipon and are some of the most incredible classes I have taken. Especially Geopolitics of the Indian Subcontinent. The professor frequently travels to the area to do research and had such a wealth of knowledge and deep understanding. It was a class I would not have been able to take at UCalgary and I learnt so much about the current geopolitical context that surrounds that part of the world and how it interacts with the West."

The academic year is divided into two semesters.

  • Fall semester runs from mid September to mid/late December
  • Spring semester runs from mid January to mid June 

Please Note: French visa applications for Canadians may require travel to the Vancouver consulate to submit the documentation and take biometrics as needed within 3 months before departure to France, so students may not have access to their passports during that time. 

  1. Costs

    Exchange students pay their tuition and academic fees to the University of Calgary. Other expenses are paid directly to the service provider. 

    If you live in residence at Aix, budget for at least €650-700 per month for accommodation, food, laundry, etc. A guide to costs at Sciences Po Aix includes tips on managing your budget while abroad, in addition to banking. The 5 university cafeterias offer a wide range of cuisines (including organic) at very reasonable prices - for example a 3 course meal for just over €3, and sandwiches for about €2.5. All 5 cafeterias or restaurants are within a 13 min walk or less, though most are only open for lunch except RU Les Gazelles (open for both lunch & dinner).  

    Also, don't forget to include things like visas, insurance, vaccinations etc in your budget planning. All students on exchange in France will have to pay roughly €217 (2017/18 rate) for French social security on arrival, which covers some costs of medical care, but comprehensive travel medical coverage will still be required.

    Please Note: French visa applications may require travel to the Vancouver consulate to finalize your student visa and take biometrics as needed - please speak with the exchange advisor as soon as possible about whether this will be required for you.

    Students considering significant rail travel in France may want to purchase a Carte Jeune via French National Rail (SNCF), which allows for reduced travel for every journey over a year. 

    Aix-en-Provence cost comparison vs. Calgary: Click Here

    Student Tips: "If you are under 26 years old, you can go the gare routière and create a “Cartreize” subscription, which will allow you to ride the whole system for 24 hours for only 2 euros! You are able to visit many neighbouring villages as well as Marseille with this card."

  2. Funding

    Did you know that you can take your UCalgary funding with you on exchange? 
    Since you remain a degree seeking student at UCalgary while on exchange you remain eligible for any awards and scholarships you are eligible to receive from the university as well as student loans.

    Our office administers the International Study Travel Grant for students travelling on approved UCalgary study programs that are credit bearing. The amount changes year to year as the money is split evenly between qualified applicants. Students may only receive the study travel grant once. Please see the exchange funding page for more information.

    France - Housing Aid
    All students in France who rent housing with a contract, regardless of national origin, are eligible for a National Housing Aid from the ‘CAF’, Caisse d’Allocations Familiales. For the subsidy application, please make sure to bring a copy of your birth certificate.

    E. Catherine Barclay Scholarship
    The E. Catherine Barclay Scholarship is a generous award of $7500 granted to one outstanding full-time student, registered in any faculty at UCalgary, who has been accepted by us to study for a full academic year (French-taught courses only) on one of our official exchange programs. For details, deadline and application forms, please visit the link above or our Funding page for more details.  

Accommodation in student halls of residence is available, but cannot always be guaranteed. You will apply for student housing with your application and housing request form - instructions will be provided by the exchange advisor.  A guide to housing, visas, and health insurance while abroad at Sciences Po Aix is available and details some tips on seeking Student housing assistance and other practical matters. 

Newly renovated student housing on average costs about €260 per month for a 12m² room with private bathroom and shared floor kitchen.

Student Tips: "There are three residences in Aix - Gazelles, Cuques, and Estellan. Gazelles is the most recently renovated with the most modern facilities, and would be the one I'd recommend. I lived in a building on the Gazelles residences, which consisted of 8 pavillions. My pavillion had 2 buildings attached, each 5 stories tall with approximately 40 rooms on each floor. All the rooms and floors were colour-coded. The rooms in my building were about 9m squared. In Europe there aren't always lifts/elevators, so this can make moving in a little challenging!

The room was furnished with a twin bed, under-bed storage drawers, shelving, one closet, a desk, chair, and mini-fridge. I had to purchase bedding, dishes, garbage bin, and cooking supplies from the Carrefour just out of town (similar to a Wal-Mart, and much more affordable than the shops in the centre of Aix). My room included a bathroom with a shower, sink, and toilet and there was always hot water! In the winter, the heating was not very strong and it still got cold at night, so I did eventually need to buy a duvet. However, my room warmed up quite a bit over the next few months because I was south-facing. The heat was manageable as the trees provided quite a bit of coverage so it would cool down quickly in the evenings. While the winter is nothing like in Canada, it's helpful to pack cold-weather gear like a sweater and jacket as it is also not beach-weather in January/February.

The international students were housed with the French students so there was still plenty of opportunity to practice French while in residence. According to someone who worked at the reception office, the rooms are allocated so that rooms adjacent alternate French and international student. There was a communal kitchen on each floor, however, I found that many students ate at the on-site cafeteria, which offered lunches and dinners for 3-4 euros. Many students were also travelling at various times during the semester so I noticed only maybe a dozen students using the kitchen regularly. There were cooktops, a microwave, and sink in my kitchen. We had to provide pots and pans. 

It was approximately a 20-30 minute walk from residence to IEP (Sciences Po). It was also only 15 minutes to reach the centre of town. The residences are a mix of all the universities in Aix so some students are from other universities in Aix. I felt safe in my residence as there was a code to get into the building and a night watchman, usually from 10pm until sunrise. The same watchman was responsible for checking the other pavillions. As a precaution though, always make sure to walk in groups on the way home at night. While the residences were not “on campus”, I enjoyed that they were in their own area of the city. It felt like a separate and cozy location - it was also VERY affordable."

This exchange is open to regular, full-time students in any faculty at UCalgary, who have completed at least 2 full years (20 courses) at the post-secondary level (prior to starting the exchange), with a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.7 (B-).

For English courses, while advanced French is not required, all students should have some basic knowledge of French and be able to independently navigate websites and forms written in French.

For courses in French, applicants must have a command of French at the B2 level according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Language (CEFR) at a minimum, or have completed at least two 300-level or above courses in French. Certification of language proficiency, such as a DELF exam or note from your language teacher, may be required.

An academic reference is required for a complete application.

What supports or services are available at Sciences Po Aix? 

Student Tips: "Upon arrival in Aix, the International Students Association at Sciences Po organized several pub nights for the international students to mingle among each other and with the French local students. There were also cultural showcase events, wine and cheese events, and gala events. Most useful was a parrainage or marrainage program where an international student would be paired with a local French student to practice conversational skills."

For information on accessibility of campuses across Europe, ESN has created "MappEd!" which allows you to check the accessibility of universities and cities across Europe. For city-specific services and places in Europe, the Jaccede interactive platform (website and/or smartphone app - both Android and iOS) also provides a searchable user-built database to identify important accessibility information of public places and locations.

What's so special about Sciences Po Aix? 

Student Tips: "There is a student organization at IEP which organizes “welcome” events and makes it very easy for the incoming international students to meet each other as well as the French students. Making friends was very easy while living on residence. As well, Aix is a small enough city that you will constantly be running into people on the way to school, in the supermarket, through the shops, etc. Near the Gazelles residences, there is also a Centre Sportif with a pool, several gymnasiums, small weight room, tennis courts, and volleyball courts. There is a small fee attached to using the facilities as a student, but it is worth it. They offer weekly classes in various athletic activities – fencing, horse-riding, paragliding, dance, etc!

There was quite an active student club life among the local French students. I am not sure of how many clubs there actually were but each day, there would always be a club doing promotion in the foyer of the university. They hosted many social events at the beginning of the semester and most students are very friendly and welcoming. There are fewer clubs than at the U of C, mostly because of the much smaller student population. There are still plenty of opportunities to join sports teams during the second semester, such as soccer, basketball, and rugby."

What's so special about Aix? 

Student Tip: "Within Aix, it is highly recommended to explore:

  • The Cezanne trails
  • The café Les Deux Garçons (where many renowned artists and writers often enjoyed a café)
  • Terrain des Peintures (beautiful park where Cezanne painted Mont St. Victoire)
  • climb Mont St. Victoire (you can take an Aix-en-bus out there and then hike up – approx. 2 hours up and 2 hours down.
  • the calanques and beaches in Marseille, Cassis, and La Ciotat
  • the beautiful water in the Gorges du Verdun
  • the lavender fields in June, Notre Dame de la Garde in Marseille

...and various other towns accessible through the Zou! card program or covoiturage (car sharing). While Aix is generally small and safe, Marseille is a much larger city. When exploring, try to make a local friend who knows which areas are safer than others, especially if your French is still improving."


Have questions?

Study Abroad 101

Please watch this YouTube playlist before reaching out or booking an appointment.

Watch Study Abroad 101

Academic Advising

Before applying to study abroad, you should ask your academic advisor how an exchange might align with your degree (e.g. best time to go, what courses you need).

After you are accepted, you should ask your academic advisor more specific questions about courses/transfer credits. It’s also recommended to follow up with your advisor again once you return to Calgary.

Find your academic advisor

Study Abroad Advising

If you have questions about this exchange program, you can meet with the specific advisor for this program by booking an appointment through the link below.

1. Select “Book an Appointment”
2. Select “Study Abroad Appointments”
3. Select “Book by Appointment Type”
4. Read through the list of appointment types to select the most appropriate type and view available times.

Book an appointment

The exchange advisor for this program is: Saskia Schaelicke

How to Apply

Download the application guide

This PDF contains information on how to complete your application and what to do after you have applied.

Application guide

Identify three programs of interest

We recommend applying for your top three programs for the priority application deadline, as placement may be competitive. We will assess your applications in ranked order.

Check requirements and deadlines

These may vary by program, so check the individual program pages and make sure that you are aware of any different application deadlines or eligibility requirements.

Start your application

Once you have gathered everything you need, you can begin your application!

Please note: Applications will not be considered complete until all required documents are submitted in full.

APPLY NOW

International travel presents challenges that may not be found when attending classes on campus. There may be a lack of resources, emergency services, hospitals, accessibility issues and/or demands on the physical and the mental self, all of which can challenge individuals when away from their usual support systems and structures. Adequate preparation is essential.

For this reason, it is imperative that you evaluate all aspects of your own physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual condition against the rigors of the particular study abroad program you are selecting. If you are unsure of whether or not this program is a good fit for you and/or if you have any circumstances that could impede your enjoyment of the program, please contact us. Our Study Abroad Team will be happy to assist in finding the best options for you and arrange any supports or accommodations necessary to ensure your success.

Please note if you have or are seeking a certificate from Student Accessibility Services, you should provide this early to your Study Abroad Advisor to ensure that the option that you are seeking can support your needs.