Academic & Program Policies

Columbia Credit for Academic Work at Sciences Po

Dual BA Program students work with their Columbia academic and major advisors to determine how their coursework at Sciences Po will be credited toward their studies at Columbia. General policies regarding the transfer of academic credit, including details on advanced credit granted by exams such as AP and IB, can be found on the GS website. In general, three types of credit are assigned at Columbia: elective credit toward the BA degree, credit toward the major, and credit toward the Core Curriculum.

Credit Toward the Columbia BA Degree

The GS administrative offices use a block credit validation policy for all Dual BA students in order to streamline the transfer of their Sciences Po coursework toward their general Columbia University degree requirements. Before the start of their third year, Dual BA students will receive the maximum 60 allowable transfer credits toward the 124 credit minimum required for the Columbia undergraduate degree for coursework completed at Sciences Po. Students can earn credit for fall, spring, and summer term courses. A course that students wish to be counted for transfer credit must satisfy certain criteria:

  • It is documented by an official transcript
  • It is not a “mini” or intercession course, such as courses from Spring School and Winter School.

Credit Toward the Major

Credit toward the major at the point of the commencement of Columbia coursework is determined in consultation with the Director of Undergraduate Studies in the academic department where the student plans to declare a major. Students should consult the academic requirements enumerated on the major page for details; majors at Columbia range in required credit count from 29 to 88. Students should expect to complete the majority of the requirements for their Columbia major at Columbia; however, in some cases, students can receive credit toward the major for coursework completed at Sciences Po.

Common majors and course credit guidelines for the Dual BA Program may be found on the Majors and Concentrations page. Please note that this list is subject to change and expansion.

Credit Toward the Core Curriculum

The GS core requirements provide the foundation for a traditional liberal arts education, assuring that students develop critical skills in writing and quantitative reasoning while exposing them to a range of knowledge and disciplines.

  • University Writing: All Dual BA Program students must complete this course at Columbia.

  • Literature/Humanities (six points of coursework — the literature component must be taken at Columbia: Many courses taken at Sciences Po, including any history course, may be applied toward this requirement.

  • Language (four terms or the equivalent): This requirement is typically fulfilled through French language fluency, demonstrated or achieved at Sciences Po. 

  • Art Humanities: All Dual BA Program students must complete this course at Columbia.

  • Music Humanities: All Dual BA Program students must complete this course at Columbia.

  • Global Core (six points of coursework): Many courses taken at Sciences Po may be applied toward this requirement, and GS academic advisors will  review final transcripts after each semester to approve transfer courses that fulfill the global core requirement. For example, the following Sciences Po courses have previously counted toward the requirement:
    • Calligraphy
    • Contemporary Arab World
    • Geopolitics and Religion
    • History of Contemporary Worlds
    • Immigrant Narratives in Literature and Film
    • International Migration
    • Sub-Saharan African Cinema
    • The African American Odyssey

  • Contemporary Civilization/Social Sciences (six points of coursework): Because Sciences Po is specialized in the social sciences, most courses taken at Sciences Po may be applied toward this requirement.

  • Quantitative Reasoning (one term or the equivalent): This requirement may be satisfied through the French baccalauréat, SAT, or ACT. The combination of first-year advanced mathematics for social sciences and advanced statistics taken on any Sciences Po campus may also satisfy this requirement.

  • Science (three terms or the equivalent): This requirement may be satisfied or partially satisfied through the French baccalauréat, depending on stream.

Leaves of Absence

To modify the normal course of study or interrupt their studies in the international dual degree programs, students must notify the program administration at both Columbia and the partner university via email, and follow the process below that is appropriate and relevant to their program and current enrollment status. Students enrolled in the Dual BA Program in years one and two are primarily affiliated with Sciences Po, and follow the rules and requirements of the institution during that time. For the last two years of the program, Dual BA students have a primary affiliation to Columbia University School of General Studies and follow their rules and regulations, all of this according to joint decisions made in the framework of the Dual BA cooperation agreement.

A student’s affiliation with each institution is active throughout the duration of their academic journey, from admission to graduation. As such, students are required to complete their administrative registration at Sciences Po every year (including during years three and four or while on a leave from their studies). This administrative registration ensures the continuity of each student’s affiliation to Sciences Po side of the Dual BA Program and enables, for example, the transfer of credits obtained at Columbia towards the completion of their Sciences Po degree. For Sciences Po, this affiliation means that students retain their student status, their affiliation with the French healthcare system, and their access to campus and library resources.

Years One & Two

Sciences Po Dual BA students who wish to take a leave of absence at any point before their transition to Columbia University should submit a petition (typed statement) addressed to their academic advisor/campus director at Sciences Po, clearly describing the reason for their request. The typed petition statement should include the expected dates of their leave, their anticipated return semester, and their anticipated graduation semester from the program, if the leave is approved. Students should send this petition directly to Dean Kyle Schneider at Sciences Po, and to their Columbia academic advisor.

Students who wish to extend their leave from the Dual BA Program for more than one academic year must submit a new petition by July 1 (in advance of fall semester).

Costs

The nature of a student’s request informs whether there is a cost associated with their time away from the academic sphere:

  • A leave of absence option does not require the payment of tuition fees at Sciences Po. Students will still be administratively registered at Sciences Po as explained above, but this option does not enable students, for example, to request an internship agreement.
  • A gap year/semester option in which a student intends to complete an internship in France, however, requires the payment of 25% of the tuition fees to Sciences Po. This partial tuition payment entitles students to, among other academic support needs, an internship agreement (convention de stage) supported by Sciences Po.

Years Three & Four

Sciences Po Dual BA students who wish to take a leave of absence at any point after their transition to Columbia University should follow the standard leave of absence process described on the School of General Studies website.

Students should notify their Columbia GS academic advisor, as well as Dean Kyle Schneider and Mr. Sylvain Quatravaux at Sciences Po of their intent to take a leave of absence, the anticipated semester of their return to the program, and their anticipated date of graduation.

Maintenance of Student Status at Sciences Po

Students who wish to extend their leave from the Dual BA Program for more than one academic year must submit a petition according to the appropriate deadlines below for the following academic year:

  • by December 15 (in advance of spring semester); 
  • by July 1 (in advance of fall semester)

Students interested in taking advantage of the Sciences Po Choix de Master are entitled to a maximum one-year gap between completion of the Dual BA Program and enrollment in one of Sciences Po’s guaranteed-entry Masters programs. However, it is important to note that taking a leave of absence from their studies before graduation from the Dual BA Program will count against this guaranteed gap year. Students who take a leave of absence of longer than one year before graduation from the Dual BA Program will be required to apply through the appropriate admissions procedure for the Sciences Po graduate degree of their choice.

Withdrawal from the Dual BA Program

All students enrolled in the Dual BA program are expected to make sufficient academic progress and to fulfill all academic obligations required by both institutions in order to obtain two diplomas.

In very rare circumstances, students enrolled in the Dual BA Program may seek to leave the Program to pursue alternative academic opportunities. Students who wish to leave the Dual BA program prior to completion are not automatically entitled to enter the undergraduate programs of either Columbia University or Sciences Po. Therefore, it is advised that students consult with their academic advisors at both Sciences Po and Columbia as early as possible.

Neither Columbia University nor Sciences Po guarantee the transferability of credits completed within the Dual BA program into another program offered by either institution.

Should a student decide to leave the Dual BA program to join Columbia University, he or she must resubmit an application for admission in accordance with all rules and regulations established by Columbia University’s Office of Admissions.

Because Sciences Po’s undergraduate curriculum mandates a compulsory third year abroad, a student who wishes to leave the Dual BA program to join the undergraduate program at Sciences Po must submit a formal petition to the Dean of Sciences Po’s Undergraduate College requesting the change by January 1 of their second year. Submitting a petition does not guarantee its acceptance.

Students in their second year who receive authorization to transfer into Sciences Po’s Undergraduate College must apply for the third year abroad via the traditional procedure followed by all second-year students but must wait until the following full academic year to do so. Prior to completion of their second year, these students must work with the Dean of the Undergraduate College to develop a project for the gap year.