Janice Simpson

Paris and Toronto differ greatly in history, architecture, culture. But one trait they share is that both have long been magnets for people from all over the world who come to seek opportunities, enjoy different experiences – and learn. On March 10, the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs and the Sciences Po School of Public Affairs celebrated a partnership that will offer an exciting opportunity to people who combine intense curiosity about the world with ambition to take leadership in changing it for the better: a new dual degree program to begin in 2018.

In 24 intensive months, students will be able to complete both a Master of Global Affairs (MGA) program from the Munk School and a Master in Public Policy (MPP) from the Sciences Po School of Public Affairs. They will interact with colleagues from many countries, gaining new perspectives that will help them engage in a deeper way in cross-cultural environments. They will learn how to adapt to education systems with different roots and methods. They will build international networks that will help them professionally and enrich their lives personally.

“This dual master’s degree is a first for the Munk School and we’re thrilled to have an experienced partner in Sciences Po,” said Stephen Toope, director of the Munk School of Global Affairs, in welcoming representatives from Sciences Po and distinguished guests to the event. “The two schools share fundamental values and a commitment to equipping young people with the skills they need to pursue their careers in an increasingly interconnected and multipolar world.”

Both degrees focus on exploring complex global issues and inventing effective solutions to world challenges. Both programs understand this requires breaking down boundaries between academic disciplines. They are complementary, but also distinct.

“We are very glad to combine for the first time our Master in Public Policy with a Master of Global Affairs provided by the Munk School,” said Yann Algan, dean of the Sciences Po School of Public Affairs. “This dual degree aims to bring to our future public affairs professionals a unique and complementary understanding of global challenges.”

Founded almost 150 years ago, Sciences Po has retained such traditional elements of the French university system as the “Grand Oral” – a verbal examination of a student’s views on a policy topic (which will be required of dual degree students). At the same time, the university has evolved and innovated, opened its arms to the world and adapted new methods of learning to its context. It draws students from 150 countries – almost half its 13,000 population comes from abroad.

The Sciences Po School of Public Affairs MPP curriculum provides a grounding in public policy from a European perspective, along with an emphasis on pluralism and the management of public affairs across cultural contexts. It explores such themes as global health and social policy, energy and sustainability, economics and markets, digital and new technology.

The Munk School is newer and smaller, also intent on experimenting with innovative ideas and actively building an international network of experts and partners. Located in the heart of one of the world’s most multicultural cities, it’s a great home base for an institution committed to growing expertise and interest in global affairs. The MGA is designed to build deep understanding of the forces that shape global society, while providing practical research and leadership skills. At the end of the program, teams have the experience of working in a consulting capacity on current global problems for clients. While at the Munk School, dual degree students will also be eligible to take elective courses with the U of T’s School of Public Policy and Governance.

One key feature of the MGA degree is hands-on experience through summer internships, and dual degree students will participate in such internships between studies in Paris and Toronto. These placements may take students anywhere in the world. They may be in NGOs, corporations, governments or international institutions like the UN and the WHO.

“It’s fashionable today to focus on cracks in Europe,” said Toope. “But however the winds shift, these are strong countries that will be leaders in shaping the world’s future. This new program is part of the Munk School’s commitment to building bridges and understanding between Canada and Europe.”

March 10, 2017