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  • Thabiso Mnisi

Study in Paris, France with MasterCard Scholarship

The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program at Sciences Po aims to support 126 talented African students through their studies and to offer the next generation of leaders a world-class social science education, so they can go on to become changemakers in their home countries. Over six years (2017 - 2022), the Scholars Program will fund:

  1. 20 scholarships to complete the Sciences Po Bachelor of Arts programme, Africa specialization,

  2. 46 scholarships to complete a Master's programme at one of our seven graduate schools,

  3. 60 scholarships reserved for MasterCard Foundation Scholars studying at other partner universities and who would like to attend Sciences Po Summer School,

  4. The MasterCard Foundation created this merit-based scholarship program to give the most talented African students the chance to benefit from a quality education and pursue their ambitions, whatever their background. At Sciences Po, the scholars are supported throughout their university education in the social sciences so they can go on to become changemakers in their home countries.


Sciences Po is an international, selective research university with a global outlook, established in 1871 and ranked among the best in the social sciences. Sciences Po’s primary mission is to train senior public and private sector executives for careers in France and around the world. But the university’s overarching ambition is greater still: to educate the kind of free thinkers and enlightened citizens who can change the world and transform society.

47% of the student body at Sciences Po comes from outside France, representing over 150 nationalities. It has 470 partner universities, including 20 in sub-Saharan Africa, and 100% of Bachelor’s students spend their third year at a partner university abroad. Another unique thing about Sciences Po is that 50% of the courses are taught by professionals from the public and private sectors. It is ranked 4th university worldwide and 1st in France for Politics and International Studies (2017 QS rankings); and 50th university worldwide and 1st in France for social sciences (2017 Times Higher Education rankings).


The scholarships are awarded to students from sub-Saharan African countries with an outstanding academic record and strong leadership potential, but who face financial and other barriers to higher education.  

The scholarships are awarded for a period of three years for the Bachelor's degree, two years for the Master's degree and one month for the Summer School. They cover the full cost of tuition fees at Sciences Po and living costs in France during the study period.

As well as funding their studies, Sciences Po will offer scholars a specific suite of resources to ensure they have appropriate academic support and to facilitate their transition from education to employment:

  • An orientation programme and individualised academic advising throughout their studies at Sciences Po

  • A mentor programme offered in collaboration with the Africa Division of Sciences Po Alumni

  • Career guidance and support: an online job platform dedicated to professional opportunities in Africa (internships and first jobs), access to our business incubator and the network of employers and alumni working in Africa, and specific career workshops.


Scholarships for the 2020/2021 academic year are awarded in collaboration with a network of partner institutions accepting the terms and conditions of the nomination framework. To apply to the scholarship, go to, “Fees & Funding” then “Bursaries and Financial Aid”.Candidates who are currently studying in an institution which is not listed as a partner should encourage their institution to contact us by email. The person signing the nomination letter should be a member of the faculty or the administration qualified to attest to both the candidate’s academic qualifications and financial needs. They will be asked to agree to the terms and conditions of the nomination framework, which will be necessary for an application to be considered. For assistance and more information, please contact:

  1. Bachelor’s Degree Candidates - The scholarship is awarded for the duration of the Science Po Bachelor of Arts programme (three years) and only for the Europe-Africa specialization (dual-degree programmes excluded) taught on the Reims campus. Nominators for Eswatini for these scholars are: Waterford Kamhlaba, Yale Young African Scholars, HALI Network (The Knowledge Institute is a member) and Enko Education.

  2. Masters Degree Candidates - The scholarship is awarded for the duration of a Master's programme (two years). All the Master's programmes offered at Sciences Po’s seven graduate schools are compatible with the scholarship, except for one-year Master's programmes and dual-degree programmes. Most of the Master's programmes are taught in English and do not require prior knowledge of French.

  3. Summer School Candidates -  The scholarship is awarded for the duration of the Summer School's June session (one month). The Summer School offers two programmes, one in social sciences and the other in French. Scholarship winners choose one of the two programmes and also get to take a specific 24-hour course focused on transformative leadership in the African context.


Applications for the scholarship take place between the months of October and January. Applications for eligibility must be received no later than midnight (Paris time) on January 29, 2020.

Eligible applicants must meet all of the following criteria:

  • You must be a resident and citizen of a Sub-Saharan African country;

  • You must be in your final year of high school and not yet have started a post-secondary education;

  • You must have a very good level of French and English - minimum level B2 (see language requirements) for Bachelors programs

  • Minimum C1 level in English or French depending on the programme you are applying to (see language requirements) for Masters programs

  • You must be able to show that you lack the financial means to pursue higher education.

  • Candidates must apply online on the dedicated website.

Candidates eligible for the scholarship should then submit their application to Sciences Po according to international undergraduate admissions procedure.

Please note: complete applications (references included) must be submitted at least 6 weeks before the interview session you have chosen. The time limit for admissions is between January and April, according to the interview session.

Application deadlines for the MasterCard Foundation Scholarships are:

  • Bachelor: January 29, 2020

  • Master: December 5, 2019

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