Master 1

First-year Master’s Program in Geopolitics

Admission Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s Degree in Geography, Development Studies, Law, Sociology, Anthropology, Economics, Foreign Languages, History, Political Science, or any other major with 50% of the coursework in the intended master’s program.
  • Validation of prior experience (validation des acquis de l’expérience – VAE)
  • Research project. The first year of the program is devoted to learning the methods used in geopolitics via a personal research project with maps (cartography training is included in the program) and field studies. It is therefore necessary to have a topic that is suitable for conducting interviews that can enhance the understanding of a specific situation, in a geographical area that is not too large. The field study can be done in France or anywhere else in the world, provided that the student speaks the local language or is learning it and is able to finance transportation and a three-week stay. Language skills and budget capacity are therefore to be taken into consideration when choosing a geographical area and elaborating a research project.

Learning through Research

The first year of the master’s program is meant to develop students’ autonomy by having them learn and apply the methods used in geopolitics to a specific case study. Students write a 100-page thesis on a topic that they choose with the approval of the professors. They are expected to move from the stage of collecting information (summarizing published works) to that of producing new information that is solidly based on a geopolitical line of reasoning. This is why first-year courses are essentially devoted to methodology, with most emphasis given to the thesis, to spatial analysis, to cartography, and to the field study, during which the student must rely on his or her own resources. Thirty pages must be written and submitted by the end of the first three months of the program in order to reduce the chance of writing anxiety, which is frequent among many students and can sometimes lead them to abandon their studies. This method has proven to be effective, given the high proportion of theses completed each year. Courses take place mainly during the first semester so that students have more time to conduct their research (sometimes in faraway countries), to reflect, and to write during the second semester. A seminar dedicated to following up on students’ research allows for coaching throughout the second semester. This is designed to encourage students to see their thesis through to the end. By building students’ confidence in their ability to reflect and produce knowledge, they become more and more autonomous, which will allow them to take on the responsibilities that will be asked of them in their future career.

The skills that are worked on are the following:

  • Multi-scalar spatial analysis of complex situtatinos
  • Interdisciplinary analytical approaches to studying conflicts
  • Analyzing discourse and representations
  • Analyzing the relations between institutional, political, political and social stakeholders
  • Mastering the critical use of information found on the Internet.
  • Work autonomy (the first-year master’s thesis is written alone)
  • Mastering cartography. Introductory or complimentary cartography training is an essential part of geopolitics, in the sense that spatial analysis is used as a starting point for thought and reflection, and geopolitical analyses are represented graphically.
  • Conducting interviews
  • Mastering the use of software
  • Mastering English, Spanish, German, or another common language

Design of the first-year master’s program in geopolitics [fr] : Présentation du Master

First-year course descriptions [fr] : Descriptif des cours du Master 1 géopolitique


  • Students must validate coursework and have a committee composed of at least two tenured professors validate their thesis. The grade on the thesis corresponds to the honorable mention given on the diploma.

Admission to the second-year program

  • Students must validate their coursework: regular attendance, coursework handed in, involvement in the classwork and/or tests.
  • They must also receive the grade of at least 12/20 on their thesis (honorable mention “assez bien”).

International mobility

  • See the “international” section

Preparation for the job world

  •  First-year master’s students must concentrate on writing their thesis. Internships are not authorized unless they are in the institution or organization under study, allowing the student to have first-hand access to primary sources.


For more information on studies, grants, housing, and foodservice, please visit the ministerial website: http://www.etudiant.gouv.fr


Institut Français de Géopolitique

Université Paris 8 — 2, rue de la Liberté, 93526 Saint-Denis Cedex
Téléphone : 01 49 40 73 00 — Télécopie : 01 49 40 73 01 —