Master 2: local geopolitics

Local geopolitics and territorial governance (development projects and consultation)

The IFG’s professional second-year master’s program trains students to become practitioners in local territorial management. They learn what the strategies of the various players involved are and how to prevent and/or manage local territorial conflicts, notably those concerning development projects.

Profile of the positions students are trained for

  • Junior consultants in consulting firms in the fields of territorial assessment and project management support during the operations of public consultation and debate:
    • Conducting studies on territorial contexts (stakes and stakeholders)
    • Elaborating documents presenting infrastructure projects
    • Organizing, attending and reporting on consulting meetings
    • Coaching project management teams
    • Public and stakeholder relations (elected officials, administrators, associations, economic and social institutions)
    • Media relations
  • Consulting for project managers in the fields of transportation, energy, housing (public housing agencies), commercial urban planning, waste treatment and sanitation
    • (same skills)
  • Members of elected councils (regional councils, departmental councils, major cities, intercommunity agglomerations) and parliamentary assistants
    • Electoral analysis and cartography
    • Management of stakeholder relations (associations, other elected officials, government services, businesses, trade unions) and media relations
    • Organizing and reporting on meetings
    • Participation in the elaboration of strategies
  • Conducting studies for consulting firms and public institutions (natural parks, coastal conservatory) or for large environmental associations
    • Stakes analysis
    • International relations
    • Media relations
  • Conducting studies, carrying out tasks or handling operations for urban and rural planning management, economic development, sustainable development in local communities or intercommunal agglomerations, urban development agencies, chambers of commerce and industry:
    • Stakes analysis
    • Institutional relations and media relations
    • Territorial promotion
    • Digital cartography

Students of this graduate program are particularly successful at finding employment: during the past two years, 20% signed permanent contracts and 30%, temporary contracts, immediately after their internship. Nearly all found employment within a year.


The standard admissions procedure is to complete the first-year master’s program in geopolitics at the IFG, after which students may choose either the professional or research specialty during their second year.

However, each year about half of the students admitted to the professional master’s program have different academic backgrounds:

  • First-year master programs in geography and urban planning, history, sociology, political science, economy, law, philosophy, etc.
  • Political science institutes
  • Engineering, architecture, landscaping, journalism, and other schools

Applicants with a second-year master’s degree in any of these fields are also welcome to apply.

The program is also open to practicing professionals or those undergoing conversion, even if they do not hold a first-year master’s degree, through the validation of prior experience (validation des acquis de l’expérience – vae). It is also possible to be admitted through an apprenticeship agreement or a professionalization contract.

The diversity of students’ academic and professional backgrounds is one of the program’s strengths.

Admission is granted after a two-part procedure: an evaluation of the application, followed by an interview. There are two periods of admission: june and september.

There are about twenty students enrolled in the program each year, which helps to guarantee the quality of the program and a class spirit of camaraderie.

Organization of the program

Classes take place at the saint-denis campus of the university of paris 8 (metro line 13, “saint-denis – université”). They nevertheless include many field studies (half-day field trips, two-day trips for field work in january, practical field work in february, a one-week, end-of-the-year trip in early september).

It takes twelve months to complete the degree (from early october to late september of the following year).

The program is divided into three phases designed to progressively transform students into professionals:

  • A study conducted in a professional context – dubbed “practical study” – about 100 pages long, including maps and stakeholder diagrams and profiles, written with a team of 4-6 students over the course of four weeks (in june), based on field work (interviews of stakeholders), and written on a geopolitical topic having to do with development projects.
  • Eight months of classes from late september to late may, organized in 13 modules. (special arrangements – lighter class hours – can be granted to students with a professional activity in the same field as their studies, depending on the skills he or she already possesses):
    • Conflicts between development projects in france, europe, and the world
    • Democracy and territorial governance
    • Building territories
    • Consultation and public debate
    • Public relations for major development projects
    • Urban development and public spaces
    • Transportation, habitat, and urban planning
    • Housing, habitat, and urban policy
    • Environmental law and urban planning
    • Spatial analysis
    • Workshop: methodology for territorial context studies
    • Digital cartography workshop
    • Introduction to geographic information systems
  • An internship or a work study program, three days per week from october to late may and full time starting in july, in an organization that fits into one of the five following categories (see below the list of the main organizations with which the ifg has partnerships):
    • Project owners and managers (ex. Rff, ratp, cofiroute)
    • Public organizations (ex. Datar, stip, div, cndp)
    • Local and intercommunal authorities
    • Research and consulting firms, architects or landscapists
    • Associations

Skills acquired through the program

The courses, the “practical study” in february and the internship allow students to acquire:

  • Knowledge of development projects and geopolitical analysis
  • A series of techniques and skills:
    • Writing summaries
    • Giving ten-minute oral presentations
    • Creating diagrams and stakeholder profiles
    • Analyzing the press and preparing press reviews
    • Digital cartography (adobe illustrator)
    • Participating in public meetings (role play)
    • Studying territorial contexts
    • Responding to bids
    • Elaborating specifications for studies or development projects
    • Organizing consultations

Partnerships for internships or work study programs in recent years

Project owners and managers: Cofiroute, GRT Gaz, Réseau de Transport d’Electricité (RTE), SNCF Réseau, EDF, RATP, Grand Port Maritime du Havre, Syndicat des Transports d’Ile-de-France (STIF).

Public organizations: DATAR, Centre d’analyse stratégique, Délégation interministérielle à la Ville (DIV), Commission Nationale du Débat Public, Conservatoire du littoral, Office National des Forêts, Institut d’Aménagement Ile-de-France, Conseil National des Villes, Agence de Développement du Val-de-Marne, Agence d’urbanisme et de développement de Seine-Aval, Agence d’Aménagement des Alpes Maritimes, Parc naturel régional de la Haute-Vallée de Chevreuse, Etablissement public d’aménagement, Orly-Rungis-Seine-Amont (ORSA), Agence de l’eau Adour-Garonne, Office public d’habitat 93, PACT du Pays basque, AFITF, EPA Paris-Saclay, Agence nationale de rénovation urbaine, Rectorat de Versailles, Cités Unies, Unesco, Conseil général de l’Environnement et du Développement Durable (CGEDD).

Local and intercommunal authorities: the regions of Ile-de-France, Alsace, and Basse-Normandie; he departmental councils of Seine-et-Marne, Seine-Saint-Denis and Val-d’Oise; the intercommunal agglomerations of the Plaine Commune, La Rochelle, Ste-Baume-Mont-Aurélien, Tours, Cergy-Pontoise, and the Val-d’Essonne; the cities of Saint-Denis, Paris, Montreuil, Gennevilliers, Nanterre, Aubervilliers, Rennes, Caen, Toulouse, Lyon, Vénissieux, Vence, Bagneux, L’Ile-St-Denis, Saint-Michel/Orge, Sevran, Mantes-la-Jolie, and Thorigny/Marne.

Research and consulting firms, architects or landscapists: C&S Conseil, Parimage, Habitat-Etudes-Recherches, RCT, Les Arpenteurs, Campana Eleb Conseil, Initiative-Cités et Développement, Etat d’Esprit, Roland Castro, Erélia (wind turbine installation), Atema Conseil, Amnyos Consultants, INGEROP, Missions publiques, Ville Habitat.

Associations: TDIE (Transport, Développement, Intermodalité, Environnement), Décider Ensemble, Cités Unies, Coordination Toxicomanies 18ème, Les Ecomaires, Bio-Cluster Cancer Campus.

See the list of completed internships [fr]

Presentation of the master’s program [fr]

Course descriptions for the second-year master’s program in local geopolitics and territorial governance [fr]

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