Dual BA Seminars

More than just studying in two places…

The Dual BA seminars are a pivotal and defining component of the Dual BA degree, designed to give you an edge to understanding knowledge acquisition, dissemination, and engaging in community and policy-based field work. Building on Sciences Po’s long tradition of educating for political leadership, the Dual BA seminars prepare you for professional work as leaders in public fields – community, regional, and national areas for change. A signature of the UBC Faculty of Arts, the seminars give you a chance to cultivate an informed, reflexive perspective on your international experience, inviting you into UBC’s research culture. The seminars are a mandatory requirement in the Dual BA program.

When do the seminars take place?

There are a total of four seminars throughout the UBC portion of your dual degree:

  • July (online)-August (in-person) before Year 3: ASTU 160 & ASTU 260 (6 credits total)
  • Year 3: ASTU 360 (3 credits)
  • Year 4: ASTU 460 (3 credits)

The first set of summer seminars take place in the summer before Year 3, in July and August. You are expected to arrive in Vancouver in time for the start of the summer seminars in July. The first two courses in the seminar series are designed to bring your dual degree cohort from across the three Sciences Po campuses together for the first time in a formal academic setting, and give you time to adjust to life in Canada and at UBC.

At the start of Year 2 at Sciences Po, you will receive more information about dates and course content for ASTU 160 and 260, including when you are expecting to arrive in Vancouver. The Dual Degree program manager at UBC will help arrange on-campus housing prior to the start of the seminars to help with your transition to Vancouver and the UBC campus. You will also attend an orientation to help you get settled on the campus.

What will I learn in the seminars?

ASTU 160 takes place in July and August before Year 3.

ASTU 160 is the grounding course in the first pair of summer seminars. The course prepares students to take an informed, responsible role in discussion of the internationalisation of research and of advanced education. Students will present preliminary research findings, and use genre-appropriate expressions in speech, writing, and other media to represent the gist of research publications in the social sciences. The course will prepare students to take an informed view on the making and dissemination of knowledge, taking into account political and cultural contingencies. Students will develop a research proposal, take a position on published research, and design a research question while responding to fellow scholars' projects and getting feedback on their own work.

ASTU 260 takes place in July and August before Year 3.

Building on ASTU 160, students in ASTU 260 will review research on knowledge production, translation, and mobilization, with a particular focus on the social sciences and the humanities. The course will also explore the important role media play in disseminating knowledge. Are traditional forms of media, such as scholarly journals, changing in response to the Open Access movement (as explored by Willinsky)? Do newer forms of media – such as academic blogs and Ted Talks (studied by Shea) – promise the democratization of knowledge? And if we have an increasing number of tools to access information, then does this mean that all knowledge should be public (a question posed by Christen)? The course applies theoretical understandings to real-world examples exploring how theory illuminates practice and how practice challenges current scholarly understandings.What are the obstacles to and opportunities for disseminating research knowledge effectively to non-specialist audiences? How can interactional spaces be fostered that motivate individuals and institutions to engage with research in meaningful ways?

ASTU 360 takes place during Year 3.

Designed to give Dual BA students practical and policy-focused fieldwork experience, ASTU 360 goes far beyond 'service,' with its components of helping, volunteering, and towards responsible partnership. Policies studied each year rotate between history, geography, sociology, political science, and economics.

There is a perceived disconnect between community level actors and those charged with making decisions at higher levels of government. This disconnect seems to grow as one moves further away from the community, with community organizations feeling burdened by the bureaucratic mandates passed down to them, that often constrain their ability to meet their goals. Policy makers, on the other hand, work to develop policies that satisfy a wide variety of stakeholders, while also balancing public expectations.  This course will introduce students to the practices researchers can employ to bridge this divide, explore the strengths and limitations of this approach, and develop student’s ability to conduct community based research. This course will allow students to focus their attention on a particular policy regime, explore its consequences, and work with community organizations to develop alternative policy recommendations. This course requires students to practice the skills they have developed over the course of their education to read and process information efficiently, and apply what they are learning in the classroom to their field site.

ASTU 460 takes place during Year 4.

More information to follow.


Common Questions about the Seminars

The first two courses in the seminar series - ASTU 160 and ASTU 260 - take place over the summer prior to third year, with asynchronous (self-directed) components in July and in-person arrival expected for August 1.

The Dual Degree program manager at UBC will help arrange on-campus housing prior to the start of ASTU 160 and 260 to help with your transition to Vancouver and the UBC campus.  You will also attend an orientation to help you get settled on the campus.

With the summer seminars, you will take an additional 12-credits of UBC coursework in addition to 60 credits required for your chosen major in Years 3 and 4. This means you complete a total of 72 credits during your time at UBC.

Yes. The seminars are a requirement of the program, and are designed specifically to help students accomplish their academic, personal, and professional goals as leaders in public fields. The seminars are a requirement for graduation and you cannot graduate from either Sciences Po or UBC without successful completion of the seminars.


How does this impact my studies financially?

You should plan early and carefully for the additional costs associated with the Dual BA seminars. Tuition for the Dual BA summer seminars are assessed as per standard UBC undergraduate tuition. In addition to tuition fees, you should also consider:

  • Costs associated with traveling to Vancouver
  • Housing costs in Vancouver for arrival in August before Year 3
  • Other living and entertainment costs

More information can be found on the Housing and How Does Tuition Work? pages.