Graduate programs are a turning point in structuring master's-doctorate curriculum
"The new structuring meets three major challenges: reinforce the visibility and competitiveness of the teaching & research offer , make it possible to attract the talents that the best universities in the world compete for and, by doing so, complete the integration of the components within the University." Hubert Bost, Vice President for research and graduate education, presents PSL's new graduate program offer, available next year.
PSL: PSL's Graduate programs gradually gain ground among the offers available in the French Higher Ed. Could you please define the curriculum?
Hubert Bost: Graduate programs based on the international graduate school model: educational programs where a Master's degree flows into a PhD. Such a format is an innovation, or even a turning point in structuring master's-doctorate curriculum; however, it is not a new type of degree. Beginning at the Master’s level, students will receive an education closely based on research practices and methodologies. This new stratgy has been developed in coherence with the project carried by Université PSL since its creation, building on a long tradition of teaching linking master's and doctoral degrees that has proved its worth within the component schools.
PSL: Université PSL has just responded to the ANR's "SFRI" call for proposals. In what spirit was this new offer of PSL graduate programs designed and submitted?
The integration of our existing master's offer into the graduate programs will enable us to attract students from all over the world.
H.B.: First, we should mention the background. With the implementation of its new bylaws on January 1, 2020, PSL has become a full-fledged university, in line with international standards. It is implementing a common strategy based on a dual budgetary and HR process. This institutional consolidation is now being carried out as part of a process of integration of its entire range of training courses at the Master (M) and Doctorate (D) levels. Before the new status were promulgated, the complete training curriculum and the awarding of the degrees have both been transferred to the University level, and the map of Master’s programs has been completely redesigned. The new structuring meets three major challenges: reinforce the visibility and competitiveness of the teaching & research offer , make it possible to attract the talents that the best universities in the world compete for and, by doing so, complete the integration of the components within the University. It is in this spirit that we have responded to the call for proposals « Structuration de la Formation par la Recherche dans les Initiatives d’Excellence » (SFRI). We selected 18 fields of research in the humanities and social sciences, engineering science, hard sciences, organizational science, the arts, an so on, combining activities of research and education across all 14 components of PSL, associate membrers and its partner institutions; the activities were structured into 18 academic graduate programs.
PSL: In practice, what will the graduated programs change?
Each Graduate program organizes the training curriculum (Master’s and doctoral courses) in a given thematic or disciplinary field, focuses on the scientific strengths of the field and guarantees the link between training and research. The new offer as a whole consolidates and makes more visible the teaching and research strengths of all the components. This fully integrated training will strengthen the international attractiveness of the Master's courses. Whether or not the very high-level teaching provided by the PSL components meet the expectations of the SFRI call for proposals, however the creation of graduate program was already enacted by PSL governing bodies and it will be implemented anyway. Except FrontCog and Translitterae, two projects that have already been awarded EUR as early as 2018 and have already started their activity, all the graduated programmes will start next September.
Interdisciplinarity is a strong demand from students and companies alike, as well as a major feature of contemporary science.
This impulse will facilitate student movement within PSL, offering all students an unparalleled variety of approaches and practices.
Besides, interdisciplinarity is a strong demand from students and companies alike, as well as a major feature of contemporary science. Graduate programs meet these expectations by offering the possibility of validating a minor in another discipline, of following interdisciplinary courses created jointly by several GrPs or complementary university-wide courses: some will help students to prepare their future careers (“Career development” and “Scientific culture”), others will promote themes that are strategic at PSL (Data Science (“DATA”) and “Innovation & Entrepreneurship” to strengthen the link between fundamental research and technological innovation).
PSL: Concretely, how will students be trained by and for research?
From the Master's degree onwards, each student is attached to a GrP, which relies on one or several research units, and carries out his or her research there. The extension of the system of “Professeurs attachés” and the introduction of Visiting Fellows strengthen our ability to provide a teaching that is as close as possible to the ongoing research, so that, even if they don't go on to a PhD, they will have benefited from cutting-edge science in their chosen field of study.