"To be bred in a place of estimation; to see nothing low and sordid from one´s infancy; to be taught to respect one´s self; to be habituated to the censorial inspection of the public eye; (...) to have leisure to read, to reflect, to converse; (...) to be taught to despise danger in the pursuit of honour and duty; (...) to possess the virtues of diligence, order, constancy, and regularity, and to have cultivated an habitual regard to commutative justice: these are the circumstances of men that form what I should call a natural [as opposed to feudal] aristocracy."
Edmund Burke, 1791
The Catholic University of Portugal’s Institute for Political Studies Undergraduate Degrees in Political Science and International Relations seek to endow students with a solid scientific, theoretical and practical background, enabling them to launch their own companies, for example. However, the programs also clearly display a humanistic vocation, seeking to train competent professionals and specialists and, above all else, free and responsible citizens: "gentlemen" and "gentlewomen" as it might alternatively be expressed. This project is founded on the conception of social and political studies playing an essential role in university education, itself understood as education for excellence.
One crucial facet to the degree programs derives from the participation of top-ranking guest international professors. Political Science and International Relations students thus gain access to some of the best specialist professors from other universities around the world. Students, especially final-year students, attend the program of speeches and intensive seminars given by a group of guest professors from international universities (such as Oxford, Harvard, Chicago, Stanford, London School of Economics, Georgetown, Boston College, Michigan State, among others) with the program reviewed and renewed annually. From the outset, this approach is designed to integrate the Political Science and International Relations undergraduate degree programs into the international community and the critical dialogue ongoing within its scope.
Not only are students at the Catholic University of Portugal able to learn about the developments in the social sciences ongoing internationally but they may also benefit from a special student exchange program involving not only continental European universities but in the case of the Political Science and International Relations undergraduate programs also providing direct access to some of the best American and British universities.
Students turning in the best academic results are encouraged to undertake post-graduate studies on Master’s and Doctoral Degree programs, whether at the IEP or at leading peer institutions internationally as well as contributing towards the applied research projects taking place at the IEP.