The Faculty of Political Science in Romania – Its Beginnings and Political Science Students
The coat of arms of the University of Bucharest

Europe enjoys a wide range of students from different regions who are representing the future of all countries, of all of us. European universities are the places where they are formed as future European citizens, and the faculty of Political Science at the University of Bucharest is a brilliant example of how education can help build a connection between us, the young European students, where we can share our experiences and ideas with others, and work together to build a common future and a common identity. In this article, Adriana Giurca discusses the beginnings of the Faculty of Political Science at the University of Bucharest and the far reaching impact this institution has had on its students through its emphasis on a European and multicultural education. By opening up a variety of career paths for its graduates, the faculty has helped strengthen democratic institutions in Romania, and has enabled Romanian graduates promote their ideas and values in European and international institutions.

The University of Bucharest is one of the oldest and most prestigious institutions of higher education in Romania. Within the University of Bucharest, the Faculty of Political Science and its affiliated Institute of Political Research are a pole of excellence in the study of politics and international affairs. If it now has over 1,000 students and 44 teachers who can conduct courses in Romanian, English and French, at its beginning in 1991, when it was created, the Faculty of Political Sciences had only a teaching language, French. In 1994/1995 the Romanian education department was born, and two years later, the political science department in English. By studying political science, all interested people are able to understand the world they live in, its complexity and diversity. In addition, political science courses provide an insight into social and political systems, public policy and political processes for organisations, attitudes and political behavior. Those who want to study at graduate level will enjoy the intellectual consolidation that allows citizens to become critical thanks to the acquired knowledge in various fields: political sociology, political economy, political communication and political history.

What is more the Faculty of Political Science places a great deal of emphasis on study and research, which is organised as follows: political theory, national politics, comparative politics and international relations. In addition, the closing or transfer of several research organisations in the early 1990s has built another aspect that gives uniqueness to the Faculty of Political Science: this is one of the only faculties in Romania that can provide continuous learning programmes in several languages: Romanian, English and French. In addition, another element of innovation is the path that the faculty offers to a young student: bachelor, master and doctorate classes. This continuity is a privilege that makes the Faculty of Political Sciences the first of its kind in Romania, which takes young people on a full path to political science.

The Faculty of Political Sciences offers its students career guidance, which is rather rare for faculties in Romania. In the first years of Romania’s transition from communism to democracy, the most important starting points for the new regime as a modern society were private property, education and information[1]. This approach helps students wishing to export academic results and those who want to know the career opportunities they might have once they graduated[2]. Besides the advantages mentioned above, we can say that the Faculty of Political Sciences stands out among other universities through the recognition of all study programs that have been declared and certified nationally and internationally through the participation in many experiences of students, such as ERASMUS. Thus, we can say that students are nationally recognised for the quality of learning and knowledge accumulation abroad, in countries where they choose to take a course of a semester or two. The Education Act of the early 1990s was later adopted and the status of teachers was still difficult[3]. Even though we cannot speak of a faculty which deals strictly with political science today, the Faculty of Political Science is the engine of development that has formed around the faculty and enjoys many projects implemented or currently underway. Among them, it is worth noting the research centre Fundamenta Politica, the programme ProRISE, and also the publications of the Faculty of Political Science: Bucharest University Annals, and Studia Politica, the Romanian Political Science Review.

The ability to provide students with international work experience to accompany  their transition from higher education to employment has become essential to universities. After the communist period, we see that the number of students has increased and the changes helped the reform of the Romanian education system[4]. Probably because the regime has changed, the new information and opportunities that each faculty has offered have made possible the will of the youth to participate in a higher education system and improve their knowledge. A particular feature offered by the Faculty of Political Science to its students is the ability to study in three languages at graduate level. We can say that it is a concept that has its roots in the history of political science in the development of Western Europe and North America [5]. Thus, the study in a foreign language can be considered an asset to find a job in the Romanian labor market and the one of Europe. Thanks to the fact that they can study in a foreign language, students can then choose to follow masters or doctoral degrees in universities in Europe and across the world.

In terms of employment opportunities, there are several stop destinations for graduates of the faculty: the European institutions, diplomacy, civil service, the media, political parties, NGOs, the private sector and research. Also, the faculty allows those who are interested to participate in events organised by the French Space, in collaboration with the Association of Francophone Universities (AUF - Association des Universités Francophones)[6]. In the space devoted to the project, a number of events were organized such as conferences, debates for the Francophone area and political science. In addition to these opportunities, students have the chance to access institutional practice, providing the necessary knowledge of the functioning of key political institutions in Romania. Involving young people in politics can help society to evolve, to meet their needs first, but it can also help the implementation through the voices of those who are involved. There are cases in which young people choose to participate in politics because of the fact that everything is done due to politics or because they saw other older youth who, because of their degree in science policies they have had an easier entry into the labor market[7]. Involving itself in projects that have a national or international scale shows their interest for the represented generation. 

We can therefore say that traditional organizations are replaced by youth participation through a structure with one voice that can be national or international, who wants to increase the participation of civil society of the young generation[8]. Another reason why young people today are interested in politics can be built around their interests. Knowing their needs and satisfy the wish, young people are often tempted to come together as groups to express their interests and fight for their fulfillment. Moreover, as in politics, they feel the need of a larger group, a large number of people who can join them for common ideals [9].

[1] Claudia Maria UDRESCU, Universitatea din Bucureşti. Modele şi traiectorii postcomuniste, ed. Universitãţii din Bucureşti, 2011, p. 55.

[2] Brochure Faculty of Political Science, University of Bucharest, 2010.

[3] Claudia Maria UDRESCU, Universitate şi politicã în România postcomunistã, ed. Universitãţii din Bucureşti, 2011, p. 67.

[4] Claudia Maria UDRESCU, Universitatea din Bucureşti. Modele şi traiectorii postcomuniste, ed. Universitãţii din Bucureşti, 2011, p. 54.

[5] Brochure Faculty of Political Science, University of Bucharest, 2010.

[6], accesed Nov 2014.

[7] Anne Muxel, Les étudiants de Sciences Po, ed. Presses de Sciences Po, 2004, Paris, p. 44.

[8] Chantal de LINARES, Les jeunes face au politique, AGORA Debats/Jeunesses, dossier no. 53, ed. L’Harmattan, Paris, 2009, p. 69.

[9] Raymond HUDON, Bernard FOURNIER, Jeunesses et politique, ed. L’Harmattan, Paris, 1994, p. 47.