Academic Approach

AUP’s founding purpose is to educate those seeking to live as part of a global community, whose ideals cross borders and whose focus is on international cooperation. Our academic approach reflects this goal, fostering key skills such as cultural translation, adaptability and the appreciation of multiple perspectives, that allow graduates to thrive no matter where they choose to work and live. We equip students who have already identified a deep-seated desire to transcend the perspectives of the places where they grew up with the ability to navigate the complexities of international life and work. 

Academic approach in the classroom

Subject Mastery

We believe that true subject mastery is demonstrated not strictly in how much someone has memorized about a particular topic, but in their ability to mobilize their expertise ethically and efficiently in the face of uncertainty – the single most consistent aspect of work in international contexts. 

It is here in international contexts that some of the world’s most complex business, political and social challenges arise. A seemingly simple decision for one market or country may create unforeseen repercussions at a global or societal scale that our master’s students are trained to manage. Our graduates leave AUP as experts, ready to face the unknown and to engage, diplomatically and ethically, with unforeseen challenges.

Accepting to tackle real-world challenges of course means one must have vast knowledge of their subject matter, its history and the alternative viewpoints within it – but just as importantly, one must also be equipped to recognize and respect the limitations of their own knowledge. It is impossible in today’s world to know everything there is to know about a topic. For us, mastery is achieved through a hybrid of knowledge (including theory) and skill acquisition (applicable in practice). This means learning to be fast on one’s feet in subject discourse, to recognize and diplomatically navigate biases, to identify and acknowledge value in conflicting viewpoints, and to find reasonable compromises in order to drive the discourse of one’s field forward in a responsible and internationally conscientious manner.

Ruby Veridiano G'15

"Being in a fashion capital gave me access to different spaces beyond the classroom, such as Fashion Week and fashion designers’ ateliers. This contributed to my learning, and allowed me to soak up the fashion industry’s past and present. It was the experience of a lifetime."


Rieke Weel G'12

"Paris gradually opened its doors to me, and I was able to meet and learn from professionals in a variety of international organizations. Now, I work as a Development Communication Specialist for the International Fertilizer Development Centre (IFDC) in Rwanda."


Dialectical Thinking

AUP’s graduate programs emphasize a dialectical approach to learning that reinforces the importance of considering multiple perspectives and viewpoints in order to arrive at a more nuanced and comprehensive understanding of a topic or issue. This approach recognizes that truth is often complex and multifaceted, and that learning is an ongoing, dynamic process. It engages students in a process of questioning, examining and synthesizing different ideas, and is characterized by dialogue and debate, critical thinking and reflection. Through this approach to learning, students develop an open-minded and flexible approach to analysis in their careers, which ultimately leads to deeper insights, greater creativity, and a profound awareness of how egocentrism and sociocentrism can influence or even skew the evaluation of ideas.

While a capacity for dialectical thinking is helpful for any career, for those who operate at an international level, it is a foundational prerequisite for everything from cross-cultural collaboration to social navigation. Cultivating this mindset is thus one of the most important ways that we prepare our students to thrive in their global careers.

Learn more about how the classroom environment at AUP fosters students' dialectical thinking abilities.


The entire AUP experience is shaped by the unique landscape of Paris. Beyond being a hub of international and cultural activity, the atmosphere of the city is cerebral and contemplative, which shapes the interactions and dynamics of studying on AUP’s hybrid Franco-American campus – itself, integrated seamlessly into the fabric of the city. Here, the best qualities of innovative American spirit and business mindset co-mingle with the reflective, intellectual and humane values intrinsic to France. This combination creates the ideal environment for subject mastery, dialectical inquiry and transformative personal development.

Learn more about Paris as a classroom.

Students have the freedom to explore the city as their classroom.

Museums and study trips are integrated into many courses.

Learn from your coursework and the world around you.

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Learn more about our graduate programs that prepare students to thrive in intensely international professional environments.