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School of Foreign Service

Intercultural Center  

Carol Lancaster Dean
James Reardon-Anderson Senior Associate Dean
Elizabeth Arsenault Assistant Dean
Kendra Billingslea Assistant Dean
Maura Gregory Kasper Associate Dean
Mitch Kaneda Associate Dean, Director of the Undergraduate Program
Mini Murphy Associate Dean
Anthony Pirrotti Assistant Dean
Emily Zenick Associate Dean
In the School of Foreign Service in Qatar
Gerd Nonneman Dean
Daniel C. Stoll Associate Dean of Academic Affairs
Kai-Henrik Barth Assistant Dean
Heather Kerst Assistant Dean
James B. MacGregor Assistant Dean
Anne Nebel Assistant Dean, Director of the Office of Academic Services
Christine Schiwietz Assistant Dean


Degree Requirements
Core Curriculum
Foreign Language Proficiency
Major Fields of Study
Certificate Programs


The School of Foreign Service was founded in 1919 as a direct response to the involvement of the United States in the First World War. “Having entered upon the stage of world politics and world commerce, we assume worldwide obligations. Our viewpoint can never be the same again,” wrote the Rev. Edmund A. Walsh, S.J., the School’s first Dean. Five years before the diplomatic corps of the United States was reorganized and named the Foreign Service, Georgetown created a program dedicated to educating students on global issues and preparing them for lives of service in the international arena. This mission reflected both the University’s Jesuit heritage, with its emphasis on intercultural understanding, and its origins as an institution of the American Enlightenment, dedicated to the rights of man and the education of citizens.

Today the undergraduate program of the School of Foreign Service offers about 1,400 students a liberal arts education that stresses multidisciplinary studies in a global context. Students devote much of the first two years to a Core Curriculum that provides the essentials of a liberal education and a foundation for further intellectual development. During sophomore year, students choose from one of seven majors focused on global issues. Although the majors are rooted in particular disciplines, each incorporates intellectual perspectives from several fields. For example, the program in Science, Technology, and International Affairs (the only multi and interdisciplinary science studies major at Georgetown) combines course work in the biological and physical sciences, geography, bioethics and other areas of the philosophy and history of science, government, economics, and policy studies. This dual emphasis on international scope and multidisciplinary approaches distinguishes the curriculum of the School of Foreign Service from that of other liberal arts programs, including that of Georgetown College.

In the summer of 2005 the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar was established by agreement between Georgetown University and Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development. With this agreement, Georgetown joined four other distinguished American universities on the campus of Education City in Doha, and the School of Foreign Service in Qatar began with the guiding principle to maintain the standards and quality of its academic program in all its dimensions. Taught by faculty recruited both from the Georgetown Main Campus and from around the world, undergraduate students in Qatar pursue the same curriculum as students in Washington. They also have access to the full range of study abroad programs available to all Georgetown students and have engaged in service learning and study opportunities in places like India, Rwanda, Tanzania, Cambodia and China.

Graduates of the School of Foreign Service are a diverse group who choose careers in many different areas. While the largest group of graduates works in the private sector, with law and business providing a range of opportunities, the traditions of public service and scholarship both remain strong. Alumni can be found in the areas of diplomacy, international organizations, and humanitarian work, as well as in scholarly careers as members of university faculties or research organizations. In all, about two-thirds of the School’s alumni go on to postgraduate degree programs in a variety of fields.


All candidates for the Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service (BSFS) Degree must complete the following requirements:

  1. Students must successfully complete a minimum of 40 courses (each with at least 3 credits) and 120 credits. Students who complete one year of intensive language course work are eligible for one free elective course waiver; students who complete two years of intensive language course work are eligible for two free elective course waivers. No more than two free elective course waivers are granted. Students with intensive language waivers are eligible to graduate with a minimum 38 or 39 courses.
  2. Students must fulfill the requirements of the Core Curriculum and a major.
  3. Students who transfer must complete at least half of the degree program (20 courses, 60 credits) in residence. Students must complete one half of the courses required in the major in residence. The full-time residency requirement, as outlined in the Matriculation section of Academic Regulations, must be fulfilled as a BSFS student.
  4. Students must satisfactorily complete the foreign language proficiency requirement as outlined herein.
  5. Students must attain a final cumulative grade point average of 2.0 or better.


The curriculum is governed by the BSFS Curriculum Committee, and is delivered and administered by the faculty and the BSFS Curricular deans. Each major is governed by its respective field committee.

The curriculum consists of the Core Curriculum, Foreign Language Proficiency, major fields of study, and optional certificate programs.


The BSFS Core Curriculum (“the Core”) is distinct from a general education “distribution” requirement in that (1) it integrates thematic material across courses and (2) it combines theory and practice in international affairs while instilling values of citizenship and service, in direct alignment with the mission of the School.

To fully understand complex global problems, BSFS students need foundational knowledge in multiple disciplines. For example, international and regional conflicts cannot be explained by political science alone; economic, historical, religious, and cultural dimensions, among others, are intertwined inextricably. The Core, therefore, consists of disciplines and courses deemed to be most relevant for providing foundational knowledge and problem-solving skills while maintaining the ecumenical nature of a liberal arts education.

The Core consists of the following 17 courses (50 credits).

  • 1 Freshman Proseminar
    • INAF-100 Freshman Proseminar
  • 2 Humanities and Writing courses
    • HUMW-011 Critical Reading & Writing
    • 2nd Humanities & Writing course (includes foreign language literature)
  • 2 Theology courses
    • THEO-001 Problem of God or THEO-011 Biblical Literature
    • 2nd THEO course
  • 2 Philosophy courses
    • PHIL-099 Political & Social Thought
    • 2nd PHIL course
  • 2 Government courses
    • GOVT-006 International Relations
    • GOVT-121 Comparative Political Systems
  • 3 History courses
    • HIST-007 or 008 Introductory History
    • Non-Western Regional History I
    • Non-Western Regional History II
  • 4 Economics courses
    • ECON-001 Microeconomic Principles
    • ECON-002 Macroeconomic Principles
    • ECON-243 International Trade
    • ECON-244 International Finance
  • 1 Political and Physical Geography course
    • INAF-008 Map of the Modern World

The INAF-100 Freshman Proseminar is limited in size to 12–15 students per section, with the following goals:

  • to develop critical approaches to the study of global issues
  • to gain academic reading, writing, and discussion skills
  • to introduce students to the process and method of research
  • to promote intensive interaction and camaraderie among students and professors

Students acquire foundational knowledge in international politics through GOVT-006 International Relations and GOVT-121 Comparative Political Systems.

Knowledge from ECON-243 International Trade and ECON-244 International Finance is vital in international affairs. These and their foundational courses, ECON-001 Microeconomic Principles and ECON-002 Macroeconomic Principles, expose every SFS student to quantitative methods in the social science.

To fulfill the history requirement, students study both western and non-western history distributed over three courses: one course that covers the west (HIST-007 Introductory Early History or HIST-008 Introductory Late History) and two courses that cover the non-west (from a list of 100-level and 200-level HIST courses).

The University requires two philosophy, two theology, and two humanities & writing courses. The Core adapts these requirements to explore questions about humanities, values, and ethics through the framework of international affairs. BSFS students must fulfill the first philosophy requirement through an SFS-specific political philosophy course, PHIL-099 Political & Social Thought, and they may fulfill the second humanities & writing requirement through a foreign literature course. There is also a specially designed course for non-native English speaker students, ENFL-114 Critical Writing for International Affairs, which fulfills the first humanities & writing requirement.

To acquire basic knowledge of the political and physical geography of the world, students must complete a 1-credit requirement, INAF-008 Map of the Modern World.

Students complete most of the Core courses during their freshman and sophomore years. Students have the flexibility to start their major studies early, to take extra foreign language credits, or to take free electives by having advanced credits, taking summer courses, or deferring some of the Core courses until junior and senior years.

The Core requirements build on one another and form the foundation for all of the majors. INAF-100 Freshman Proseminar and PHIL-099 Political & Social Thought introduce students to academic reading, writing, and discussion, through intense assignments, small group interactions, and close instructor attention.

Knowledge builds across courses and disciplines. For example, game theory is introduced in ECON-001 Microeconomic Principles. This theory is then applied as an explanation of nuclear proliferation in GOVT-006 International Relations. The intergovernmental game is developed further to understand trade treaty negotiations in ECON-243 International Trade. Theories of international trade and international relations explain some of the regional interactions that have shaped history and are covered in the Regional History courses.

The Core Curriculum lays the academic foundation for entry into one of seven interdisciplinary majors that will be outlined below. Unlike traditional discipline-based majors, SFS majors have two characteristics:

  1. the majors are built upon the Core requirements (i.e. they presume mastery of subjects covered by the Core requirement courses); and
  2. the majors are interdisciplinary (i.e. they allow students the opportunity to draw upon courses from departments across the University).

The two characteristics highlighted above are apparent within each of the majors. Taking one of the majors, International Political Economy, as an example, we can see that seven of the Core requirements (ECON-001 Microeconomic Principles, ECON-002 Macroeconomic Principles, ECON-243 International Trade, ECON-244 International Finance, GOVT-006 International Relations, GOVT-121 Comparative Political Systems, and PHIL-099 Political & Social Thought) serve as foundational courses for the major, but none of these courses count toward the major itself. Because basic competencies have already been established through the Core, the major courses can be at the specialized level and can span across academic disciplines without compromising disciplinary expertise.

Thus within each of the BSFS majors, students can take full advantage of course offerings and faculty expertise across several departments, utilizing the full range of disciplinary theories and methods, and integrating them to attain a complex understanding of the problems and challenges faced by the global community. This combination of advanced coursework and interdisciplinary approach prepares students to be effective problem-solvers in a wide range of career fields.


The School of Foreign Service modern language requirement forms part of Georgetown University’s mission to prepare students to be reflective, engaged and informed global citizens. The goal is to prepare students for professional discussions in a modern language other than English that occur in public, private and non-profit sectors of international affairs. Thorough language study builds both linguistic competency and develops cultural literacy—a goal of the SFS curriculum. To satisfy this proficiency requirement, a student must demonstrate the ability to exchange ideas in conversation on contemporary issues involving international affairs in a modern language other than English. Students who complete this requirement early in their matriculation are strongly encouraged to continue to study, practice, and use the language to maintain and enhance competency.

All undergraduate students in the School of Foreign Service are expected to enroll in a modern language class each semester, for a letter grade, until they have met the proficiency requirement. Students cannot take a language course pass/fail. Language classes occupy elective slots in the academic schedule.

There are four ways a student can fulfill the language requirement. These options are listed below.

Option 1

A student who has graduated from a secondary school in which the language of instruction was a modern language other than English may have already fulfilled the language proficiency requirement. Students must provide relevant documentation to their dean during their first semester at Georgetown. At the dean’s discretion, students may still be required to take a language placement test or language proficiency exam during the first semester to verify whether further coursework is needed to obtain language proficiency.

Option 2

A student may take the proficiency exam offered by the language departments at Georgetown. A student may only request this examination when he/she has taken the appropriate preparatory coursework determined by the relevant language department. Students must register for the language examination at the office of the appropriate language department. A final examination schedule is posted on the departmental bulletin boards and students are expected to present themselves for the examination at the appointed time and location.

The proficiency exam is separate from the final course exam and is evaluated on a pass or fail basis. Students who pass the proficiency exam are able to sustain a discussion dealing with current events and demonstrate familiarity with relevant historical, cultural, political, and economic information. Students are also able to satisfy routine social needs and to discuss themselves, their studies, and their plans for the future.

A “pass” on the proficiency exam is comparable to achieving, depending on the language, an Intermediate high to Advanced mid on the American Council for the Teaching of Foreign Languages Proficiency Guidelines (ACTFL) rating, or a B1/low B2 in the Common European Framework of Reference.

Students should check with individual departments for language specific examination formats and criteria. A two-member board conducts the exam. Most examinations entail: a) a reading comprehension component in which the student is given time alone to read an article on a topic in international affairs; b) a 20 minute oral conversation in which the student is asked to summarize the article, to answer questions relating to it, and to respond to questions on the culture and civilization of the language area.

Students who fail the exam should consult with a member of the appropriate language department about the additional coursework necessary to prepare for reexamination. Seniors who do not pass the examination in April may be able to retake the exam in May.

The first examination, scheduled within the departmental deadline, will be administered without charge. Tardiness in scheduling an examination or rescheduling may result in a charge of $25.00.

Option 3

A student may take the proficiency exam on-site at the end of a Georgetown-Approved, summer intensive language program that offers the exam. A list of relevant programs is available online on the BSFS website.

Option 4

A student who successfully completes a one semester Georgetown-approved direct matriculation study abroad program meets the language proficiency requirement. Successful completion means that a student has taken a full-time course load and passed each course as defined by the Office of International Programs’ Academic Policy. Direct matriculation means that a student was directly enrolled in courses offered by a partner university on a Georgetown-approved program. These courses were conducted in a language other than English and were the same courses offered to degree candidates at that university. A list of approved programs is available online on the BSFS website. Only programs on this list are eligible to fulfill the language proficiency requirement.

Additional Language Policies

All students are expected to complete the language proficiency requirement prior to study abroad if they are nominated to an English language site or to another site in a language other than the one the student is pursuing to fulfill the requirement.

Students who wish to be examined in a modern language for which no instruction is offered at Georgetown University should contact the SFS Dean’s Office for additional information.


The School of Foreign Service offers majors in seven fields, all of which have significant international and interdisciplinary elements. These are: Culture and Politics, International Economics, International History, International Political Economy, International Politics, Regional and Comparative Studies, and Science, Technology, and International Affairs. Please note that credits awarded for Advanced Placement classes taken in high school may not under any circumstances be counted towards a major in the School of Foreign Service.


The CULP major is designed to provide students with a complex understanding of the relationship between culture, knowledge, and power. It aims to provide students with theoretical frameworks and analytical skills that enhance cross-cultural tolerance, social justice, and ethical leadership, in order to make a difference in a world marked by power hierarchies and cultural conflicts.

Goals of the Major

Students learn to apply analytical tools from multiple fields as they practice critical reflection on self and society, and enhance their analytic sophistication through collaborative problem solving. The CULP major offers great individual flexibility. Students build a rigorous foundation for their studies through an in-depth gateway course that stresses fluency in a variety of theories, definitions, and genres of culture. Students then go on to assemble their own course sequence around individually chosen concentrations, in consultation with the dean. All students are expected to master the analytical methods and skills necessary to become thoughtful, rigorous readers and writers of scholarship on cultural power relations in the international arena.

CULP students are actively involved in publishing their own scholarship, linking up with such Georgetown programs as the Center for Justice and Peace and the Mortara Center for events and speakers; student groups such as the Critical Theory Society; and utilizing the rich cultural and social resources of Washington, DC.

Objectives of the Major

The contemporary world is characterized by extensive cultural contacts that enhance connections, but also pose new challenges to acting responsibly and sensitively to the unfamiliar. Cultural competence and diplomacy are central to the peaceful functioning of a global system marked by deep, historically grown inequalities. Preparing students to treat opposing viewpoints and experiences with respect, CULP fosters a sophisticated and informed understanding of cultural diversity and the politics of identity. To prepare students for unforeseen conflicts and opportunities, they will be educated to do the following:

  • Identify, compare, and synthesize the key concepts and scholarly research in cultural and social theory across multiple disciplines—including history, anthropology, sociology, geography, literature, music, performing arts, film and new media, visual studies—that address the connections between power, culture, and identity.
  • Explicate, evaluate, and critique cross-cultural political issues, dynamics, and events in clear, concise writing.
  • Recognize multiple perspectives and dimensions of cultural interactions, and apply critical frameworks to competing claims to rights and recognition.
  • Develop the substantive, analytical and ethical skills necessary to question stereotypical, polarizing, and essentialist views of difference, as a precondition for the peaceful resolution of conflicts in the domestic and international realm.
  • Understand and apply an expansive concept of culture that empowers ordinary people, organizations, and institutions as agents of change.

The requirements for the Culture and Politics majors may be summarized as follows:

  • Theorizing Culture and Politics (CULP-045)
  • Three courses from Field I–Humanities
  • Three courses from Field II–Social Sciences
  • Five courses approved for inclusion in the student’s thematic concentration
  • Beginning with the class of 2016, students in the CULP major may overlap only one course between the major and the certificate.

This major is available to students of the School of Foreign Service in Qatar. For more information, see

Honors in Culture and Politics

Selection of honors candidates is based on evaluations of proposals submitted during the spring semester of junior year.

In order to graduate with honors in Culture and Politics, a student must:

  • Earn a cumulative grade point average of 3.33 and a grade point average of 3.67 in the major by the date of graduation.
  • Successfully complete two semesters of tutorial work dedicated to preparation of the thesis.
  • Submit a senior thesis on an approved topic which is judged to be of honors quality by a faculty committee appointed for this purpose.

For more details, please see the website.


The International Economics major is grounded in the belief that economic analysis is essential to the understanding of modern world affairs. With decreasing costs of transporting goods and information, market forces, which guide the international flow of goods, assets, people, technology, and information, are becoming a dominant factor in the process of globalization as well as in international conflicts. For example, when markets link countries, domestic policies such as subsidies and environmental regulation in one country affect the welfare of other countries. The integrating force of the market is redefining boundaries beyond those of the traditional nation state.


Economics is a social science that studies the behavior of social systems, such as markets, corporations, unions, international institutions, legislatures, and even families—through the lens of a unified analytical framework. That framework is built on the premise that individuals have goals and pursue those goals, subject to the constraints of resources, technology, and institutional setting. Thus, the focus is on the way individuals make decisions, how those decisions add up, and interact with one another to produce the social systems we observe. Ultimately, economics offers insights into the study and design of policies to improve the performance of the system.

The applications of this approach to international issues are myriad, covering topics such as trade policy, international economic organizations, economic growth and development, international financial markets, financial crises, international migration, economic integration, international policy coordination, international political economy, transition to market economies, global environment and production standards, multinational-corporations, international business and banking, and regional economies.

Because students receive rigorous training in quantitative techniques and objective analysis, a major in International Economics is excellent preparation for careers and leadership positions in the private or the public sector. Our students have been highly successful in areas such as finance, consulting, law, management, media, international development, international organizations, research institutes, government, non-profit organizations, and academia.


The International Economics major develops in students the ability to conduct innovative, well-informed, rigorous, quantitative analysis of all aspects of the world economy. Whether it is used in the service of business strategy, public policy, scientific research, or any other endeavor, this ability is essential to understanding the economic forces at work in the world and making sound decisions in the face of them. All students are expected to master the theoretical and empirical tools necessary to conduct such analysis. The major provides students with in-depth knowledge and opportunities for application in three main arenas in international economics:

  • Subfield A: International Economic Theory and Policy. This concentration delves deeper into the traditional areas economics and applications to economic policy, which, in addition to international economics, includes game theory, industrial organization, labor economics, public economics, development economics, and macroeconomics.
  • Subfield B: International Commerce and Finance. The focus of this concentration is on practical applications of international economics in business and finance. The emphasis is on developing skills and institutional knowledge relevant to international commerce, investment, and financial markets.
  • Subfield C: Economic Growth, Transition and Development. The focus of this concentration is on international economics as it pertains developing countries. It places greater emphasis on understanding the challenges faced by different regions and on strategies for economic development.

Students deepen their knowledge in these areas through in-depth subfield courses. They expand their knowledge by taking supporting courses in a wide range of specialized topics within each area.


Economics is a social science that studies the behavior of social systems, such as markets, corporations, unions, international institutions, legislatures, and even families—through the lens of a unified analytical framework. The focus is on the way individuals make decisions and how those decisions add up, and interact with one another, to produce the social systems we observe. Ultimately, economics offers insights into the study and design of policies to improve the performance of the system. To understand and apply this approach, the student must learn the following:

  • The basic elements of microeconomic theory including consumer choice, the impact on resource allocation of different market structures, game theory, general equilibrium analysis, and asymmetric information.
  • The measurement of output and prices, along with theories of economic growth, business cycles, and fiscal and monetary policy.
  • The fundamentals of international trade and finance.
  • Elementary statistics, probability theory, statistical inference, electronic data acquisition, and computer applications.
  • The theory and applications of regression analysis, with emphasis on the main techniques for estimating economic relationships and testing economic hypotheses.
  • The application of economic theory and empirical analysis to a range of topics including labor, industrial organization, development, and the public sector.
  • The elements of original research and writing, from posing a question, to summarizing the literature, modeling, gathering data, establishing causality, and drawing conclusions.


Required Courses for all Subfields:

  • Calculus I or equivalent (Students considering graduate study in economics should take additional math courses.)
  • ECON-101/103 Intermediate Microeconomics
  • ECON-102/104 Intermediate Macroeconomics
  • ECON-121 Economic Statistics
  • ECON-122 Introduction to Econometrics
  • IECO-401 Senior Seminar or a 400-level ECON course

Additional Requirements for Subfield A:

  • 4 Applied category courses
  • 1 Supporting category course

Additional Requirements for Subfield B:

  • 1 Applied category course
  • 2 Subfield B category courses
  • 2 Supporting category courses

Additional Requirements for Subfield C:

  • 1 Applied category course
  • 2 Subfield C category courses
  • 2 Supporting category courses

This major is available to students of the School of Foreign Service in Qatar. For more information, see

Honors in International Economics

Students can earn Honors in the IECO Major by submitting a letter of intent during the junior year, writing a thesis based on original research within IECO-401 during the senior year, obtaining an honors quality mark on the thesis, earning a major GPA of at least 3.67, and earning a cumulative GPA of at least 3.33. In addition, students must successfully complete Honors Intermediate Microeconomics and Honors Intermediate Macroeconomics or earn grades of A or A- in the regular sections of Intermediate Microeconomics and Intermediate Macroeconomics.

More information about the major and its faculty can be found at:


Processes of historical change have become increasingly global during recent centuries. The major in International History combines a broad introduction to the analysis of historical changes that transcend national boundaries with the opportunity to explore a particular theme or question in the context of a self-designed major concentration.

The major goes beyond study of the formal relations between states—the traditional subject matter of diplomatic history—to address themes in social, cultural, and intellectual history. Historical scholarship today draws on ideas and data from subjects as varied as anthropology, philosophy, sociology, political science, religious studies, and literature, and this mix is reflected in the coursework for the International History major.

In addition, the major exposes students to a range of theoretical tools and methodological approaches to historical analysis and places special emphasis on the development of critical thinking, argumentation, and writing skills.

Goals of the Major

The International History major prepares students to understand how the world got to be the way it is today and the forces that govern its ongoing evolution. It is designed to introduce them to the breadth and depth of the human experience by a comparative study of past and contemporary societies and cultures, and to develop their ability to conduct research, analyze and assess evidence, and articulate sound conclusions both orally and in writing.

Our students thus acquire knowledge and skills that help them develop as informed, engaged, and thoughtful citizens and scholars. The study of international history enables our students to become more involved with the complex world in which they live, and to maintain throughout their lives a spirit of inquiry and curiosity that not only makes them more active in their communities, but also provides them with personal enrichment and enjoyment.

Students majoring in International History must complete the following requirements: HIST-305; four classes from the approved list of classes in International History (including at least one seminar or colloquium in addition to HIST-305); and five classes from a list of classes developed in consultation with the IHIS dean centering on a student's thematic topic of study. At least two classes in the major—and up to three classes can—come from outside the History Department. Students completing the SFS certificate program are permitted to overlap up to two classes between their major and certificate program.

Objectives of the Major

The study of history plays a distinctive and central role in a strong liberal arts curriculum. Knowledge of history is essential to understanding the emergence of the modern world and for grappling with continuing global interactions and conflicts. International History majors enjoy considerable freedom to focus their work on their own areas of interest and to design programs that complement the rest of their academic work.

The International History major will enable students to:

  • develop the ability to explain and contextualize change over time on the basis of evidence;
  • distinguish between types and genres of sources and between evidence-based conclusions and unfounded statements;
  • use sources to formulate questions and construct original arguments, and develop their ability to support their conclusions orally and in writing with evidence and appropriate documentation;
  • identify, evaluate, and compare historians’ different interpretations of the past, thus understanding the discipline of history as an ongoing conversation between sources, scholars, and students; and
  • identify and trace major themes, issues, and developments in the history of at least two world regions, and gain the ability to formulate comparative questions and arguments about different societies and cultures.

Honors in International History

To graduate with honors in International History, a student must:

  • earn a cumulative grade point average of 3.5 and a grade point average in the major of 3.67 by the date of graduation.
  • successfully complete the two-semester honors seminar offered in the Department of History, (by invitation only); and
  • Submit a senior thesis on an approved topic that is judged to be of honors quality by a committee of faculty members appointed for this purpose.

For more information, please see the website.



The International Political Economy (IPEC) major provides students with the multi-disciplinary methodologically rigorous tools needed to understand and analyze the interaction between political and economic forces around the world. These tools, as well as the substantive knowledge gained, serves students who pursue graduate work, careers in the private, public, or non-profit sector, or careers in international or non-governmental organizations. The IPEC major derives in part from the overlap between economics and political science. In addition, the IPEC major goes beyond these constituent disciplines and provides students with knowledge of a variety of areas including, but not limited to, the problems of globalization, the processes of economic development and reform, and the role of political power in economic policymaking.

Students acquire both analytical tools and substantive expertise through unique core courses as well as through foundational courses in international economics, international politics, economic theory, econometrics, and international political economy. Students also gain expertise in specific areas by further specializing in subsequent courses. All students, apply analytical tools to a particular topic of interest by writing a senior thesis.


Substantively, International Political Economy analyzes how international and domestic political factors interact with economic factors to determine outcomes in a wide variety of areas. The scope of inquiry ranges from mature capitalist countries to developing economies to nations making transitions to capitalist systems. In all cases, the focus is on issues that cannot be properly understood without insights gained from both international economics and international politics. This requires an understanding of the methods and principal issues animating the areas in which these fields intersect.

To do this, students learn:

  • Quantitative and qualitative methods to make causal inferences regarding political-economic phenomena
  • The ways in which states and state-institutions help or hinder economic prosperity
  • How collective action in the presence of conflicting private interests can shape legislation, elections, and policy
  • The nature of unilateral and multilateral factors shaping international trade, finance, and aid
  • Original research and writing that identifies a puzzle, derives testable hypotheses, selects appropriate methodologies, gathers empirical evidence, and offers conclusions


  • Calculus I or equivalent
  • ECON-101/103 Intermediate Microeconomics
  • ECON-121 Economic Statistics
  • ECON-122 Introduction to Econometrics
  • GOVT-288 International Political Economy
  • PECO-201 Analytical Tools for Political Economy
  • Four IPEC Core or Supporting courses, at least two of which must be IPEC Core
  • IPEC-401 Senior Thesis Seminar

Honors in International Political Economy

Students can earn Honors in the IPEC Major by submitting a letter of intent during the junior year, writing a thesis based on original research during the senior year, the thesis judged as honors quality, earning an A grade in the Senior Seminar, earning a major GPA of at least 3.67, and earning a cumulative GPA of at least 3.33.

More information about the major and its faculty can be found at:


The International Politics major examines how states and non-state actors cooperate and compete on political issues. In contemporary geopolitics, there is no longer the stable hierarchy of issues that dominated policy makers’ and scholars’ attention during the Cold War period of 1945 through the late 1980s. Now, numerous non-security issues compete with security for the attention of policy makers, outside analysts, scholars, and citizens.


The International Politics major is designed to provide students with the substantive expertise and analytical skills necessary to understand, and become leaders in, the study and practice of world politics. The major provides all students with in-depth knowledge of the issues and actors that constitute three central arenas in international politics:

  • International Law, Institutions, and Ethics
  • International Security
  • Foreign Policy and Policy Processes

Students build their substantive expertise in these areas through in-depth foundational courses. Within each area, they are also expected to gain expertise on matters of particular interest to them by taking supporting courses in a wide range of specialized topics. In addition, all students are expected to master the analytical methods and statistical skills necessary to be productive consumers and producers of research in international politics.


The international political arena is dynamic. The ability to recognize the potential for cooperation and conflict among a diversity of state and non-state actors and then to choose and implement an appropriate policy response to the issue at hand requires a sophisticated and informed understanding of international politics as well as the skills to respond to unforeseen threats and opportunities. To be prepared to do so, students will be educated to do the following:

  • Understand, evaluate and apply the key concepts and scholarly research in international politics regarding the behavior of state and non-state actors in the international system.
  • Identify key institutions and dynamics in the development of the contemporary international system as well as their historical foundations and precedents.
  • Explicate and critique international and domestic political issues, dynamics, and events in clear and concise writing.
  • Analyze world political phenomena systematically using statistical methodologies to evaluate global trends and relationships.
  • Develop substantive and theoretical expertise necessary to understand, interpret, and explain complex current events and historical case studies in International or Foreign Policy.
  • Recognize important moral dimensions of world politics and apply ethical frameworks to the multifaceted challenges faced today.
  • Develop the substantive, analytical, and ethical skills necessary to anticipate emerging threats, challenges, and opportunities in the global arena and respond effectively.


The organization of the major addresses the principal building blocks of international politics today.

There are three major fields in which International Politics majors may concentrate: 1) International Law, Institutions, and Ethics 2) International Security; and 3) Foreign Policy and Policy Processes. See the website for current listings. Please note that although the majority of courses in the major are taught by political scientists, there are significant contributions from the Departments of History, Philosophy, Sociology, and Theology, and from regional studies programs.

The eleven courses for the International Politics major are divided between a six-course concentration in one of the major fields (1–3) listed above, four additional courses drawn from at least two of the other concentrations, and a quantitative methodology course. The requirements are summarized as follows. See the website for detailed course listings.

  • IPOL-320: Quantitative Methods for International Politics
  • Six courses listed under the student’s major field.
  • Of these six courses, students must take one thematic concentration course.
    • Students pursuing a concentration in International Security must take at least one of the following courses: GOVT-369: International Security or IPOL-365: Military Security in World Politics.
    • Students pursuing a concentration in International Law, Institutions, and Ethics must take at least one of the following courses: GOVT-403: International Law; GOVT-298: International Organization; or GOVT-420: Ethical Issues in International Relations.
    • Students pursuing a concentration in Foreign Policy and Policy Processes must take at least one of the following courses: GOVT-415: Contemporary U.S. Foreign Policy; HIST-282: American Diplomatic History I; or HIST-283: American Diplomatic History II.
  • Four additional courses listed under the other concentrations. Students may take a maximum of two supporting courses towards the concentration requirement. Courses must be drawn from at least two areas outside the major field.

This major is available to students of the School of Foreign Service in Qatar. For more information, see

Honors in International Politics

Selection of honors candidates is based on evaluations of proposals submitted during the spring semester of junior year.

In order to graduate with honors in International Politics, a student must:

  • Earn a cumulative grade point average of 3.33 and a grade point average in the major of 3.67 by the date of graduation.
  • Successfully complete the honors seminar in International Politics offered in the fall semester. Please note that participation in this seminar is by invitation only.
  • Successfully complete a spring semester tutorial in which the senior thesis is prepared.
  • Submit a senior thesis on an approved topic that is judged to be of honors quality by a committee of faculty members chosen for this purpose.

For more information, please see the website.


The major in Regional and Comparative Studies allows students to focus on the detailed study of one (“Regional Studies”) or two (“Comparative Studies”) world regions:

  • Africa
  • Asia
  • Western Europe
  • Latin America
  • the Middle East
  • the region comprising Russia, Eurasia, and Eastern Europe
  • the United States (comparative studies only)
  • the region comprising Australia, New Zealand & the Pacific (comparative studies only)

Goals of the Major

The study of a particular region or two regions is a vital enterprise that provides a student with insights into different societies that cannot be gained otherwise. Understanding regions through intense study of its languages and cultures allows students to gain expertise that is invaluable in a globalizing world. It is this focus that makes it possible to see crucial differences and similarities within and between regions. Students, through the study of a region(s) of the world, become informed world citizens able to interpret the actions and policies of the areas they study.

Regional and Comparative Studies students develop the insight, knowledge and skills needed to deal effectively with far-reaching challenges of the contemporary world. Given the largely self-defined nature of the major, students become responsible for their own education through grounding in core theory and methods courses and region-specific courses selected to explore a topic in greater depth. The theoretical component and rigorous curriculum provide students with tools that serve virtually any profession, whether in the region(s) studied, or elsewhere. The literacy in language(s) and the understanding of political, economic, social and cultural realities permits them to do specialized work. Graduates are prepared to enter careers in law, education, government, non-governmental organizations, and business to meet the needs of a broadening global vision.

The Regional and Comparative Studies major is designed to provide students with deep knowledge of one or two regions of the world so that they understand issues that occur on the world stage. In Regional Studies students pursue a study of one region: Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, Western Europe, or the region comprising Russia, Eurasia and Eastern Europe. For Comparative Studies students pursue any two of these regions with the addition of the United States and the region comprising Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific.

Students receive training in theories and methods, typically from two different disciplines, to gain analytical tools for a detailed study of the region(s). Drawing from the disciplines of anthropology, economics, government, history, international affairs, linguistics, sociology, and theology, students build a comprehensive grounding in a self-identified theme within a region(s). Students also acquire necessary language skills appropriate to the region(s) by taking a minimum of four semesters of language or by passing proficiency.

In the Regional and Comparative Studies major students design their own curriculum with the support of the curricular dean and a faculty mentor. RCST students identify and explain a major theme in a region or regions and justify the value of its study. Students construct an intellectual argument and propose a course list to enable a comprehensive multi-disciplinary study of the selected theme. Beginning with the class of 2016, students in the RCST major may not overlap any courses between the major courses and the certificate. Through the mentoring of the curricular dean, the Faculty Field Chair and faculty, students receive guidance to undertake a meaningful study within a region(s).

Objectives of the Major

Through a diverse combination of courses centered on a theme, the RCST major prepares students to investigate and comprehend a topic of importance in a region(s). The Regional and Comparative major enables students to:

  • Understand on a theoretical and practical level different societies and their histories.
  • Develop analytical tools to understand and interpret a theme in a region or regions.
  • Analyze different aspects of societies outside of the United States.
  • Use the comparative method to assess the complexities of different regions of the world.
  • Identify, explore and evaluate an important theme through a comprehensive study across multiple disciplines.
  • Gain proficiency in a language(s) specific to a region(s).

Requirements of the Major

For Students Majoring in Regional Studies

  • Two courses from a preapproved list of theory and methods courses
  • Eight region-specific theme-related courses from one of the stand-alone regions
  • Four language courses or language proficiency of a language in the region

For Students Majoring in Comparative Studies

  • Two courses from a preapproved list of theory and methods courses
  • Four region-specific theme-related courses from each of the regions to be compared.
  • Four language courses or language proficiency in one of the selected regions. (English does not count towards this proficiency.)

Honors in Regional and Comparative Studies

Selection of honors candidates is based on evaluations of proposals submitted during the spring semester of junior year.

In order to graduate with honors in Regional and Comparative Studies, a student must:

  • Earn a cumulative grade point average of 3.33 and a grade point average of 3.67 in the major by the date of graduation.
  • Successfully complete two semesters of tutorial work and participate in the thesis writers workshop dedicated to preparation of the thesis.
  • Submit a senior thesis on an approved topic which is judged to be of honors quality by a faculty committee appointed for this purpose.

For more details, please see the website.


A glance at the daily newspaper is enough to convince even the post casual observer that there are international dimensions to almost every aspect of science and technology, and that science and technology play a crucial role in foreign policy and international affairs.

The Science, Technology & International Affairs (STIA) major aims to equip students with the tools needed to understand the complex problems at the intersection of scientific and technical issues and international affairs.

Learning Goals

Science, Technology, and International Affairs (STIA) is a unique, multi- and inter-disciplinary liberal arts program. It equips students with the tools they will need to understand and address the complex issues related to science and technology (environment, health, energy, security, and development) that are interwoven with the historical, political, economic, social, and cultural concerns of international affairs. STIA’s essential goal is to produce graduates who can manage issues with a strong content of science and technology. STIA is the only SFS major to have a science requirement, and provides SFS students with the option of continuing in science after graduation in fields such as the environmental and energy sciences and medicine. The major provides comprehensive knowledge within four concentrations:

1. Environment and Energy

This core offers an essential introduction to environmental science and global energy, as well as the political, historical, and economic factors that influence environmental and energy policy and the state of the global environment and supply of energy. STIA offers a wide range of environmental and energy courses, including water resources, geographic information science, geoscience, climate, soil and agriculture, environmental restoration and policy, energy resources and security, and sustainable energy technologies. Related resources include the University’s science departments and the numerous national agencies and organizations of Washington, DC.

2. Business, Growth, and Development

This core explores policy and management issues arising from advances in technology, while building essential skills in international business and economics. Coursework covers four main areas: economics and business (accounting, finance, and marketing); technological elements of business (information, biotechnology, energy, industry, and agriculture); and business-government relations from regional to international scales; and national technology and competitiveness strategies. Related resources include the SFS Program in International Business Diplomacy.

3. Biotechnology and Global Health

Political, economic, cultural, and social factors influence world health as much as the traditional issues of medicine and public health. The challenges to health and society call for recognizing the close relationship between health and international affairs, and gives equal prominence to the public and the private sectors. This core area offers students courses spanning a broad range of topics from epidemiology to computational biology, health economics, biotechnology policy, medical bioethics, demography, and the politics of international health. Related resources include the University’s science departments, the School of Nursing and Health Studies and the Medical School.

4. Science, Technology, and Security

This core focuses on how science and technology affect existing and emerging security policy in the broader context of international politics. The key issues range from technology and military strategy to nuclear proliferation, testing, and monitoring, energy and security, communications and intelligence, weapons, and unconventional or emerging security threats, including terrorists, asymmetric and cyber warfare, organized crime, narcotics traffickers, and low-level conflict. Related resources include the University’s science departments, including Computer Science courses.

Students build their substantive expertise in these areas through key foundational courses. Within each area, they gain knowledge and skills in matters of particular interest to them by taking supporting courses in a wide range of specialized topics within each area. In addition, all students are expected to master the analytical methods, the appropriate sciences, and quantitative skills necessary to be productive consumers of research in international science and technology. Many students enrich their coursework with world class internships and international field studies, and a select group writes Honors Theses based on original research conducted around the world.


Addressing many of the world’s greatest challenges requires a sophisticated and informed understanding of science, technology, and international affairs to choose and implement the best policy and management responses. The STIA education prepares students to do so in the following ways:

  • Understand, evaluate, and apply the key concepts and research in science and technology in international affairs
  • Be knowledgeable about quantitative and qualitative methods, and able to apply them in research
  • Recognize and apply a toolkit of scientific techniques and methods
  • Understand and evaluate the world’s most important science and technology challenges
  • Identify key institutions and dynamics in international science and technology
  • Explicate and critique science and technology issues in clear written and oral presentation
  • Develop substantive and theoretical expertise necessary to understand, interpret, and explain complex events and case studies in international science and technology
  • Recognize important moral dimensions of scientific issues and apply ethical frameworks to these challenges
  • Develop the substantive, analytical and ethical skills necessary to anticipate emerging threats, challenges and opportunities in the global arena and respond effectively


In addition to the SFS core requirements, all STIA majors must complete a minimum 12 courses in the major. The courses are:

  • STIA-305 Science and Technology in the Global Arena
  • Four courses from the chosen concentration
  • Minimum 4 Math/Science Courses and 2 STIA Electives OR 6 Math/Science Courses
  • A STIA Senior Seminar

Field and Faculty Experts

STIA faculty members include three elected Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and they produce cutting edge scholarship in many areas, including environmental science, management, and policy. As with our other core strengths, the faculty approaches these questions from multiple perspectives, producing well-educated and resourceful students who have gone on to become scientists, physicians, lawyers, development experts, and business people in positions worldwide. Our faculty’s research includes questions about the renewable energy industry and policy development, scientific uncertainty, privacy, global competitiveness, information policy, technology transfer and innovation mechanisms, the role of science and technology in economic performance, international competitiveness strategies, international climate policy, landscape and ecological change, geoarchaeology of Central America and the Mediterranean, and environmental history, low-fertility regimes particularly with regard to security issues, and infertility.

Additionally, STIA taps into the other multifaceted resources of Georgetown, including its noteworthy group of scholar-practitioners who share their experience from the applied worlds of international affairs, science, and business with our students. Other synergistic institutions at Georgetown include The Center for the Environment, directed in the past by two STIA faculty members, which provides a wide ranging forum for all aspects of the environment; the Mortara Center for International Studies advances the study of all aspects of international affairs; the School of Nursing and Health Studies; and programs in development, international health, and the main sciences departments of Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Computer Science. Lastly, STIA faculty work with their students to produce and publish their own scholarship, connecting with other groups for events and speakers, and drawing on the vibrant scientific, cultural, and social resources of the Nation’s Capital.

Honors in Science, Technology, and International Affairs

Selection of honors candidates is based on evaluations of proposals submitted during the spring semester of junior year.

In order to graduate with honors in Science, Technology, and International Affairs, a student must:

  • Earn a cumulative grade point average of 3.50 and a grade point average of 3.67 in the major by the date of graduation.
  • Successfully complete a senior thesis on an approved topic which is judged to be of honors quality by a faculty committee appointed for this purpose.

For more details, please see the STIA Director.


It is possible for students who wish to pursue a modified version of one of the seven majors to petition for permission to do so. Usually the modifications involve substituting one or two courses for those included on the current course lists. Students should consult the curricular dean responsible for their major for details. Without exception, the faculty chair of the appropriate field committee must endorse the modifications.


There are rare cases in which a student has received permission to pursue an independent major that does not fall under the jurisdiction of one of the seven major field committees. Such cases require a detailed description of the plan of study and approval by at least two faculty members and the Director of the Undergraduate Program before they may be considered by the Standards Committee, which makes the final decision on the proposal.


With an enrollment of about 350 students per class, the undergraduate program of the School of Foreign Service offers an intimate setting within Georgetown University. This scale makes it possible for students, faculty members, and deans to interact with one another on a personal basis. Ideally, each student will build up a network of professors who are knowledgeable about different aspects of his or her studies, as well as rapport with one or more members of the Dean’s Office staff. This pattern begins during the first year and continues to develop. For example, the professors who teach freshmen proseminars typically take an interest in their students and are prepared to offer general advice and support.

Counseling about course choices takes place in the Dean’s Office. Each entering first-year or transfer student is assigned to one of the Associate and Assistant Deans, who hold office hours on virtually every day of the academic year. One of their primary responsibilities is to help students work out an academic program that will enable them to complete their studies on schedule while also pursuing interests in elective subjects. The deans continue to provide support to students during junior and senior years on a wide variety of subjects, including study abroad. They also direct students to members of the faculty who share their interests in one or more areas, and these introductions are among the most fruitful ways of identifying professors to serve as mentors in the major during junior and senior years.


As noted above, the coursework for the Core and for the SFS majors draws on the offerings of several different Departments as well as courses sponsored directly by the School of Foreign Service. Courses sponsored by a Department are described under the heading of that Department. Courses sponsored by the School appear under two categories on the University website. International Affairs (prefix “INAF”) houses courses that serve the Core curriculum as well as upper-level courses that are integral to more than one major in the School. Courses commissioned for the majors in International Economics (prefix “IECO”), International Political Economy (prefix “PECO/IPEC”), Culture and Politics (“CULP”) and Science, Technology, and International Affairs (“STIA”) appear under the categories for those programs. For detailed listings of all departmental courses that figure into the SFS curriculum please see the SFS website,


Every semester, academic honors are noted on full-time students’ transcripts based on their grade point average for that semester. “First honors” is awarded to students who earn a 3.900 GPA or higher; “second honors” is awarded to those who earn at least a 3.700 GPA, and students who earn at least a 3.500 achieve the “Dean’s list.” Semester honors are recognized by a permanent notation on official transcripts.

Upon graduation, final academic honors are determined by the cumulative GPA. Students with a 3.900 cumulative GPA or higher graduate summa cum laude; 3.700 to 3.899, magna cum laude; and 3.500 to 3.699, cum laude. Final academic honors are printed on all official transcripts.

The Peter F. Krogh Honors Seminar

Named for the Dean Emeritus of the School of Foreign Service, this seminar offers 15 highly qualified students the opportunity to work closely with a senior member of the faculty. The Krogh seminar always addresses a theme of central importance in international affairs, with the topic and professor changing from year to year. Participation in the Krogh seminar is by invitation. Students who successfully complete the seminar receive the Peter F. Krogh medal at the annual Tropaia ceremony during graduation weekend.

Honors in the Majors

Students who meet the criteria to graduate with honors in the major receive an honors citation on their final transcripts. They are also recognized at the annual Tropaia ceremony during graduation weekend.

National Honor Societies

Students in the School of Foreign Service are eligible for election to Phi Beta Kappa, Alpha Sigma Nu (Jesuit National Honor Society), Omicron Delta Epsilon (Economics National Honor Society), Pi Sigma Alpha (National Honor Society in Political Science), Phi Alpha Theta (International Honor Society in History), Pi Delta Phi (National French Honor Society), Sigma Delta Pi (National Spanish Honor Society), Phi Lambda Beta (Portuguese National Honor Society), and Dobro Slovo (National Slavic Honor Society).

The School’s three-semester requirement in history plus one additional course in this discipline are sufficient for eligibility for Phi Alpha Theta. Advanced placement credit in history does not qualify a student for Phi Alpha Theta, for which you must have completed a minimum of four college-level courses in history. Eight political science courses (which may include those required for the SFS Core), establish eligibility for Pi Sigma Alpha.

For detailed information about each of the honor societies open to School of Foreign Service students, please see the section “Honors and Awards” in this Bulletin. The foreign language honor societies are listed under “Awards of the Faculty of Languages and Linguistics.”


Students from the School of Foreign Service are very successful competitors for a variety of post-graduate fellowships and scholarships, including the DAAD, Fulbright, Luce, Marshall, Mellon, Rhodes, and Truman. For more information, please refer to the Georgetown Office of Fellowships, Awards, and Research website at

The following fellowships and awards are administered through the School of Foreign Service.

Circumnavigators Club Fellowship

The Circumnavigators Club Foundation sponsors a special fellowship for a 90-day summer research trip around the world. Interested students compete for these awards during their junior year by submitting project proposals and defending them during an interview.

China Studies Fellowships

Under a 1980 agreement between Georgetown University and National Chengchi University of Taiwan, six China Studies Fellowships, including tuition, room, and board, may be awarded to undergraduates, graduating seniors, and graduate students with advanced Chinese language ability to pursue study at National Chengchi University. Information on these fellowships may be obtained through the Asian Studies program.

Junior Fellows in Diplomacy

Two Junior Fellowships in Diplomacy are awarded annually to School of Foreign Service seniors who work on individual research and writing projects under the guidance of resident associates of the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy. Research and essay topics focus on themes consistent with the Institute’s mission, to examine the process, conduct, and environment of diplomacy and the personal qualities required of an effective diplomat. Successful applicants register for a three-credit tutorial as part of their normal schedule of courses and receive a grant of $3,000 each.

The DACOR Fellowship

Established by Diplomatic and Consular Officers Retired (DACOR), this fellowship is awarded each year to an outstanding member of the graduating class who wishes to pursue advanced study in international relations at an institution of higher learning in the United States.

Horace Porter Travel Grants

The Horace Porter Endowment Fund was established to honor the late Horace Porter, U.S. Ambassador to France (1897-1905) by Col. and Mrs. Henry McHarg and Mr. Horace P. Mende. The Porter Fund values research in issues in international affairs likely to be more important or more critical in the next several years than at present and what the United States or other countries or international organizations could do to influence that issue. The Porter Fund provides three travel grants up to $1,000 and is administered by the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy.


Certificate Programs mark secondary levels of concentration within the bachelor’s degree. They are strictly optional and are awarded only in conjunction with the undergraduate degree. Certificate programs should be viewed as means for focusing interests and structuring elective course work. While a certificate program might require a student to select an advisor from its faculty, the student should also discuss the certificate, and its role within the general bachelor’s program, with his or her advising dean. Students may present themselves as candidates for no more than ONE certificate and only ONE will be listed on the transcript.

The certificates in African Studies, Arab Studies, Asian Studies, Australian and New Zealand Studies, European Studies, Islam and Muslim-Christian Understanding, Jewish Civilization, Latin American Studies, Religion, Ethics and World Affairs, and Russian, Eurasian and East European Studies are affiliated with centers within the School of Foreign Service that sponsor research and, in some cases, graduate study. A list of certificates recognized by the School is given below. Please see the SFS website for details.

  • Certificate in African Studies
  • Certificate in American Studies (available to students in the School of Foreign Service in Qatar)
  • Certificate in Arab Studies
  • Certificate in Arab and Regional Studies (available to students in the School of Foreign Service in Qatar)
  • Certificate in Asian Studies
  • Certificate in Australian and New Zealand Studies
  • Certificate in Classical Studies
  • Certificate in Eurasian, Russian and East European Studies
  • Certificate in European Studies
  • Certificate in International Business Diplomacy
  • Certificate in International Development
  • Certificate in Islam and Muslim-Christian Understanding
  • Certificate in Jewish Civilization
  • Certificate in Justice and Peace
  • Certificate in Latin American Studies
  • Certificate in Medieval Studies
  • Certificate in Religion, Ethics, and World Affairs
  • Certificate in Social and Political Thought
  • Certificate in Women’s and Gender Studies

Tutorials offer students special opportunities to study subjects that are not part of the regular curriculum. Usually, tutorials involve one student and one faculty member, although occasionally a group of two or three students will band together to pursue a subject of common interest. Normally, tutorials are given by full-time faculty members to full-time students in good academic standing. Tutorials represent a teaching overload for professors, so students cannot expect that faculty members will necessarily agree to offer tutorials at their convenience. Tutorials should represent an intellectual commitment and workload similar to that required of a normal three-credit course. As a rule, students take no more than two tutorials in the course of their undergraduate careers, although the special arrangements in place for honors in some SFS majors might fall outside this guideline.

Students in the School of Foreign Service interested in setting up a tutorial must meet five conditions: 1) the subject of the tutorial is not available as a regular University course; 2) there is an intellectually compelling reason for studying this subject as part of the undergraduate degree; 3) a faculty member with the appropriate expertise is available and willing to offer the tutorial; 4) the Department chair and the director of the undergraduate program, approve the request; 5) the appropriate paperwork is submitted to the Dean’s Office in a timely fashion (note: forms to request approval for tutorials are available in the Dean’s Office). Any tutorial that is approved as a substitute for a Core or major requirement must be taken for a quality grade (A through D). Tutorials that are taken for elective credit may be taken for a quality grade or on a pass/fail basis. Credits for tutorials cost the same as regular course credits. All the academic regulations governing the regular curriculum are applicable to tutorials. Tutorials come in two varieties, reading courses and research tutorials:

  • Reading courses usually focus on mastering the scholarly literature on a particular subject. For example, a reading course on the origins of the French Revolution might focus on the major historiographical interpretations of the Revolution as well as on critiques of this literature. The backbone of any reading tutorial is a substantial reading list put together with the help of the supervising professor. The tutorial would meet weekly or biweekly and stress discussion of the readings for that period. A variety of written assignments could be an appropriate means of assessment, including, for example, bibliographical essays, critical reviews, or analyses of one or more problems raised by the literature.
  • Research tutorials focus on the collection and analysis of primary materials in the form of a major research paper. In framing a project, guidance should be sought from the professor. The most typical flaw in undergraduate research projects is overestimating the amount of material that one can reasonably digest in a single semester or choosing a subject on which necessary data is unavailable. Research tutorials meet weekly or as the pace of the project demands. The final papers vary in length according to the subject, but a 25-page minimum would be typical for the social sciences.

Please note: the material addressed in both reading courses and research tutorials should be defined in a way that allows you to finish all work for the tutorial by the end of the semester. Incompletes are not routinely granted for tutorials.

Many students ask about using a tutorial as a mechanism for getting credit for internships. It is sometimes possible to schedule a research tutorial that is compatible with the content of an internship and draws on some of the research carried out for the internship. Officially, credit is granted for the tutorial, not for the internship itself. You should be aware of the fact that most internships in Washington (especially those working for members of Congress) are not well-suited to tutorial programs. In fact, unless the internship contains a substantial research component, it is probably not feasible to set up a tutorial for credit. Please note that you may receive credit for only one internship-related tutorial during your undergraduate career. For more information, please see the director of the undergraduate program.


The School of Foreign Service strongly believes that a period of study in another country can contribute an invaluable intercultural dimension and language-learning opportunity to the educational preparation of all who aspire to international careers. Students are, therefore, encouraged to develop appropriate plans for foreign study in conjunction with their educational program at the School. In most cases students must be fully enrolled in a recognized foreign university and studying in the native language with students of the host country. Such direct matriculation puts a premium on post-advanced knowledge of the appropriate foreign language and is most feasible in countries in which French, German, Italian, and Spanish, Portuguese (or English) are the languages of instruction. A number of modified options are available in Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, and Russian-speaking parts of the world. These combine a heavy emphasis on language acquisition with a limited selection of coursework in English, often with a regional focus. The Office of International Programs developed a range of study abroad programs that meet other needs, including intensive language study of French and Spanish.

One of the most important issues to address in terms of study abroad is how the course work taken abroad will or will not contribute to one’s progress towards the BSFS degree, especially the requirements for the major. This is a subject for careful planning and consultation with the curricular dean responsible for coordination of the major. The deans bear final responsibility for crediting course work taken abroad towards degree requirements.

  • Participants must be full-time students while overseas, unless their dean has given preapproval for a reduced course load. A full course load is considered to be the same as that of a regular full-time degree candidate at the host university, as detailed on the Program Information Sheet. Recreational travel must not interfere with regularly scheduled classes. Students take the regular exams normally administered to degree students at the host university. All course assignments and examinations must be completed by the time of departure from country at the end of the academic year.
  • The student code of conduct applies to students while overseas.
  • Participants are expected to comply with the laws of the country where they are studying and those of the countries in which they travel. Students are also subject to all academic and disciplinary regulations of the host university. While overseas, students should conduct themselves as guests, keeping in mind that they are subject to all the laws of the country while not necessarily enjoying the same privileges as nationals. Georgetown University students are expected to remain observers of political activities rather than participants. Becoming a political activist may endanger one’s safety or that of one’s colleagues in the program, and will almost certainly jeopardize the program itself.

For more detailed information on overseas study for undergraduate students in the School of Foreign Service, see the website.


The School of Foreign Service and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences sponsor several accelerated bachelor’s/master’s programs for those qualified students who plan to continue their professional education in international affairs at the graduate level and desire to complete the two degrees in approximately five years. Students with appropriate undergraduate course work can count graduate level courses toward the 40 courses, 120 credits required for the undergraduate degree. Some of the graduate programs may permit appropriate courses beyond those required for the undergraduate degree to be applied toward the master’s degree within limits set by policy and with explicit approval of the particular master’s program, the BSFS Program, and the Graduate School.

Third year students in the School of Foreign Service who have maintained an honors average (3.500 or better) are eligible to apply to one of the six multidisciplinary master’s degree programs within the School:

  • Master of Arts in Arab Studies
  • Master of Arts in German and European Studies
  • Master of Arts in Latin American Studies
  • Master of Arts in Russian, Eurasian, and East European Studies
  • Master of Arts in Security Studies
  • Master of Science in Foreign Service

Admission for the accelerated degree programs is highly competitive. Applicants must satisfy all application procedures as outlined by the Graduate Admissions Office. Successful applicants matriculate fully into the graduate program in the fourth year and graduate with the Bachelor’s Degree upon completion of all undergraduate degree requirements. Please see the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Catalog for information and requirements of the Masters programs. Undergraduates can contact Dean Murphy in the Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service Dean’s Office for more details.


The School of Foreign Service operates within the parameters of the general academic policies shared by all undergraduate schools of the University which are outlined in the Bulletin under “Academic Regulations.”

Regulations particular to the School of Foreign Service include, but are not limited to:

  1. Students must complete a minimum of six semesters of university study, four of which must be full-time and in residence in the School of Foreign Service. A minimum of 60 credits must be completed in residence. Semesters are defined as fall and spring semesters (not summer). Study abroad at one of Georgetown’s campuses (SFS-Qatar, Villa le Balze, or McGhee Center) counts toward the residency requirement.
  2. Students are required to complete at least half of the coursework for a SFS major at Georgetown. Transfer credit for courses (including Study Abroad courses and non-GU summer courses) in excess of half of a major will be counted as free electives toward the degree.
  3. Undergraduate students are expected to be full-time. Seniors who have met all residency requirements may be part-time in the final semester. Students with compelling academic reasons, prior to the final semester, may petition the Academic Standards Committee for part-time status.
  4. Courses that fulfill Core Curriculum, Major, or Certificate requirements or are part of the sequence of language courses taken to prepare students to attain the Foreign Language Oral Proficiency requirement (or additional language proficiency certifications) must be taken for a letter grade.
  5. Audited courses do not count toward the BSFS degree.
  6. With the exception of summer school courses listed in the usual departments of the four undergraduate schools on campus (College, SFS, MSB and NHS), SFS students may not enroll in courses offered through the School of Continuing Studies for its various degrees, certificates, and special programs.
  7. All students are required to maintain continuous enrollment in a foreign language course each semester until or unless they have fulfilled the Foreign Language Oral Proficiency requirement.
  8. Students that can meet the Foreign Language Oral Proficiency requirement with their native language must have this requirement confirmed by the appropriate language department in their first academic year.
  9. All students are expected to complete the Foreign Language Oral Proficiency requirement prior to overseas study if they plan to study at an English language site or a site in a language other than the one they are pursuing to fulfill the Oral Proficiency requirement.
  10. No more than four courses may be taken in summer school away from Georgetown in the course of completing the BSFS degree. Prior approval for such courses must be obtained from the SFS Dean’s Office.
  11. Students on elective leave of absence may not transfer credit for courses taken elsewhere during their leave. In rare circumstances, such as medical leaves of absence, and with written approval of the Dean’s Office prior to the leave, students may be allowed to transfer a limited number of courses.
  12. Any student with more than one incomplete course in a given term who is unable to complete his or her work by the start of the next term may not begin new courses without formal review and consent of the student’s Dean. The student may be directed to take a leave of absence or may be directed to enroll in a partial schedule in the subsequent term.
  13. All seniors are required to complete a Senior Review during the penultimate semester to obtain confirmation of final degree requirements and to apply for the degree. Failure to apply for the degree by the designated deadline may necessitate the postponement of graduation.
  14. Students must declare their intended major via the BSFS major declaration process in the stipulated time frame or be subject to academic sanctions.


At the conclusion of the fall and spring semesters, the Committee on Academic Standards (Standards Committee) convenes to review the academic records of all undergraduates in the School of Foreign Service. The Standards Committee is comprised of the BSFS Associate and Assistant Deans. The Standards Committee meets in closed session and the Committee’s decisions are communicated to students in writing.

Academic infractions that require action by the Standards Committee include:

  • Low cumulative and/or semester grade point averages
  • Unsatisfactory grades (D+ and below)
  • Failures (including a grade of U in Map of the Modern World)
  • Failure to enroll in required classes or make progress toward the degree
  • Failure to enroll in a foreign language if the proficiency requirement is not completed
  • Patterns of course withdrawals
  • Unauthorized Incomplete Courses (which are treated as failing grades)

Academic Sanctions

The Standards Committee has authority to impose sanctions on students whose academic performance is deemed deficient. Sanctions reflect the nature of the academic deficiencies they aim to address. The Standards Committee may recommend one of four courses of action: probation, final probation, suspension, or dismissal.


Students who fail a course or who earn a semester or cumulative GPA below 2.50 are automatically placed on probation. While on probation, students are expected to maintain a semester GPA of 2.50+ as a full time student in twelve credit hours. No notation of academic probation is made on the transcript.

Final Academic Probation

Students who fail multiple courses, fail courses while on academic probation, or do not maintain a semester or cumulative GPA of 2.50, may be placed upon final academic probation. In addition to meeting the requirements for probation, students may be required to meet additional conditions deemed necessary by the Standards Committee. Students who fail to meet final probationary requirements may face suspension or dismissal from the university. No notation of final academic probation is made on the transcript.


Students may be suspended for one or more semesters because of unsatisfactory academic performance. The length of the suspension is determined by the Standards Committee. The committee may also impose requirements for readmission to SFS. Students who are suspended may not transfer credits to Georgetown earned elsewhere during the suspension period. Academic suspensions are noted on the transcript.


Students may be dismissed from the university because of unsatisfactory academic performance. In cases of dismissal, students are permanently separated from Georgetown. Dismissed students may not register for or attend classes, attempt to complete a Georgetown degree, live in a residence hall, or participate in any activities reserved for students in good standing at Georgetown. Academic dismissal is noted on the transcript.

In some cases, the Standards Committee may offer a student the opportunity to take a leave of absence or withdraw from the University in lieu of imposing a sanction. In making its deliberations, the committee considers the entire student academic record and patterns therein.

Students who are suspended or dismissed may appeal the decision of the Standards Committee by petitioning the School of Foreign Service Appeals board.

The SFS Appeals Board consists of two members of the Faculty and the director of the BSFS Program, or his/her designate, who serves as Chair. No member of the Faculty may sit on the Appeals Board if he/she has at any time failed the student who is appealing.

It should be emphasized that the Appeals Board is an educational hearing board and not a court of law. Its purpose is twofold:

  1. It considers the student’s record in light of the decision of the Standards Committee and accepts any evidence of extenuating circumstances which would warrant the Board to recommend a change in the Standards Committee decision.
  2. It assures the student an opportunity to appear before an impartial board composed of members who are unrelated to the student’s academic background.

The student must submit a written request for an appeal of the initial decision to the Chair of Academic Standards within the timeline specified by the Standards Committee. The student is expected to present evidence to the Appeals Board that demonstrates cause for amending the initial decision. Students may appear in person to support their case. One character witness may provide a written statement in support of the appeal or the character witness may testify to the Appeals Board.

The Appeals Board deliberates in closed session. The Board may recommend upholding the Standards Committee’s initial decision or it may recommend a mitigation of the decision, e.g., instead of dismissal, a suspension; instead of suspension, final probation. The Appeals Board may not recommend a more severe judgment. The Board’s decision is considered final and is not subject to further appeal. The final decision of the Appeals Board is communicated to the student in writing.

Office of the University RegistrarG-01 White Gravenor Building37th and O Streets, N.W., Washington D.C. 20057Phone: (202) 687.4020Fax: (202)