School of Foreign Service

Joel S. Hellman Dean
Daniel Byman Senior Associate Dean for Undergraduate Affairs
Mitch Kaneda Associate Dean, Director of the Undergraduate Program

Kendra Billingslea

Associate Dean

Mini Murphy Associate Dean
Anthony Pirrotti Associate Dean
Samuel Aronson Assistant Dean
Lisa Gordinier Assistant Dean
Polly Robey Assistant Dean
Anna Steinhelper Assistant Dean

In the School of Foreign Service in Qatar

James Reardon-Anderson Dean
James B. MacGregor Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
Kai-Henrik Barth Senior Assistant Dean for Faculty Affairs and Research Administration
Heather Kerst Senior Assistant Dean for the BSFS Program
Anne Nebel Senior Assistant Dean for Teaching, Learning, and Assessment
and Director of Academic Services
Julien Moutte Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs
Christine Schiwietz Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs


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


“Having entered upon the stage of world politics and world commerce, we assume worldwide obligations," wrote the Reverend Edmund A. Walsh, S.J., the School of Foreign Service's first Dean.  "Our viewpoint can never be the same again."  Walsh penned these thoughts in 1919, five years before the United States diplomatic corps renamed itself the Foreign Service, as the United States and the world emerged from the horrors of the First World War.  By creating the School of Foreign Service, Georgetown sought to educate students about global issues and prepare them for a life of service - in business, government, or for a humanitarian agency.  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 human rights and the education of citizens.  The year 2019 will be the centennial for SFS.  Preparations are underway to salute the School's history, to celebrate the accomplishments of faculty, students, alumni and staff, and to launch the School into the next century.  

Today the undergraduate program of the School of Foreign Service offers over 1,400 students an interdisciplinary program built on a liberal arts education. Students begin their studies with the SFS and University core curriculum, giving them an understanding of philosophy, theology, the humanities, economics, political science, history, and other disciplines.  During sophomore year, students choose from one of eight majors allowing them to further develop specialization in one area of international affairs.  One example is the major in Science, Technology, and International Affairs, which combines course work in the biological and physical sciences, geography, bioethics, government and policy studies.  This dual emphasis on international affairs and the interdisciplinary approach distinguishes the curriculum of the School of Foreign Service from that of other liberal arts programs.  In addition to their work on campus, many SFS students study and work abroad during their junior year and do independent research and internships in their senior year.  

In 2005 the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar (SFS-Qatar) was established by agreement between Georgetown University and Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development.  In 2015, a new agreement extended this for a further decade.  While this enabled a broadening of Georgetown's engagement in Qatar, SFS-Qatar remains at the core of Georgetown's presence in the country and the region.  

Georgetown's Qatar campus is dedicated to fulfilling Georgetown University's mission of promoting intellectual, ethical and spiritual understanding through serious and sustained discourse among people of different faiths, cultures and beliefs.  Embodying this spirit of the University, SFS-Qatar undertakes education, research and service in order to advance knowledge and provide students and the community with a holistic educational experience that produces global citizens committed to the service of humankind.  We demonstrate the values of Georgetown University;  seek to build upon the world-class reputation of the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service;  and work with our partner, Qatar Foundation, in its endeavors to achieve the Qatar National Vision 2030.


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 SFS 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 SFS Core Curriculum, Foreign Language Proficiency, major fields of study, optional language minors, optional certificate programs and Fellows Programs.


The Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service (BSFS) program educates the next generation of world leaders.  The BSFS program grounds the study of international affairs in the liberal arts, with students examining a range of problems in the world today from many perspectives, including economics, history, and political science.   

The BSFS curriculum teaches students to appreciate the influence of culture on international affairs.  Required language proficiency enables cultural literacy and communication, helping students identify opportunities and anticipate problems in other countries and among other peoples.   

Students develop critical reasoning skills and express that reasoning in their writing and oral presentations.  They also acquire quantitative skills and learn how to reason scientifically.  Finally, students are taught to conduct independent research.  This knowledge and these skills are vital for international service and are part of Georgetown's commitment to educating the whole person.

Consistent with Georgetown’s Jesuit identity, students approach international affairs with a concern for ethics and morality.  They are encouraged to become engaged citizens, and upon graduation, students will have the knowledge and ingenuity necessary to serve their communities and the world. 


To understand difficult global problems, BSFS students need knowledge from many academic disciplines.  A complex issue like war, for example, requires students to understand politics, economics, history, religion, and culture, among other areas of study.  

The Core Curriculum (“the Core”) offers students a deep foundation on which their major and elective courses are built while instilling values of citizenship and service.  SFS students take the SFS Core (Proseminar, GOVT, HIST, ECON and Map of the Modern World) in addition to the University Core requirements (THEO, PHIL, Writing, HALC and Engaging Diversity).  Together these courses give students the knowledge they need to understand and solve problems while maintaining the broad nature of a liberal arts education.  

The Core consists of the following 19 requirements:

  • 1 Freshman Proseminar
    • INAF-100 Freshman Proseminar
  • 2 Humanities and Writing courses
    • WRIT-015 Writing and Culture Seminar 
    • Humanities: Arts, Literature, and Cultures (HALC) course
  • 2 Theology courses
    • THEO-001 Problem of God or THEO-011 Biblical Literature
    • 2nd THEO course (THEO 001-199)
  • 2 Philosophy courses
    • PHIL-099 Political & Social Thought
    • 2nd PHIL course (PHIL 001-199)
  • 2 Engaging Diversity courses
    • One Global Diversity course
    • One Domestic Diversity course
  • 2 Government courses
    • GOVT-060 International Relations
    • GOVT-040 Comparative Political Systems
  • 3 History courses
    • HIST-007 or  008 or 106 or 107 Introductory History:  World, Europe, Atlantic or Pacific
    • Non-Western Regional History I
    • Non-Western Regional History II (or regional seminar course, with permission)
  • 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

Every first year student in the SFS takes a proseminar, INAF 100, during the fall semester.  Proseminars are small interdisciplinary courses designed to train students in the academic reading and writing skills necessary for success in the SFS program.  Each proseminar is limited to 15 students in order to promote intensive interaction and camaraderie among students and professors.  The structure and format of the course encourage students to explore new ideas and to develop critical approaches to the study of global issues.  The proseminars offer some of Georgetown's finest professors the opportunity to teach and serve as mentors to first year students.

Students acquire foundational knowledge in international politics through GOVT-060 International Relations and GOVT-040 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 analyses in the social sciences.

To fulfill the history requirement, students study global history distributed over three courses, a general introductory survey and two regional survey courses.  At least one of these courses must examine early history and one late history.  Students are encouraged, but not required, to take both regional survey courses in the same region.  International students without exposure to US history may request permission to take US History (HIST 180 or 181) to complete one of the regional history requirements. Students may also petition their dean to replace the second regional survey with an upper-level history seminar that continues regional studies from the first survey course.  

  • BSFS students take two semesters of theology.  They begin with either THEO-001, The Problem of God, or THEO-011 Introduction to Biblical Literature in the first year.  The second theology requirement may be fulfilled with any intermediate-level theology course THEO 001-199.
  • BSFS students must fulfill the first philosophy requirement through an SFS-specific political philosophy course, PHIL-099 Political & Social Thought.  The second philosophy requirement may be fulfilled by any course from PHIL 001-199.  
  • Students may fulfill the writing requirement through Writing 015 or AP/IB credit.  There is also a course designed  specifically for non-native English speaker students, ENFL-114 Critical Writing for International Affairs (or WRIT 014 Critical Read & Write Seminar for SFS-Qatar students), which fulfills this requirement. 
  • Students may fulfill the Humanities, Arts, Literature and Cultures (HALC) requirement from a list of pre-selected courses.
  • Students are required to take two Engaging Diversity courses, one domestic and one global.  This requirement prepares students to be responsible, reflective, self-aware and respectful global citizens.  Courses fulfilling the Engaging Diversity Requirement may double count towards the fulfillment of other curricular requirements.  

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 many of the SFS 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 SFS Core courses until junior and senior years.

The SFS 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-060 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 SFS Core Curriculum lays the academic foundation for entry into one of eight interdisciplinary majors that will be outlined below.  Unlike traditional discipline-based majors, SFS majors have two characteristics:

  1. the majors are built upon the SFS Core requirements (i.e. they presume mastery of subjects covered by the SFS 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, seven of the SFS Core requirements (ECON-001 Microeconomic Principles, ECON-002 Macroeconomic Principles, ECON-243 International Trade, ECON-244 International Finance, GOVT-060 International Relations, GOVT-040 Comparative Political Systems, and PHIL-099 Political & Social Thought) serve as foundational courses for the major, however, none of these courses count toward the major itself.  Because basic competencies have already been established through the SFS Core, the major courses may be at the specialized level and may span across academic disciplines without compromising disciplinary expertise.

Thus within each of the BSFS majors, students are able to 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 the 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.  An 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 outlined in the academic policy for each program developed by the Office of Global Education.  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 eight fields, all of which have significant international and interdisciplinary elements.  These are:  Culture and Politics, Global Business, 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 Culture and Politics (CULP) major provides students with a complex understanding of the relationship between culture, knowledge, and power.  It teaches students theoretical frameworks and analytical skills that enhance cross-cultural tolerance, social justice, and ethical leadership in order to improve 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 they enhance their analytic sophistication through collaborative problem solving.  The CULP major offers curricular 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 assemble their own course sequences 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 with various Georgetown programs, student groups, and 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 historical 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 and 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 are 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 2015, one of these twelve CULP courses must be an approved Research Methods Course
  • 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 Culture and Politics Major Requirements.

Writing in the Major

CULP students will satisfy the University’s Integrated Writing requirement through the required gateway class (CULP-045).  Because CULP is an interdisciplinary major, however, there is no one methodology or writing genre that students must master.  Students assemble their own course sequences around individually chosen concentrations in consultation with their mentor and curricular dean.  The self-designed concentration may require a combination of discipline-specific methodologies or writing strategies housed in the SFS and the College, and students are encouraged to find additional opportunities to hone their writing skills throughout their coursework. 

Honors in Culture and Politics

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

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 a 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 BSFS website .


The private sector plays a significant role within all aspects of international affairs by interacting with governmental and non-governmental actors.  The failure of a large firm can have real effects on people at all corners of the world.  Development policies now recognize the critical role of private incentives at the most micro level.  Corporations are under increasing scrutiny to demonstrate ethical and socially responsible behavior.


The Global Business (GBUS) major will provide BSFS students with a unique opportunity to combine a basic business education with their political and economic coursework, as well as their advanced language, research, and cross-cultural proficiencies.  The major offers BSFS students access to courses in accounting, international marketing, corporate finance, and business operations.  Students are enabled to use the tools from the business disciplines to understand and analyze the firm and the private sector.

Through an integrated learning experience, the aim of the major is to produce a new breed of graduates who are fluent in the global languages of business, politics, economics, and culture.  This fluency and the associated analytical capacity should allow graduates to pursue careers in the private and public sectors, non-profits, and academia, and allow them to freely move between those sectors as their careers evolve.  Graduates of the GBUS major will be able to understand corporate ethics and social responsibility and how political and economic environments have made these strategic concerns of the global firm.

Goals of the Major

The Global Business major is designed to provide students with all of the rigorous, multidisciplinary, tools needed to analyze business enterprises and how they operate within financial, social and cultural forces around the world.  Students acquire a core set of tools in the business disciplines from select MSB courses, as well as study in the social sciences, and humanities while complying with SFS and University requirements.


  • Acquisition of quantitative and qualitative methods.
  • Acquisition of analytical tools of the business disciplines of accounting, finance, marketing, and operations.
  • Combining of business, social science, and humanity disciplines to understand and analyze the firm and the private sector in the context of global social and cultural forces.
  • Understand the multinational corporation and its behavior.
  • Understand international investments and corporate finance.
  • Understand the interactions of businesses and governments in public sector policy making.
  • Understand corporate ethics, social responsibility, and environmental impacts, and how political, economic, and social conditions have made these strategic concerns of the global firm.


The GBUS major requires 10 courses in addition to the calculus prerequisite.

Prerequisite: Calculus I (MATH 035, AP Credit, or equivalent)

  • Statistics: Statistics (ECON 121, MATH 040, or OPIM 173)
  • Required Business Core:
    • Principles of Marketing (MARK 220)
    • Accounting I (ACCT 101)
    • Accounting II (ACCT 102)
    • Business Financial Management (FINC 211)
  • One course in International Business from the prepared list;  see the BSFS website for detailed course listings. 
  • Three Supporting SFS courses from the prepared list;  see the BSFS website for detailed course listings.
  • One Supporting MSB course from the prepared list;  see the BSFS website for detailed course listings.

Additional information on the major and required coursework may be found on the BSFS website

Honors in Global Business

Parallel to the other majors, honors in the Global Business major requires a 3.5 overall GPA and 3.67 GPA in the major.  In addition, qualification for honors will require a thesis judged to be of honors quality by a committee of faculty members or completion of additional requirements as determined by the field committee.


The International Economics (IECO) 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.

Goals of the Major

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 of 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 to 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.

Foundations in Economics

In order to ensure a firm foundation for the advanced study of economics, students wishing to major in International Economics need to have a minimum grade point average of 2.5 in the Core SFS economics sequence and receive no grade lower than a C in any of those courses.

There is a calculus requirement to begin the major which is Calculus I or the equivalent.

During the sophomore year, students with room in their schedules should consider taking Intermediate Microeconomics, Intermediate Macroeconomics, and Economic Statistics, especially if junior year abroad is planned. 

Students considering graduate study in economics are encouraged to take this sequence of math courses:  Calculus II, Multivariable Calculus, and Linear Algebra (MATH-036, 137, and 150).  Most Ph.D. Economics programs require these courses as minimal math preparation.  Math courses taken outside GU may not count towards Supporting requirements of the major. 

At most one accounting course (from the IECO course list) and at most one finance course (from the IECO course list) may count towards the IECO major.  Examples include but are not limited to:  ACCT-001, 101, GBUS 400,  and FINC 150.  GBUS-400 may serve as either an ACCT course or a FINC course, but not both.   

Please note that extra applied courses, extra subfield courses, and courses from a different subfield that has not been selected may count as Supporting.  For example, if a student selects a Subfield C course and is pursuing Subfield B, the Subfield C course could count as a required Supporting course. 


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 an approved 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 International Economics Major Requirements.

Writing in the Major

Teaching students to understand the concepts and methodologies related to these mathematical and statistical tools necessitates that students develop proficiency in explaining the motivation, logic, and conclusion of their work verbally.  The International Economics major offers students the opportunity to hone their writing skills through three primary venues:  1.) tests and assignments that require students to explain their reasoning, 2.) writing short papers that develop arguments, explain theories, or present evidence, and 3.) writing a senior thesis, which teaches students to evaluate scholarly literature, formulate and model a hypothesis, locate data and test the hypothesis, articulate their findings through a written paper, and formulate a convincing argument. 

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 3.5. 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 on the BSFS website.


Processes of historical change have become increasingly global during recent centuries.  The major in International History (IHIS) 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.  

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.

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

Writing in the Major

As they move through the SFS Core Curriculum and meet the requirements towards their major, IHIS students repeatedly encounter and practice various forms of historical writing.  All IHIS majors are required to take Global Perspectives on International History (HIST-305) which exposes students to various methodologies in studying international history and gives students the opportunity to hone their writing as scholars and historians.  In addition, students continue to practice writing through the upper-level history seminars, which allow students to continually develop and revise their writing skills throughout their academic careers.

Honors in International History

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

  • earn a cumulative grade point average of 3.50 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.

Additional information on the major and required coursework may be found on the BSFS website.


Goals of the Major

The International Political Economy (IPEC) major provides students with the multi-disciplinary and 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, serve 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.  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-261 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

Writing in the Major

All students majoring in IPEC must write a senior thesis based on original research.  Students write the thesis in the Senior Capstone course (IPEC-401) and thus pursue their individual research projects as part of a cohort of scholars studying international political economy. 

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 3.50.

More information about the major and its faculty may be found on the BSFS website.


The International Politics (IPOL) 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.

Goals of the Major

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; or  3) Foreign Policy and Policy Processes.  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-260:  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-263:  International Law; GOVT-262:  International Organizations;  or GOVT-460:  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-264:  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 International Politics Major Requirements.

Writing in the Major

Students majoring in IPOL fulfill the University’s integrated writing requirement through their coursework in the Government Department.  All seminars require students to conduct original research, formulate logical arguments, and present their arguments with supporting evidence in both short and long papers.

Honors in International Politics

Selection of honors candidates is based on evaluation 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 3.50 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.

Additional information on the major and required coursework my be found on the BSFS website.


The major in Regional and Comparative Studies (RCST) 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 a region 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.  Comparative Studies students pursue any two of these regions with additional options 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 groundwork 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.  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)

Writing in the Major

Students majoring in RCST develop writing skills throughout their major coursework.  When students declare their major, they write a significant essay identifying and explaining a theme to be explored within a region(s) of the world, which students develop and revise under the direction of the field chair and curricular dean.  In the major, all students receive training in theories and methods, typically from two different disciplines, to gain analytical tools for a detailed study of the region (s). These courses require students to complete various writing assignments honing students’ research, writing, and presentation skills.  In the summer between junior and senior years, RCST students complete a reflection exercise which offers an additional opportunity to hone their writing skills.  Finally, students who pursue an honors thesis gain significant experience in writing under the direction of a faculty mentor.

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 3.50 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.

Additional information on the major and required coursework may be found on the BSFS website.


Now more than ever, science and technology are at the heart of international affairs.  The Science, Technology, and International Affairs (STIA) major equips students with the knowledge, skills and confidence to engage with the challenges and opportunities this presents.  Students follow the regular SFS core curriculum, enroll in core science courses and develop an in-depth understanding of one of the STIA areas of concentration:    

Energy and Environment:  Climate change and geosciences, the transition to a new energy economy, global food supply and the water crisis.
Faculty Leader, Professor Joanna Lewis

Business, Growth, and Development:  Transformative technologies and international competitiveness, innovation policy from Wall Street to nation-states, information technologies in development, technology and entrepreneurship.
Faculty Leader, Professor Mark Giordano

Biotechnology and Global Health:  The biotechnology revolution, emerging infectious disease, technology’s role in health care systems and health equity.
Faculty Leader, Professor Emily Mendenhall

Science, Technology, and Security:  Nuclear proliferation, low and high tech terrorism, cyber security and cyber warfare.  Space and aerospace, technology in military strategy.
Faculty Leader, Professor Kathryn Olesko

Pre-med and pre-engineering options are also possible.

Goals of the Major

While some STIA graduates become scientists and doctors, the goal of the major is to create informed leaders who can engage with technology and take informed, ethical actions for the benefit of their companies and organizations, their countries and the world. 

The major does this by helping students:

  • complete a challenging introductory course that sets the stage for the major
  • study in depth issues in one of the major's four concentrations
  • understand scientific methods, gain the confidence to work directly with science and technology scholarship, and round out a liberal arts education through a set of science, computer science and quantitative methods courses
  • apply in everything they do the liberal arts training, ethical approaches, language requirements, and international perspectives from the regular core curriculum of the School of Foreign Service

Requirements for the STIA Major (Class of 2018 and Beyond)

All STIA majors must complete a minimum of 12 courses in the major including:

  • STIA 305 – Science and Technology in the Global Arena (to be taken in the sophomore year)
  • Two Lab Science/technology courses taken from biology, chemistry, physics or approved computer sciences, preferably by the end of the sophomore year
  • One approved mathematics or related quantitative course
  • One approved research or analytic methods course
  • Six courses chosen in consultation with the faculty advisor and Curricular Dean from an area of concentration.  At least two courses should have STIA prefixes.  Two may be additional science, computer science or math courses.
  • A STIA Senior Capstone Course or Honors Thesis

Requirements for the STIA Major (Classes of 2016 and 2017):

All STIA majors must complete a minimum 12 courses in the major including:

  • STIA 305 – Science and Technology in the Global Arena (to be taken in the sophomore year)
  • Four Courses from one of the designated concentrations
  • STIA Majors can choose either the Short Science or Long Science Option:
    • The Short Science Option consists of 4 courses, chosen from these groups:  Two natural science courses, one of which must include a lab component, one quantitative course, and one Research Methods course. Students who choose the Short Science Option have space to complete TWO STIA Electives. STIA Electives can be courses from the student’s designated concentration, courses from one of the other STIA concentrations, or courses as approved by the faculty mentor and dean.
    • The Long Science Option consists of 6 courses in natural science, mathematics, or computer science. These courses are chosen by the student in consultation with his/her faculty mentor and the dean.
  • A STIA Senior Capstone Course or Honors Thesis.

NOTE: Courses that count for STIA are published prior to pre-registration each semester and are listed on the BSFS website.

Writing in the Major

A core part of the STIA major is learning how to translate science to non-science decision-making.  Students must learn to think critically and communicate what they learn effectively.  This requires being able to formulate meaningful questions, find information that will inform questions, evaluate information sources, effectively synthesize and analyze information, and present findings to varied audiences.

STIA students are expected to gain experience in discussion and debate, oral presentation, and, of course, advanced level writing. The STIA major seeks to help students build these communication competencies throughout the curriculum.   There are three primary components of the major that focus specifically on writing:

All STIA majors are required to take STIA-305/Intro to Science and Technology in the Global Arena.  By taking this gateway course, students move beyond the  fundamentals  of academic writing gained in SFS core courses and make progress in evaluating primary and secondary sources  and communicating science to non-scientists.

All STIA classes are expected to have at least one written assignment. Most classes have multiple writing assignments ranging from literature reviews to research proposals and full research papers to policy briefs, professional blogs and opinion pieces.

All STIA majors are required to complete either a STIA Senior Seminar or the STIA Honors Thesis Seminar. By completing this course, students are expected to generate original research questions, devise plans to test and prove their findings and present a convincing hypothesis to a diverse audience through a significant writing assignment.

Honors in the Major

Selection of honors candidates is based on a research proposal to be submitted in the spring of the junior year, meeting minimum grade point requirements of 3.5 overall and 3.67 within STIA at the time of graduation, and successfully completing a thesis on an approved topic judged to be of honors quality by a faculty committee.

For more details, contact the STIA Director or the current Director of the Honors Program.

Study Abroad

The STIA faculty strongly encourage students to spend meaningful time abroad.  STIA requirements mean that course work must be carefully planned to facilitate time away from campus.  Students are encouraged to speak early and often with their Curricular Dean and Faculty Advisor to plan course work and find the most personally meaningful study abroad programs.


The STIA major provides a natural option within the School of Foreign Service for students with an international outlook and an interest in the practice of medicine.  Students can complete most of the pre-med requirements as part of their STIA degree.  However, because of the rigor of both STIA and Pre-Med, students must work closely with their STIA faculty mentor, the GU Pre-Med Committee and the STIA Curricular Dean to ensure that all curriculum requirements are met through regular and summer classes.  Recent STIA graduates have been admitted to top medical schools including Georgetown, Columbia, John Hopkins, NYU, and Emory. Past graduates are practicing physicians and global health practitioners around the world.


The STIA major also provides a natural option for SFS students to pursue a career in engineering.  An engineering degree is available to Georgetown students through a 3-2 program with Columbia University.


It is possible for students who wish to pursue a modified version of one of the eight 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 on this process of "major substitution."  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 eight 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.


BSFS students are eligible to complete a language minor offered through Georgetown College.  Administration of language minors in the School of Foreign Service will follow the same process as the College.  Students should first consult the College section of the Undergraduate Bulletin for specific information about the minor they wish to pursue.

Guidelines for the language minor in the School of Foreign Service:

  • Courses may not double count with a student's major requirements.
  • Language courses for area certificates may double count with the minor.
  • For transfer credit within a minor (e.g. AP, study abroad, or non-GU credit) please consult the Undergraduate Bulletin.  In general, a student may count no more than 3 courses from outside Georgetown towards the minor and generally only 1 study abroad course.  
  • Oral proficiency courses in Spanish and French do not count towards a minor.

For all other questions please consult with your dean or the Director of Undergraduate Studies in the appropriate language department.

Minors include:

  • Arabic
  • Chinese
  • French and Francophone Studies
  • German
  • Greek (modern)
  • Hebrew
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Korean
  • Portuguese
  • Russian
  • Spanish

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 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 appear under the categories for those programs. 


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,” provided that there are no failing grades that semester.  Semester honors are recognized by a permanent notation on official transcripts.

Note:  "full-time" status for the purpose of computing honors requires that a student be enrolled in at least twelve credits of coursework for which quality points are awarded.  Pass/fail grades are not awarded quality points.

Upon graduation, final academic honors are determined by the cumulative GPA.  For information on Latin Honors please see the Undergraduate Bulletin section on Studying, Grades and Credit

Honors in the Majors

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

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.  Participation in the Krogh seminar is by application.  Students who successfully complete the seminar receive the Peter F. Krogh medal 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).

For detailed information on each of the honor societies open to School of Foreign Service students, please see the section “Honors and Awards” in the Undergraduate 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.

The School of Foreign Service offers undergraduates a wide range of fellowships and programs for research and study.  Undergraduates may pursue scholarships toward internships, travel for academic research, study abroad opportunities, economic conferences, and more.  For additional information please see the BSFS website.


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 a means for focusing interests and structuring elective course work.  Interested students should 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.

A list of certificates and programs 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 Diplomatic 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 Media and Politics (available to students in the School of Foreign Service in Qatar)
  • Certificate in Medieval Studies
  • Certificate in Religion, Ethics, and World Affairs
  • Certificate in Women’s and Gender Studies

Fellows Programs offer students an opportunity to further engage with faculty or conduct research:

  • Global Business Fellows
  • ISD (Institute for the Study of Diplomacy) Fellows in Diplomacy
  • Mortara Undergraduate Research Fellows  

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 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.


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 international study in conjunction with their educational program at the School.  In most cases students must be fully enrolled in a recognized foreign university and study 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, 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 programs combine a heavy emphasis on language acquisition with a limited selection of coursework in English, often with a regional focus.  The Office of Global Education has developed a range of study abroad programs that meet other needs, including intensive language study.

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 defined in the academic policies developed for each program by the Office of Global Education.  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 semester.
  • 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.
  • Students are expected to complete their language proficiency requirement before being approved for study abroad at an English language site, unless a student has received explicit approval from the SFS Standards Committee.  Any exceptions must be requested well in advance of any study abroad deadlines.  Students should work with their deans to initiate the process of seeking an exception.

For more detailed information on overseas study for undergraduate students in the School of Foreign Service, see the BSFS 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 may count graduate level courses toward 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 below multidisciplinary master's degree programs within the university:  

  • Master of Arts in Arab Studies
  • Master of Arts in Communication, Culture, and Technology
  • Master of Arts in German and European Studies
  • Master of Arts in Global, International, and Comparative History
  • 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 to 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 Graduate Bulletin for information and requirements of the master's programs.  Undergraduates may 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 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 an 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 requirements for Core Curriculum, Major, Language Minor, Certificate or Fellows programs must be taken for a letter grade.  Courses that 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 also be taken for a letter grade.
  5. Audited courses do not count toward the undergraduate 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 undergraduate degree.  Prior approval for such courses must be obtained from the SFS Dean’s Office.  Over the course of their undergraduate studies SFS students may take one non-Georgetown on-line course for credit.  Students must obtain prior approval from the Dean's Office to receive credit for a non-Georgetown on-line course.  
  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 must review that term's total course load with their Dean.  Depending on the circumstance, the student may be directed to take a leave of absence or be directed to enroll in a partial schedule.  
  13. Students must declare their intended major via the undergraduate major declaration process in the stipulated time frame or be subject to academic sanctions.  
  14. 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.


At the conclusion of each semester, 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 the 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 three courses of action:  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.


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, 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.