The School of Foreign Service is planning to introduce a science requirement into its core curriculum and reduce the number of major course requirements beginning with the Class of 2022, according to SFS Senior Dean for Undergraduate Affairs Daniel Byman.
The changes are set to be announced by the SFS Dean’s Office in late 2017 or early 2018. The specific details of the implementation of each requirement need to be decided before the official announcement.
The Dean’s Office is also considering reducing the number of required economics courses from four to three and giving students the ability to count one- or four-credit classes toward their graduation requirements.
The Dean’s Office may consider adding new minors after these changes are announced.
Senior Dean for Undergraduate Affairs Daniel Byman said these changes resulted from several rounds of talks with members of the Georgetown community in addition to multiple external and internal reviews of the SFS curriculum.
“We put together some proposals and those were vetted through different bodies, including students, alumni, faculty and staff,” Byman said in an interview with The Hoya. “Now we’re in the stage of putting very specific flesh on these proposals.”
The SFS core curriculum currently consists of one freshman proseminar, two humanities or writing courses, two theology courses, two engaging diversity courses, two government courses, three history courses, four economic courses, two philosophy courses, a language proficiency requirement and the one-credit “Map of the Modern World.”
Students are required to gain proficiency in a language before graduating.
The Dean’s Office has yet to decide the exact number of courses to be cut.
Byman said he thinks the most exciting change would be allowing one- or four-credit courses to count toward graduation, which would give students the ability to take a greater variety of elective classes.
“The thing that gets less attention is allowing the one credit classes to count,” Byman said. “What that means is that you can have lots of different types of SFS classes or classes in general.”
SFS Academic Council President Devika Ranjan (SFS ’17) said the science requirement would be designed to align with other internationally oriented SFS core classes and a hard science course like chemistry or biology.
Currently, only students pursuing the science, technology and international affairs major have a science requirement.
“There will also be a ‘science’ requirement — but one that is relevant to SFS, so similar to a STIA class,” Ranjan wrote in an email to The Hoya. “One that is interdisciplinary between science — the environment, geography, etc. — and international affairs.”
While there are no new minors under consideration for the time being, Ranjan said the Jan. 2017 announced Design Your Own Certificate program, which allows students to design a certificate with a dean they select in the SFS, is a way for potential minors to eventually be considered.
According to Ranjan, if enough students register in a certain category, then the Dean’s Office may consider making the new program applicable to the Class of 2019 onward, full-time.
“There are ‘Design Your Own Certificates’ for the Class of 2019 onwards,” Ranjan wrote. “These certificates should be in a field that is markedly different from a student’s major. This is a great opportunity to show the administration interest in certain fields that we want to formalize minors in.”
Taylor Oster (SFS ’17), development and fundraising committee chair for the SFS academic council, said that developing new curriculum requires a balance between innovation and not adding too many core requirements.
“We can’t just keep adding core requirements, so where do we make changes?” Oster said. “The important thing to remember is that with curricular reform we’re trying to make the kind of education you receive from the SFS more applicable to what you will be doing when you leave Georgetown.”
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