The School of Foreign Service’s School Council voted unanimously to permit undergraduates to pursue any two minors or certificates offered by the university, beginning this fall.

The School Council, which oversees SFS educational policy, passed the proposal Jan. 17. The School Council vote was the final approval needed after the proposal to allow cross-school minors passed the SFS Faculty Council on Nov. 29.

The new policy marks a historic change for SFS undergraduate students. SFS students were unable to pursue a minor until a 2016 decision allowed SFS students to pursue language minors.

KIRK ZIESER/THE HOYA | Undergraduate students in the School of Foreign Service will be able to pursue cross-school minors starting this fall after a Jan. 17 vote by the SFS School Council.

However, certain restrictions still apply to the new proposal. SFS students will not be allowed to pursue minors in areas of study that overlap with their declared major or the core curriculum, according to Ines Oulamine (SFS ’20), vice president of the SFS Academic Council.

“For example, an IECO [international economics] major asking to minor in economics will not get approval to do so,” Oulamine wrote in an email to The Hoya.

As the new policy will take effect in the fall, members of the class of 2019 will not be able to complete cross-school minors. Members of other classes can apply classes taken before next fall toward potential minors, according to SFS Senior Associate Dean Daniel Byman.

Along with adding a science requirement for undergraduate SFS students, the council’s vote is part part of a greater schoolwide initiative in the SFS to restructure its curriculum.

Both intellectual and more practical motivations informed the council’s vote to approve the proposal possessed, Byman wrote in email to The Hoya.

“The minor is a more recognized credential than a certificate, and students believe it has more cachet, especially among employers,” Byman wrote. “As far as intellectual development, faculty and students believed that minors can complement the SFS degree well, strengthening students in new areas.”

Though the SFS Academic Council has long lobbied for cross-school minors, SFS faculty played an integral role in the new policy’s approval, according to Margaret Chappell (SFS ’19), president of the SFS Academic Council.

The approval for minors would not have happened without the strong support of the SFS deans and faculty,” Chappell wrote in an email to The Hoya. “The SFS Academic Council greatly appreciated their recognition of the importance of minors and their commitment to seeing this approval through.”

This decision comes as a long-awaited victory for SFS students, Oulamine wrote.

SFS students have been requesting minors for many years, so the final approval vote was a historic moment that Margaret and I were proud to be a part of,” Oulamine wrote.

This article was updated on Jan. 24.

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