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The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

SFS Announces Major Changes to Core Curriculum

Significant changes to the School of Foreign Service core curriculum are set to go into effect for students entering in fall 2018, including a new mandatory science course and a reduction in the number of required economics courses.

Daniel Byman, senior associate dean for undergraduate affairs, detailed the modifications in the school’s core requirements in a schoolwide email sent Feb. 28. These changes include the implementation of a mandatory natural science course, a reduction in the number of required major courses to 8 to 10 from 10 to 12, a reduction of the economics requirement to three courses from four and a reduction in the number of three or more-credit courses needed to graduate to 38 from 40. The overall credit requirement will still remain at 121 credits.

These changes will not affect current undergraduate students in the SFS and transfer students entering during the 2018-2019 academic year.

With the reduced number of required economics classes, SFS students will still have to take “Principles of Macroeconomics” and “Principles of Microeconomics.” “International Finance” and “International Trade”, previously taught as separate courses, will be combined into one class for SFS students. However, students majoring in international economics or global business will be required to take the courses separately for these classes to fulfill their major requirements.

The changes to the curriculum mark the first time in the school’s nearly 100-year history that SFS students will be required to take a science course. Previously, only SFS students pursuing the science, technology and international affairs major had a science requirement.

SHEEL PATEL FOR THE HOYA The core curriculum of the SFS will change to now include a science requirement and require students take fewer courses overall. The announcement comes after discussions began last year.

Mark Giordano, the program director for the STIA major in the SFS, said this change has been long overdue.

“Science really is a critical part of international relations and life in general. Making sure our students have the exposure and background to know how to approach science issues after they graduate is our responsibility,” Giordano said. “From a purely practical point of view, you can’t go to an employer and brag that you never took science in college.”

SFS students will be allowed to take any undergraduate science course on campus to fulfill the requirement, according to the dean’s office. SFS also plans to offer new courses with policy related themes, which will be organized around pressing topics rather than traditional academic disciplines. Possible courses include “The Science of Global Infectious Diseases,” “The Science of Weapons of Mass Destruction” and “The Science of Climate Change.”

Byman said these science course offerings will be distinct from current policy classes within the SFS.

“To be literate on a serious policy issue, you have to know the science behind it. The policy is the way of focusing the class’ attention, but we are really trying to make sure this is a science class and not a policy class,” Byman said in an interview with The Hoya.

Unlike the College’s science and math requirement, the SFS’s requirement cannot be fulfilled by Advanced Placement credit from high school or by Georgetown courses such as statistics or computer science, according to Byman.

Before these changes, the SFS core curriculum consisted 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 course “Map of the Modern World.”

Though the new science core course will add an additional requirement for SFS students to fulfill, the net number of courses will drop as a result of the changes in economics and major requirements.

Roopa Mulpuri (SFS ’18), SFS Academic Council President, said the best part of the new core curriculum is the increased flexibility for students to take more courses they are passionate about.

“The decrease to the number of courses for majors across the board I see, in particular, as an advantage,” Mulpuri said. “It gives students more opportunity to try out different concentrations in some fields and majors before making a decision.”

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