The School of Foreign Service is celebrated as a unique undergraduate school that offers students a chance to specialize in an internationally focused education — but at what point do structure and course requirements become too constricting?
The SFS offers seven majors and 15 certificates. Unlike the three other schools in the university’s undergraduate program, however, the SFS curriculum does not allow its students to select minors from other schools.
The most common complaint among SFS students is their inability to minor in languages, even if the school values foreign language fluency through its proficiency certification requirements. Many students lament the fact that being labelled as proficient doesn’t adequately reflect the amount of work that goes into reaching such a high level of fluency. A minor, many say, looks better on a transcript.
And for those students who take the initiative to pursue more extensive coursework in sciences like chemistry, the SFS does not acknowledge the extra effort on the students’ degree.
Whether for languages or sciences, a minor would reward years of hard work with the credit students deserve.
Of course, students may independently highlight their forays into other disciplines on a resume or in other relevant application materials. Still, the lack of minors in addition to the existing SFS concentrations may discourage students from specializing in the first place.
There is no apparent reason for the university to deny awarding minors in language courses and other applicable subject areas. Every academic year, many SFS students take enough classes in outside disciplines to declare what would be a minor under all other undergraduate schools’ standards. But in a slight to the hard work of students who ought to be rewarded for their intellectual curiosity, the SFS formally recognizes only those programs that lie within its boundaries. For SFS students, it’s high time for justification, if not a revision, of this policy.
To send a letter to the editor on a recent campus issue or Hoya story or a viewpoint on any topic, contact [email protected]. Letters should not exceed 300 words, and viewpoints should be between 600 to 800 words.