Core Curriculum – Years 1 & 2

About the Core Curriculum

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.

Core Courses

In their first two years of study, students take the SFS Core consisting of Proseminar, Government, History, Economics, Science and Map of the Modern World, in addition to the university Core requirements of Theology, Philosophy, Writing, Humanities, Arts, Literature and Culture (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.  

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SFS Core Curriculum

The Core Curriculum must be completed in the first two years of studies. Certain courses are sequenced and must be taken at specific times.

Every student is required to take two courses in Writing and HALC

  • First course – WRIT 1145 (Fall Year 1) or WRIT 1155 (Fall Year 1)
  • Second course – WRIT 1165 (Spring Year 1) or other designated HALC* course
  • HIST 1099 – One introductory history course
  • HIST 1100:1999 – One survey history course
  • One additional history course above HIST 1100
    • one of the 3 courses must be designated as early history
  • THEO 1000 Problem of God (or THEO 1100 Introduction to Biblical Literature, if offered)
  • One other course with THEO prefix or attribute
  • PHIL 1900 Political and Social Thought
  • One other course with PHIL prefix or attribute
  • GOVT 1400 Comparative Political Systems (Spring Year 1)
  • GOVT 1600 International Relations (Fall Year 2)
  • ECON 1001 Principles of Microeconomics (Fall Year 1)
  • ECON 1002 Principles of Macroeconomics (Spring Year 1)

Choose one of the following as the third Economics course (IECO majors are required to take ECON 2543, ECON 2544, and MATH 1350 prior to starting the IECO major, so potential IECO majors are advised to take ECON 2543 or ECON 2544, and not ECON 2542, as the third economics course):

  • ECON 2543 International Trade (Fall Year 2)
  • ECON 2544 International Finance (Spring Year 2)
  • ECON 2542 International Economics (Fall Year 2)
  • Arabic and French course registration, and total number of courses, depends on placement.

Learn More About Modern Foreign Language through Oral Proficiency

(2 courses, double-count with other degree requirements) Courses that satisfy this requirement will be attributed accordingly.

  • Diversity Global (can be taken at any point in the degree program)
  • Diversity Local (can be taken at any point in the degree program)

Learn More about Engaging Diversity

  • INAF 1000  (Spring Year 1)
  • INAF 1010 (Fall Year 1)
  • Any course that is attributed accordingly
  • *Generally speaking, HALC courses cannot double count between the core and any other academic program.
  • **Failure to complete the core government sequence as described above will adversely affect a student’s ability to declare the IPOL major and/or register for upper-level courses in government and politics.
  • ***The downloadable core curriculum sheet serves as a guideline — some courses may alternate between fall and spring

Diversity Requirement

Students take two courses that explore concepts of difference and diversity. The goal of these courses, as noted on the College website, is to “prepare students to be responsible, reflective, self-aware and respectful global citizens through recognizing the plurality of human experience and engaging with different cultures, beliefs, and ideas.”

One course looks at domestic issues of diversity, which for the Qatar campus is defined as pertaining to the Arab World. The second course looks at global issues of diversity, which for the Qatar campus means looking at any region other than the Arab World.

These two diversity courses will double-count toward all other curriculum requirements, so they do not add to your total course and credit requirements for graduation. For example, a core history class or proseminar may also count as a diversity course. Major courses, certificate courses and free electives may also count as diversity courses. Courses that satisfy the diversity requirement will be attributed each semester in the schedule of classes. You can take these courses at any time before your graduation. You do not need to complete them in the first two years of study.

If you search the course schedule you will see the diversity-attributed courses identified as follows:

  • Diversity-Domestic: SFS-Q
  • Diversity-Global: SFS-Q

Foreign Language Proficiency

In order to earn the BSFS degree, every student in the School of Foreign Service must demonstrate that he or she has the minimum skills necessary to complete academic or professional work in a modern language other than English.

GU-Q offers language instruction in Arabic and French.  Students who do not have proficiency in a language other than English, or students who simply want to take advantage of the language instruction at GU-Q, enroll in Arabic or French language courses in the first semester at GU-Q.  Students who have some background in Arabic or French are required to sit for a placement exam to determine the appropriate course registration.  Students with no background in Arabic or French do not need to sit the placement exam and can enroll directly into Beginning Arabic or French. 

Students who have proficiency in a language other than Arabic or French may test in that language (for example, Urdu or Hindi), and if they pass the proficiency in that language, that language satisfies the language requirement for SFS. Students can then take Arabic or French as a third language if desired.

GU-Q students must plan carefully in advance to complete the language proficiency requirement.  Students must pass a language proficiency examination administered by Georgetown University faculty. Students who are studying French or MSA Heritage Arabic need the equivalent of seven semesters of university study in a foreign language in order to qualify for the examination (this includes six semesters of language instruction plus a post-advanced course).  Students in the Arabic Foreign Language (non-heritage) track take the equivalent of six semesters of university study (through ARAB 2217 Intensive 3rd Level Modern Standard Arabic 2) to qualify for the examination. 

The proficiency exam is evaluated on a pass/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.

GU-Q offers an Arabic Minor, which is an excellent opportunity to take advantage of GU-Q’s location in Qatar and pursue Arabic language study and proficiency.