Prefrosh Preview: A guide to the School of Foreign Service
A strong core builds a strong degree, so they say
With a heavy load of core requirements, a hefty portion of the first two years of your SFS education will be dedicated to courses you have to take, meaning you’ll still be stuck in Comparative Political Systems while your friends in the College are taking drawing classes.
One of those classes is the proseminar. Freshmen SFS students takes this class—usually taught by a top professor—in the fall of their freshman years to help improve their writing and analytical skills.
Overall, the core consists of two classes in the government department (international relations and comparative political systems), three in the history department (one introductory course and two regional histories), and proficiency in a modern foreign language. And Vox gives our sincerest apologies to those of you who have spent countless years studying Latin—it counts for nothing in the SFS.
Perhaps to weed out those who don’t have strong enough constitutions for a degree from the SFS, all SFS students also are required to take four—yes, four—economics courses, including microeconomic principles and international finance.
“I’m sorry, I have to go participate in (insert major world event)”
This might not make up for those four econ classes, but the School of Foreign Service faculty does boast a number of professors who are very well known in the domestic and international policy realms. What follows is a partial list of professors you can brag about taking classes with, or theoretically having access to, to friends and family.
The current dean, Carol Lancaster, has served as deputy administrator for the U.S. Agency for International Development, and her predecessor, Robert Gallucci, currently runs the MacArthur Foundation. Other notable professors include former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, former National Security Council member Victor Cha, and former Special Envoy to Sudan Andrew Natsios. Tony Lake recently left his position at the SFS to become the UNICEF Executive Director, and former Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski is a former faculty member as well—one who still frequently visits campus.
“You mean you don’t know where Tuvalu is?”
Even though you’ll all take pretty much the same prerequisites, you may not all have the same tyrannical CPS professor. But, Map of the Modern World is the one class that unites all SFS students.
A one-credit course taken in the spring, Map has only one professor—currently James Reardon-Anderson, dean of the undergraduate program—and is typically offers only two sections, both large group lectures.
Although it is a requirement for graduation, some students are able to skip out of Map by passing an exemption test offered in the fall. Typically only a few students pass this test, but due to changes in the Map curriculum, a large number of the Class of 2013 gained exemption.
Bottom line: SFSers come out of Map knowing more about geography than most people reasonably need to know, but it might give you a slight edge when playing trivia.
How to be President 101
The SFS is the school to be in if your plan is to rule the world—or at least have an impact on politics.
The most notable alumnus of the SFS (and arguably of the entire University) is Bill Clinton (Class of ’68), the 42nd President of the United States. But he’s far from Georgetown’s only executive-level graduate. Others include the President of the European Commission José Durão Barroso (Class of ’87), former President of the Philippines and Clinton classmate Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (Class of ’68), and Illinois Governor Pat Quinn (Class of ’69).
Other famous alums include U.S. Army Chief of Staff George Casey (Class of ’70), former CIA Director George Tenet (Class of ’76), and former Secretary of State Alexander Haig (Class of ’61).