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Watson Institute merges three concentrations after months of debate

Updated 10:15 p.m. May 1, 2019.

The Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs will officially merge its three undergraduate concentrations into a single International and Public Affairs concentration, the Institute announced Monday afternoon.

The new single concentration, which has been a source of controversy on campus, has been approved by the College Curriculum Council and will replace the International Relations, Development Studies and Public Policy concentrations.

The new concentration will require 11 courses, including a common core gateway lecture, seminars for juniors, capstone and thesis seminars and qualitative and quantitative methodology courses. Each of the concentration’s three tracks Policy and Governance, Development and Security will have its own foundational course and require concentrators to choose five electives from a variety of departments. “The electives provide the students the opportunity to focus on the country, region or issue...of their choice,” the announcement stated.

Concentrators will be able to use language study as a replacement for one of their two required methodology courses, if they choose. This is a departure from the current International Relations and Development Studies concentrations, which require concentrators take six semesters worth of a foreign language.

The Institute hopes to begin offering the new concentration in the Fall 2019 semester, The Herald previously reported. Current concentrators will be able to finish their current course of study, and students will still be able to declare for the existing concentrations while the new program is being phased in.  Through a gradual, multi-year transition process, International and Public Affairs will eventually replace Watson’s existing concentrations,” the statement read.

There will also be an increased range of senior capstone options, a lower advisor- to- student ratio and “expanded opportunities for research assistantships,” according to the final plan.


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