foreign service

foreign service

foreign service: see diplomatic service; consular service.

The Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service (commonly abbreviated SFS) is a school within Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., United States. Jesuit priest Edmund A. Walsh founded the School of Foreign Service in 1919, recognizing the need for a school that would prepare diplomats and business professionals for America's expanding global involvement. The school predates the U.S. Foreign Service by six years.

Today, the school is home to over 1,900 students each year, representing over 70 nationalities. It offers a liberal arts undergraduate program, leading to the Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service, as well as six interdisciplinary graduate programs. Its faculty include many distinguished figures in international affairs, such as former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, former U.S. Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet, former President of Poland Aleksander Kwaśniewski, and former Prime Minister of Spain José María Aznar.

The School of Foreign Service is widely recognized as one of the nation's leading schools in international affairs and is sometimes referred to as the "West Point of the U.S. diplomatic corps. Foreign Policy magazine ranked the school's undergraduate program fourth in the nation and its master's programs first in the nation. Famous alumni include former U.S. President Bill Clinton, current Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, King Abdullah of Jordan, John Cardinal O’Connor, and Željko Komšić, Chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina.


The school has evolved from its original emphasis on diplomacy and law to become a center for research and teaching on global affairs. Faculty are today drawn from disciplines such as political science, history, economics and cultural studies, as well as from business, the non-profit sector and international organizations.

The school has about 1,500 undergraduates seeking a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service (B.S.F.S.) degree. The undergraduate program is intended to provide a liberal arts education in international affairs. In this regard, the SFS is not a pre-professional school. Undergraduates may concentrate in International Politics (IPOL), International History (IHIS), Culture and Politics (CULP), International Economics (IECO), International Political Economy (IPEC), Regional and Comparative Studies or Science, Technology, & International Affairs (STIA). The STIA program was the first of its kind. Harvard and Georgia Tech, among others, now have STIA programs as well.

Graduate students can pursue six graduate programs: four regional studies programs as well as the Master of Science in Foreign Service (MSFS) and the Master of Arts in Security Studies Program. Graduates go on to international occupations in the public and private sectors. Alumni include current (Jordan, the Philippines, and Bosnia), future (Spain), and recent past (United States) heads of state. The current dean of the school is Amb. Robert Gallucci. Notable faculty members at the Walsh School of Foreign Service or at Georgetown University include former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, former Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith, former Polish President Aleksander Kwaśniewski, former National Security Advisor Anthony Lake, Ambassador Donald McHenry, George Tenet, former Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister and current Malaysian Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim, former Dean Peter Krogh, former USAID head and Special Envoy for Sudan Andrew Natsios, and former Prime Minister of Spain José María Aznar.


Undergraduate programs

The School of Foreign Service's undergraduate program features a two-year core curriculum. This includes a proseminar, two philosophy courses, two theology courses, two humanities and writing courses, two government courses, three history courses (including two non-Western regional history courses), a four-course economics sequence, and Map of the Modern World. Students must also pass a foreign language proficiency exam.

Following completion of the core, students declare one of the following interdisciplinary majors:

  • Culture and Politics
  • International Economics
  • International History
  • International Political Economy
  • International Politics
  • Regional and Comparative Studies
  • Science, Technology and International Affairs (STIA)

In addition to their major, students may choose one of a number of certificate programs. These programs are African Studies, Arab Studies, Asian Studies, Australian & New Zealand Studies, European Studies, International Business Diplomacy, International Development, Islam & Muslim-Christian Understanding, Jewish Civilization, Justice & Peace Studies, Latin American Studies, Medieval Studies, Russian & East European Studies, Social & Political Thought, and Women's and Gender Studies.

Graduate programs

Graduate students can pursue six interdisciplinary graduate programs: four regional studies programs as well as the Master of Science in Foreign Service (MSFS) and the Master of Arts in Security Studies Program. The regional studies programs include Arab Studies, German & European Studies, Latin American Studies, and Russian & East European Studies.

In 2007, Foreign Policy magazine ranked SFS the best school for master's degrees in international affairs.


The School of Foreign Service has published the National Security Studies Quarterly since 1995. In addition to more general topics, the journal has a special focus on "military technical issues.

The school has published the Georgetown Journal of International Affairs semi-annually since 2000. Each issue includes a "Forum", containing in-depth analysis of particular issues, and nine regular sections. The Journal circulates nearly 5,000 copies of each issue.


The School of Foreign Service's main campus is in Washington, D.C. and it also has a branch at Education City in Doha, Qatar. Undergraduate students also have the opportunity to study at Georgetown's villas in Alanya, Turkey and Fiesole, Italy.

Main campus

Georgetown University's undergraduate campus and medical school campus are situated on an elevated site above the Potomac River, overlooking northern Virginia. The main gates, known as the Healy Gates, are located at the intersection of 37th and O Streets, NW. Georgetown University Medical Center is on a property adjacent to the northwestern part of the undergraduate campus on Reservoir Road, and is integrated with Georgetown University Hospital. Georgetown Visitation, a private Roman Catholic high school, is on land adjoining the main campus.

The main campus is just over 100 acres (0.4 km²) in area and includes 58 buildings, student residences capable of accommodating 80 percent of undergraduates, and various athletic facilities. Most buildings employ collegiate Gothic architecture and Georgian brick architecture. Campus green areas include fountains, a cemetery, large clusters of flowers, groves of trees, and open quadrangles. The main campus has traditionally centered on Dahlgren Quadrangle, although Red Square has replaced it as the focus of student life. Healy Hall, built in Flemish Romanesque style from 1877 to 1879, is the architectural gem of Georgetown's campus, and is a National Historic Landmark. Both Healy Hall and the Georgetown University Astronomical Observatory, built in 1844, are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

In late 2003, the school completed the Southwest Quadrangle Project, and brought a new student dorm, an expansive dining hall, an underground parking facility, and new Jesuit Residence to the campus. The school's first performing arts center, named for Royden B. Davis, was completed in November 2005, while longer-term projects include a self-contained business school campus, construction of a unified sciences center, and expanded athletic facilities.

Doha, Qatar

In 2002, the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development presented the School of Foreign Service with the resources and space to open a facility in the new Education City in Doha, Qatar. SFS-Qatar opened in 2005 as a liberal arts and international affairs undergraduate school for regional students.



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