Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs

IR and DS Undergraduate Programs Updated

February 15, 2011

The International Relations and Development Studies programs based at the Watson Institute have been restructured “to make these concentrations more streamlined, integrated, and better-suited to actual student interests,” according to Professor Mark Blyth, director of both programs.

The new IR curriculum is now based around two tracks: Security and Society, and Political Economy and Society. Both tracks have a common core of five requirements drawn from dedicated department-based courses that are designed with IR concentrators in mind. “What we are trying to do with the core is to introduce students to how different fields think about ‘the international,’” Blyth writes in an open letter to students. Additional requirements build upon this core, as do language requirements and seminars providing capstone learning experiences.

The new DS curriculum provides more choice in core courses and in the capstone experience, including such innovations as audio/video documentaries. “We strongly believe that such changes stand to make DS a concentration with an even stronger interdisciplinary and self-designed identity at Brown and internationally, while giving it even more rigor and competitive edge,” Blyth and DS Deputy Director Cornel Ban write in another open letter to students.

The IR and DS enhancements were announced following months of consultation with students and faculty and the deliberations of a committee – including students, faculty, and administrators – convened by the Dean of the College. An additional town hall meeting is to be held on the changes on Wednesday, February 15, at 6pm at the Watson Institute.

“This structure is more demanding, but it is also more rewarding. We truly believe that building upon our strengths at Brown we can create the very best, and uniquely so, IR and DS concentrations in the country,” Blyth writes.