Watson Institute at Brown University
International and Public Affairs

Track Foundational Courses

Each track offers its own one-semester foundational course that all concentrators within the track must complete. Each foundational course provides a common set of questions, ideas, and perspectives that students can then use as a basis for their selection of electives. These courses also provide track participants with a sense of cohort with their peers in the concentration.  Students may take the foundational courses prior to declaring their concentration (i.e., as First Years and Sophomores). Students must complete the foundational course by the end of their sixth semester in residence.

  • Foundational courses cannot be substituted.
  • It is recommended to take the foundational course in semester 01, 02, 03, or 04.
  • Electives and seminars cannot be used to fulfill foundational requirements.
  • Refer to the courses page for a current list of founational course options.


IAPA 0200 Foundations of Development 

This course presents an interdisciplinary approach to the study of development. The course examines what constitutes development from a variety of different disciplinary perspectives, and the course examines how and in what context the term “development” itself has evolved over time. The goal of this course is to provide students an intellectual and conceptual grounding for study a variety of issues surrounding development, whether in the global North or South. 

Policy & Governance

IAPA 0110 Introduction to Public Policy

This course provides an overview of policymaking and policy analysis in the contemporary United States and other comparative settings. The course begins with an examination of traditional justifications for government action. It then examines the discipline of policy analysis that has arisen to design and evaluate public policies. It also considers critiques of the rational method and ask questions about how policy expertise fits into the political system. The course ends with classic works on organizations and implementation.


IAPA 1200 Foundations of Security

This course presents an interdisciplinary approach to the study of security. This means we examine the notion of what constitutes security from a variety of disciplinary perspectives that may not always agree or overlap. Specifically, in addition to political science, the course draws on recent work in evolutionary psychology, biological anthropology and behavioral economics to examine existing problems, issues and questions in security studies. The goal of this course is to investigate the extent to which various disciplinary models and methods can help to further inform or develop the study of security. Substantive applications include a wide variety of empirical methods.