Watson Institute at Brown University
International Relations


Steps Required to be Cleared for Graduation

I. 7-8th Semester Concentration Revisions and Study Abroad Credit

Students are required to update their concentration courses no later than the middle of eighth semester. This is mandated by the Registrar. It is the first step toward adding your name to the IR graduation list.


    1. ASK: UPDATE AND SUBMIT your course plan in ASK. This will show which requirements are being taken now and which are remaining for graduation.
           a. Complete the IR Study Abroad Concentration Approval form
           b. Meet with Prof Arreguin-Toft for final approval
               • Bring with you the completed Approval Form, course syllabi, coursework
           c. Upload the signed Approval Form to ASK
           d. Submit updated course plan in ASK


Do I have to have completed all requirements in order to revise my courseplan?
No, the purpose is to confirm which requirements, if any, are remaining.

Do I have to meet with Prof. Arreguin-Toft about study abroad approval, or can I just drop off the materials?
A meeting to confirm graduation status—10-minute max—is required.

Can I update my courses and submit in ASK even if I don’t have my study abroad paperwork?
Yes. After your transcript comes in, follow the instructions above and resubmit updates in ASK.

II. Capstone Catalog Entry—REQUIRED!

As you know, all IR students must complete a capstone project: a seminar paper (the most common option), an independent study project, or a 2-semester honors thesis. Our approved list of spring seminars will be posted closer to pre-registration.

As a friendly reminder, the capstone:

    • must be taken senior year
    • must incorporate research in two languages
    • must be taken for a letter grade

Capstones provide you with the opportunity to integrate and build upon what you have learned in the concentration while demonstrating intellectual creativity in solving problems and your ability to communicate effectively. We ask you to reflect on your time in IR at Brown and make some thoughtful decisions about your final project. What makes the project a capstone for you individually? Upon completion of the project, we ask that you consider what you have learned—about your topic, IR, and yourself as an IR student—and enter that information in the Capstone Catalog.


    1. Take your capstone course.
    2. Upon completion of the course, fill out the Capstone Catalog.

Capstone Title

Your capstone title is listed in the IR Diploma Ceremony program. It’s a fabulous way to display the interests of the senior class! Make sure your titles are creative and substantive!


Does my capstone have to be on a theme of my track or on the region I am using for IR?
No. For many students, this will happen organically—students with particular regional interests will likely write a paper on that region in a theme-based seminar. Alternatively, you may want to use your acquired knowledge in IR to explore a new theme or geographic region.

Do I have to do extra work in the seminar?
No, just complete the seminar research paper. The only difference is that we require documentation of research in two languages.

Research in two languages—what does that mean exactly?
You should read at least five pieces in the second language across several types of sources –a chapter in a book, a journal article, a newspaper article. You will document this in your footnotes and Works Cited.

What if my project doesn’t match my language—for example, I’m working on Latin America, but my language for IR is Chinese?
No problem! You can always find scholarly work and news articles in any language on any topic. Doing research in a different language can offer valuable new perspectives.

III. Research, Internships, & Study Abroad Form (RISA)—REQUIRED!

Prior to leaving Brown, we ask that you update us on your IR research experience outside of seminars (ISP, GISP, GLISP, UTRA), any internships you have had during your time at Brown (summer, winter, year-long), and where you studied abroad. Some of this information was provided when you filed IR—but two years later, much has changed!

The purpose is to get a better collective sense of the opportunities taken by each graduating class and to help us think about how the IR Program might expand opportunities going forward.