College adds new minors

December 7, 2016

Photo: Saman Asdjodi

On Dec.1, the university announced that the College of Arts and Sciences is set to add four new minors to the curriculum starting next semester. The new minors will be Creative Writing, Persian language, Turkish language, and Religion, Ethics, and World Affairs.

Classes students have already taken in these fields will count for the minors. “Each of these new minor programs builds on existing strengths, both in the College and across the university, and allows us to formally recognize the extraordinary work that students are already doing in these fields,” College Dean Chester Gillis wrote in an email to students in the College.

The Creative Writing and Religion, Ethics, and World Affairs minors will require applications, and the Creative Writing minor will admit a maximum of 20 students.

The minors required an extensive approval process. “The sponsoring faculty and department prepare a written proposal that includes a rationale, proposed requirements and curriculum, and funding and submit the written proposal to the College Executive Committee Steering Committee,” Ryan Kuchinski (COL ‘17), a student representative in the College Academic Council (CAC) wrote in an email to the Voice.

After submitting the proposals, a working group of faculty members and one student representative explored the logistics of the minors before the entire Executive Council voted to approve them.

The Creative Writing minor will only be available for students in the College who are not English majors. The course-load will consist of six classes, including two introductory classes, three advanced courses, and one capstone workshop.  

“Georgetown has a vibrant, but not always visible, community of creative writers,” David Gewanter, English professor and founding director of the Creative Writing minor, wrote in an email to the Voice. “Some have joined the creative writing club; many participate in the Lannan Program student seminar, its reading series, and its spring symposium; and all first-years read a novel together in the Marino program.”

“In the creative writing minor, students will read poems, fiction, and non-fiction closely, and develop their own texts in a workshop setting,” Gewanter wrote. “The minor will help writers work explore new topics and forms of writing, share their work with a community of peers, and pursue a longer project.”

The Persian and Turkish language minors will extend the current amount of foreign language minors in the college to 14. While the university already offers classes in both Persian and Turkish, only now can students receive credit in the form of a minor for their work.


“I think one of the business cards of this university is the quality of languages. My colleagues from other fabulous universities such as Columbia, Berkeley, UCLA, Stanford ask me for the new tools,” said Farima Mostowfi, director of Persian Language and Culture and founding director of the Persian language minor. “I think other universities expect that we offer more languages, more openings to the world. I think this is also a profile of our students, [they] chose this.”  

There are currently three seniors who will graduate with a minor in Persian in May 2017 as they have already earned the required amount of credit.

The university’s Turkish program is in a similar position as the Persian program. Over the 2015-16 academic year, there were 56 students enrolled in Turkish classes. As Turkish is a relatively uncommon language to study, Georgetown undergraduates make up between 5% and 10% of students enrolled in Turkish across the U.S.

The Religion, Ethics, and World Affairs minor is an extension of the certificate program previously available only to SFS students. The minor will consist of six classes, including a capstone seminar. The Religion, Ethics, and World Affairs minor is available through the Berkley Center, and is currently accepting applications for students to begin classes next semester.

There are no further plans to add more minors in the College. “No new minor proposals are on the agenda for review by the College Executive Council,” CAC President Casey Nolan (COL ’17) wrote in an email to the Voice.

The addition of these four minors brings the total in the College to 53.


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