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Linfield College
- Linfield College
International Relations

Frequently Asked Questions

I.  “Double-dipping” 

Can I do an International Relations and Political Science double-major? 

No. Because of the overlap between requirements, you can major in either Political Science or International Relations but not both. 

Can I double-major with other disciplines?

Yes, this practice is encouraged. Given the language requirement of the major, 3 courses (up to 12 credits) can be counted toward both majors and you should check with your advisor(s) to ensure a proper course of study. 

Can I minor in IR and major in Political Science?  

Yes, but you can count no more than two POLS courses toward your major.  You must also take courses from at least two different departments and at least one additional 300 level course.  

Is it feasible to double-major with IR and another discipline and still graduate in 4 years?

That would depend on the chosen course of study, but in most cases it should be very feasible with advanced and careful planning.   

II. Study Abroad Requirement

Do I have to study a whole semester abroad?  

Yes, unless you are an international student.  International students who have come to the United States expressly to attend Linfield College have the option of: 1) studying abroad for a semester in another non-native country; or b) take 8 credits that are designated as U.S. Pluralisms courses.  These 8 credits are in addition to the requirements of the Linfield Curriculum. 

So January term study abroad courses do not count?

No. While relevant January term abroad courses count toward the major, they do not fulfill the study abroad requirement.

What if I take more than one January term study abroad course?  

In most cases, this still would not fulfill the study abroad requirement.  However, you can submit a written appeal that will be reviewed by the IR coordinator and other appropriate faculty to determine if an exception can be made.  

Do courses I take while studying abroad count toward the major?

Yes, so long as they are relevant to the major.  But be sure to bring the syllabus to the IR coordinator for approval.  

III. Language Requirements

How is “proficiency” measured?

Proficiency is measured according to a standard oral interview protocol that was established some 30 years ago by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) as a modification of the 0-5 rating system used by the Foreign Service Institute in Washington DC (and DLI in Monterey). Our department has depended on this protocol as a common metric for measuring the oral proficiency of our students. Most of us have been trained and certified as testers by ACTFL.

How does a “second year proficiency” differ from the BA requirements?

The Modern Languages Department at Linfield designs its entire curriculum with the ACTFL proficiency standards in mind. “Second year proficiency” assumes that our department’s second-year courses advance students along the proficiency scale, establishing them as solid Intermediate speakers. 

This requirement extends beyond that of the BA degree.  According the Linfield catalog, “Candidates for the BA degree must satisfy a foreign language requirement by successfully completing two semesters of study in one language at the elementary level (101, 102) for a total of eight credits, or one semester of an intensive elementary-level course for five credits (105), or one semester at or above 201, or RELS 200 and 201 (Greek), or RELS 202 and 203 (Hebrew) in the Religious Studies Department. Students entering from high school with language experience or transfer students who have not fulfilled the language requirement take a placement test to determine their appropriate class levels. No college credit for high school course work in language will be allowed without departmental evaluation of a student’s proficiency. Waiver of the language requirement is by examination.”

Do I have to be proficient in the same language spoken in the country I study abroad in?

Not necessarily, though this is the preferred standard.  Those studying in countries whose languages are not represented in the Linfield curriculum (e.g., Korea, Norway) cannot be expected to bring previous language knowledge to the table. Students with advanced proficiency in one foreign language who want to study in a country that speaks a different language should be able to justify their proposal to the director of the IR major.  

Does English count for the foreign language requirement for international or ESL students?

International students are already studying in a foreign language at Linfield. In almost all cases, the foreign language requirement is therefore met, so long as the student is demonstrably proficient in two separate languages.