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Geneva Study Group

Director Spring 2016: Associate Professor Ed Fogarty, Department of Political Science


Colgate University’s Geneva Study Group is a spring semester program in Geneva, Switzerland that allows a small group of students, in the main concentrators in political science, international relations, PCON, and history to explore international and European governmental and non-governmental organizations; European politics, culture, history, and thought; and international and pan-European law and courts.

Students will take a month-long intensive French course in Montpellier, France; will complete two semester-long courses and a thirteen-week part-time internship in an international governmental or non-governmental organization (IGO or INGO) while residing in Geneva; and will take part in two group field trips each a week or longer in Western and Central Europe (including a visit to the extermination camps of Auschwitz and Birkenau).  The month-long intensive French course will take place in January and course work and internships in Geneva will begin in mid-February and end in early/mid-June.

Each of the two seminar-style courses meets one-day per week with the four-day per week internships taking place in either the morning or afternoon.  One of the courses will be held at the Cité Universitaire de Genève and the other at the IHEID - Graduate Institute.  Students will be housed in single rooms at the Cité Universitaire.  While in residence in Geneva, an integral part of the curriculum will be group visits to international organizations in and around the city.

Students participating in this study group will be eligible to satisfy the Core Global Engagements requirement.


FREN 122Y, FREN 200, OR FREN 300 (TBD)
In January, each student will take part in a month-long intensive French language program that will be located in Montpellier, France on the Mediterranean coast.  Students will be housed, in most cases in doubles, in home-stays with French families.  During this month, students will be able to improve their French language skills while, more importantly, immersing themselves in French culture as they come to understand the rhythms and norms of their host French family, and get to know other European students.  Students will be enrolled, graded, and given credit for a course in keeping with their level of competence in French: FREN 122Y, 200, or for the most advanced students, FREN 300.

POSC 357Y: International Institutions (Prof. Fogarty)
In this course, you’ll explore the theoretical literature on international governmental and non-governmental organizations before taking advantage of being in Geneva to study and visit some of the world’s premier IGO’s and INGO’s including, but not limited to, the International Committee on the Red Cross, the World Trade Organization, the American Mission to the United Nations, Doctors Without Borders, and the United Nations in Geneva and some of its agencies, including the UN High Commission for Refugees and the Human Rights Council. Central to the mission of the course are two long group trips to visit and tour prominent international institutions in Western and Central Europe as well as visiting twentieth-century locales that help students in making sense of the post-WWII world and the transition in the East from Communism to free market economies.

Second course in POSC: (TBD)

POSC 409: Study Group Sponsored Internship (arranged by our Geneva internship coordinator)
In mid-February, students will be placed in semester-long part-time internships in international governmental and non-governmental organizations resident in Geneva. These internships, to the degree possible, will be chosen based on each student’s interests and will be ar-ranged in advance of their arriving in Geneva. Work in these organizations complements coursework in POSC 357Y and group travel undertaken during the semester. Discussion of the internship experience and short writing assignments will be required for completion of this course which will be graded on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis while providing one university credit toward graduation (but not towards the completion of their major concentration).

Field Trips

Group photo by the seaTwo long group trips will complement and build upon the course work and internships undertaken in Geneva. The first of the trips is likely to be the shorter and more leisurely of the two and will be to Western Europe with visits to Strasbourg, Luxembourg, The Hague, Brussels, and Paris. We will visit the major international and European Institutions headquartered in each of these cities. For example, among its many international organizations, Strasbourg is host to the Council of Europe, the European Parliament, and the Europe-an Court and Commission for Human rights. Our longer, more demanding (including overnight train travel), and likely, second trip will be to Central Europe with visits to Berlin, Prague, Krakow and Auschwitz, Vienna, Budapest and, time permitting, on our return, to Munich. During this trip, our goal will be to understand better the major international organizations housed in these cities and, as well, to gain a sense of how “Westernization,” economic liberalization, and democratization after the fall of communism is advancing in central Europe. Students will take part on each trip in educational tours, occasional lectures, and institutional presentations, but there will also be some free time during each visit to explore cultural landmarks and enjoy recreational activities. Of course, being situated in Geneva, in the very heart of Europe, and having purchased two- or, more likely, three-month rail passes, each member of the Study Group will also have an excellent opportunity to travel on three-day weekends independently or in small groups.

Library Facilities

Students will have access and borrowing privileges at the libraries of the IHEID - Graduate Institute and other universities in Geneva. Access can also be arranged to the various libraries housed in Geneva’s numerous international organizations, and the United Nations Library collection containing nearly two million volumes.

Selection Criteria and Prerequisites

Students with their baggage posing by a statueIt is expected that most participants will be sophomores in the fall semester of 2014. Juniors are also invited to apply, but the Group’s schedule will likely interfere with their participating in Graduation ceremonies in May 2016. First-year students will also be considered, but only under exceptional circumstances are they likely to be selected. Students need not be political science or international relations concentrators, but completion of POSC 152 or 232 and, at minimum, FREN 121, are required of all accepted students. These courses can, however, be taken during the fall 2015 semester by a student provisionally accepted to the Study Group. Courses in modern European politics and history are highly recommended, and ECON 151 or 249 might also prove useful.

Non-Colgate students must be able to demonstrate competence in the prerequisite courses through courses taken at another institution that are specifically approved by the Director of the Geneva Study Group. As well, they must have achieved a grade point average of at least 3.3 and must enroll as visiting students at Colgate while abroad with the Geneva Study Group.


For details of student expenses on this study group, please see Student Cost Estimate Sheets.

Calendar and Deadlines

All students interested in applying should plan on attending one of the informational sessions. The dead-line for applications to the Spring 2016 Geneva Study Group is Friday, November 7, 2014. Applications are on the Colgate University Off-Campus Study/International Programs’ website and are submitted online. After submitting your application, please be sure to sign up in the political science department office (Persson 126) for an interview time. Interviews will be scheduled. Student notification of selection will occur in late December 2014.

Passports and Visas

You must confirm that your passport is valid through December 2016. All students participating on the Geneva Study Group will be required to obtain a Swiss student visa. With participation on this study group comes the responsibility of understanding and complying with Swiss government visa requirements. If you will not be traveling on a U.S. passport it is imperative that you contact an adviser in Off-Campus Study/International Programs, 101 Lathrop, and International Student Services, 103C Lathrop Hall, to learn as much as you can about the regulations. For some students there are significant visa requirements to be met that take time, advance planning, and incur extra costs.

Program Dates

Anticipated Geneva Study Group program dates: early January — early to mid-June, 2016

Informational Sessions

  • Wednesday, October 15, 2014 at 6:00 p.m.
  • Monday, October 20, 2014 at 6:00 p.m.
All informational sessions will be held in 108 Persson Hall

More Information

Student group photo in white jacketsFor more information, contact Ed Fogarty, 137 Persson Hall 315-228-7297 or efogarty@colgate.edu

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General Information