What is Coherence?

Coherence, as defined by the International Plan, refers to the relationship between the destination/s chosen to complete the minimum 26 weeks international experience, the language chosen to satisfy the language requirement, and the appropriateness to the student’s discipline.  While some students plans are inherently coherent though language and culture, other students may choose to structure their plan with an intellectually coherent approach.

There are two basic types of coherence for purposes of the IP:

  1. Linguistic coherence – The language used to satisfy the language requirement is the same as the national language of the country/ies used to satisfy the two-term minimum 26-week international experience requirement.
  2. Intellectual coherence* – The international destinations chosen to fulfill the international experience requirement might not share the same language or culture but are appropriate choices for a student in his/her particular field.  Students going abroad on the sole basis of intellectual coherence must be studying and/or working with a specific aspect of their field in both terms abroad.  For example:

a. INTA student wishing to study the British influence in the politics of Commonwealth nations, studies abroad on exchange to Australia, including at least one course on Australian history and politics, and completes an internship in India with a political organization.  Capstone project/paper also focuses on Commonwealth politics.
b. ISYE student who interns in logistics hub in Dubai and spends a summer abroad on the Beijing/Singapore Program taking coursework in logistics & manufacturing.   Capstone would include a supplemental research paper on how processes for his/her project compare in the countries where s/he studied and interned.

*Plans for students that are characterized solely by intellectual coherence must have their plan approved by their IP Faculty Representative.  Students should include a copy of their argument for intellectual coherence when they complete their International Experience Approval Form before going abroad for the first time.  It is expected that students will satisfy the IP language requirement with a non-English language consistent with one of the international destinations used to satisfy the minimum 26 weeks international experience. See the Program Requirements for more information about the IP language requirement.