Approved by Faculty Senate
University Studies Course Approval Submission
Political Science Course Proposal
1. Department or Program: Political Science
2. Course Number: 130
3. Semester Hours: 3
4. Frequency of Offering: Every semester, 2 sections of 50 students each
5. Course Title: Introduction to International Relations
6. Catalog Description: A general introduction to the major concepts and theories
employed to analyze world affairs and the behavior of major actors involved in
international relations, such as states, multinational corporations, individuals, and
7. This is an existing course previously approved by A2C2.
8. This is not a new course proposal.
9. University Studies Requirement this course would satisfy: Social Science
10. Department Contact Person: Yogesh Grover, 457-5414; firstname.lastname@example.org
11. Course Outcomes:
a. Understand humans as
individuals and as parts of larger social systems: The
Introduction to International Relations course familiarizes students with the interactions
among states. These interactions involve the activity of individuals, groups of individuals,
and international organizations, all of which affect and shape state outcomes in the
international arena. Students come to understand the importance of state sovereignty, but
also limitations on that sovereignty.
b. Understand the historical
context of the social sciences: This course exposes
students to the historical context of the study of international relations. In this course,
students come to understand that scholars and practitioners of international relations
have had very different foci, depending on their historical concerns and interests. As one
example, students are challenged to understand the differences between the Cold War
and the Post-Cold War contexts, which difference is so important to understanding
international relations today.
c. Identify problems and frame
research questions relating to humans and their
experience: In this course, students analyze the major problems of international relations,
and understand the relevance of these problems to the lives and experiences of humans.
For example, students discuss issues such as global warming and the dangers posed to
the environment today; and conflict and war, and whether the world is becoming more
or less peaceful. They are asked to consider what states should do about such problems,
and thereby develop a deeper understanding of these issues.
d. Become familiar with the process of
theory-building and theoretical frameworks
used by the social sciences: This course spends considerable time introducing students to
the central concepts and theories used in the field of international relations. Students
come to understand how to analyze interstate relations; they develop the vocabulary
necessary to discuss the relations between states; they see the different conclusions drawn
by theorists and the relevance of theory to drawing such conclusions.
e. Understand research methods used in
the social sciences: Students are assigned
a number of different papers to write in this course. In writing these assignments, students
learn the research methods used in the social sciences.
f. Describe and detail discipline-specific
knowledge and its applications: Lectures and
course activities introduce students to discipline-specific knowledge and its applications.
For example, in an international politics simulation, students practice diplomacy, engage in
interstate trade relations, exercise the use of force, make decisions in crisis situations -- in
effect, they put into practice the many concepts and outcomes they have been studying
throughout the semester.
g. Understand differences among and
commonalities across humans and their experience:
This course helps students understand the commonalities that humans share as individuals organized
into, and having the interests and goals of, states. It also helps students to understand the differences
between states, which result from the differences among humans. How states attempt to build on
these similarities and negotiate conflicts that arise from these differences are important concerns in
this course, and for the study of international relations.
Sample Syllabus Attached
Political Science 130 Sample Syllabus
This course is an introduction to the study of international politics. The purpose is
students to some of the central issues which drive debates in this field, such as: With the end
of the Cold War, can we expect relations between states to become more, or less, cooperative?
Is the world becoming more interdependent, and, if so, what significance does this have for
understanding the relations between states? What is the role of international organizations?
We will begin by examining the conflicting approaches and concepts used to study
politics. Then we will look at conflict and order in international politics, by considering three
major topics: war, economics, and international organizations. The goal of this course is to teach
students to think, speak, and write intelligently and critically about the issues of international politics.
University Studies: Social Science Course:
This course will satisfy three semester hours of the six-semester hour requirement for
in the university studies program. As such, it provides students taking this course the opportunity to
achieve the following outcomes:
a. understand humans as individuals and as parts of larger social systems;
b. understand the historical context of the social sciences;
c. identify problems and frame research questions relating to humans and their experience;
d. become familiar with the process of theory-building and theoretical frameworks used by the
e. understand the research methods used in the social sciences;
f. describe and detail discipline-specific knowledge and its applications;
g. understand differences among and commonalities across humans and their experience.
The texts for the course are:
The Contours of Power: An Introduction to Contemporary International Relations by
Donald M. Snow and Eugene Brown
Conflict After the Cold War: Arguments on Causes of War and Peace edited by Richard K. Betts
"Nations: A Simulation Game in International Politics," by Michael Herzig and
PEW Case Studies in International Affairs
World Politics 00/01 edited by Helen Purkitt
There are also a number of supplementary readings. These are required as well,
and are noted
in the schedule with an asterisk.
There will be 2 in-class debates; 3 short papers; and a game. In addition, there will
group discussions, which will be counted as participation.
Short papers: These will be thought papers, meant to help you organize and reflect
on the readings.
They are to be concise, 1-3 pages in length each, to guide your contribution to classroom discussion.
One of the papers will be on mandatory topics; the other two you may choose from a number of
topics the instructor will give you.
Debates: These will be in-class discussions on a particular topic; see
"Schedule of Classes" below.
In addition to group argument, each member will turn in a 1-page outline of the argument the group
could be expected to make.
Game: This is a simulation of the operations of international politics. Each
student will be a member
of a state, and have responsibilities for conducting negotiations and resolving disputes with the
representatives of other states. Grading will depend on the number of points each state accumulates
during the course of the game.
The grading distribution will be as follows:
Short papers 20% each, total 60%
Debate/outline 15% each, total 30%
Schedule of Classes:
Week 1 The International System: Many of the fundamental concepts are
introduced in this section.
Upon reading these chapters, students begin to understand how to analyze interstate relations; and
they begin to develop the vocabulary necessary to discuss relations between states.
Readings: Snow/Brown, Intro, Chapters 1, 2, 3
Week 2 Realism and Idealism: In this section of the course, students
understand the differences
between the two major theoretical frameworks used to study international politics. They see the
different conclusions drawn by theorists, and the relevance theory has to outcomes in the world.
Readings: Carr, "Realism and Idealism," in Betts
Blainey, "Power, Culprits, Arms" in Betts
Waltz, "Origins of War," in Betts
Carr, "The Limits of Realism," in Betts
Week 3 Readings: Kant, "Perpetual Peace," in Betts
Bull, "Society and Anarchy," in Betts
Doyle, "Liberalism," in Betts
Keohane/Nye, "Power and Interdependence" in Betts
Kober, "Idealpolitik," in Betts
Social Science Learning Outcomes: a, b, d, e, f
Week 4-5 Conflict and International Politics: In this section, students
begin to study conflict, and how
conflict has changed in the post-Cold War world.
Readings: Snow/Brown, Chapters 5, 6, 7, 11
Jervis, "Security Dilemma," in Betts
Tharoor, "Civil Conflict," in Purkitt
Friedman/Ranonet, "Dueling," in Purkitt
Week 6-8 Nuclear Weapons and Conflict: In this section, students are
introduced to state use of force,
and limits on the use of force. They begin to understand the importance of the existence of nuclear
weapons; the differences between defense, offense, and deterrence; and the problems with
proliferation and the existence of nuclear weapons in the post-Cold War world.
Readings: Week 6:
Mearsheimer, "Miss the Cold War," in Betts
Waltz, "Spread of Nuclear Weapons," in Betts
Powalski, "Nuclear Menace," in Purkitt
Johnson, "Troubled Treaties," in Purkitt
Singh, "Nuclear Apartheid," in Purkitt
Economist, "Bombs, Gas," in Purkitt
*Roland, "Keep the Bomb"
*Rotblat, "A Nuclear-Weapon-Free-World"
Social Science Learning Outcomes: a, b, c, d, e, f
Week 9 UN and Dispute Settlement: Students study the role of the U.N. in
What are the alternatives that states have to the use of force?
Snow/Brown, Chapter 13
Falk, "New Interven'ism," in Purkitt
Butler, "Repairing SC," in Purkitt
Daalder/O'Hanlon, "Kosovo," in Purkitt
Shearer, "Outsourcing War," in Purkitt
Halliday, "UN's WMD," in Purkitt
Week 10 Readings:
*Haynes/Stanley, "UN Fire Brigade"
*Hillen, "Policing the New World Order"
Social Science Learning Outcomes: a, b, d, e, f
Week 11 Interdependence and Peace: Students begin to study international
economy, i.e., the relationship between international politics and economics. They
study the major theories used in international politics to study IPE: liberalism,
mercantilism, and economic structuralism. Once again, it is emphasized that theory
has an effect on the actions that states take. In addition, students learn about the
activities of international organizations, such as the World Trade Organization.
Snow/Brown, Chapter 9
Angell, "Great Illusion," in Betts
Blainey, "Paradise," in Betts
Waltz, "Structural Causes," in Betts
Rosecrance, "Trade and Power," in Betts
Social Science Learning Outcomes: a, b, c, d, f, g
Week 12 Economic Issues: In this section of the course, students are
one of the most important conflicts in international politics: the North-South debate.
They understand the issues and divisions between the wealthy developed states and
he poor developing states.
Snow/Brown, Chapter 8
Milner, "IPE," in Purkitt
Palley, "NIEO," in Purkitt
Stiglitz, "New Agenda," in Purkitt
Sachs, "World's Poorest," in Purkitt
Social Science Learning Outcomes: a, b, c, d, e, f, g
Week 13 Human Rights: Students begin to study the issue of human rights.
that this issue was not always a concern for states; they learn that states have varying
interpretations of human rights, which complicates this issue; they are introduced to new
developments in international law which affect state treatment of persons.
Thucydides, Melian Dialogue," in Betts
*Tonelson, "Jettison the Policy"
*Posner, "Rally Round the Human Rights"
*Manasion, "HR Law"
Snow/Brown, Chapter 14
Social Science Learnng Outcomes: a, b, c, e, f, g
Week 14 Game: This is a complex simulation of international relations, which requires
students to put into practice many of the concepts they have learned. Students represent
states, and engage in trade negotiations, dispute settlements, multilateral conferences, and the like.
Social Science Learning Outcomes: f, g
Week 15 Global Commons and Conflict: In this section, students come to
understand the problems
affecting the global environment, such as global warming, protection of the marine environment,
transboundary pollution, etc. Once again, students discover that the North and the South have
different approaches to these issues, and students learn to appreciate these differences.
Snow/Brown, Chapter 10
*Glantz, "The Global Challenge"
*Gelbspan, "A Global Warning"
*Brown, "Sustainable Economy"
*Greenhouse, "Greening of U.S. Diplomacy"
*French, "New Global Partnership"
*Simon, "More People, Healthier"
*Segal, "Environmental Rhetoric"
Social Science Learning Outcomes: a, b, c, d, e, f, g