This is the syllabus from the last time that I taught INR 3603 (Theories of International Relations) at Florida State University. There is no direct equivalent to this course at the University of North Texas, so I probably won't teach this course again. Parts of this course may end up in PSCI 3810 (International Relations), though, because that's a 3000-level course at UNT -- while the Introduction to IR course at FSU was a 2000-level course.

INR 3603: Theories of International Relations

Dr. Paul Hensel
Phone: 644-7318
Office: 563 BEL

Course Description

The primary purpose of this course is to examine theoretical efforts to understand the core concepts, issues, and processes of international relations. This is not a course in current events, although a working knowledge of current events will add substance to some of the readings and topics, and several short assignments will require students to read a newspaper that covers international events. The first segment of the course considers what a "theory" is and how we evaluate theories. Later sections of the course apply this general knowledge to a number of theories of foreign policymaking, international conflict, and international economics. The theories covered are based on a wide range of levels of analysis, and reflect multiple world views.

Upon completion of this course, students should have a strong basic knowledge of theories of international relations and an ability to understand and evaluate theories. The course will require a range of readings, regular attendance and class participation, and efforts to understand and evaluate theories through quizzes, several short papers, and two exams.

Required Texts

Three books are required for this course. Each should be available at either the FSU Bookstore or any Bill's Bookstore location, as well as at online bookstores such as and

Course Requirements

(1) Examinations: two noncumulative essay exams are required. Each exam will be worth 35% of the total course grade.

(2) Writing Assignments: one short writing assignment and one longer paper are required. The short assignment involves the development of a theory of international relations from a current newspaper story, while the longer paper will involve examining a scholarly article in more depth. Each paper will be due at the beginning of class (papers turned in once lecture has begun will be assessed a late penalty); the short paper will count for 5% of the total course grade, and the longer paper will count for 15%.

(3) Preparation, Attendance, and Participation: Students are required to complete the assigned readings before class, attend class regularly, and participate actively in class discussion. Class preparation will be measured through approximately six to ten (unannounced) quizzes given at the very beginning or ending of class periods, which together will be worth 10% of the total course grade; each student's quiz grade will be determined by dropping the lowest quiz score.

Rest of Syllabus

The remainder of the syllabus -- course rules, notes about the academic honor code and the Americans with Disabilities Act, assigned readings, and details about the writing assignments -- is only available in the complete syllabus (in PDF format). Be sure to print out that complete syllabus and be familiar with it, so that you do not fall behind or miss any assignments during the semester.

Assigned Readings

The assigned readings for this course are listed in the PDF-format syllabus. This section only includes links to online readings, to make it easier for students to acquire these readings. Be sure to print these readings early in the semester. Web pages are often moved or deleted during the semester, and even for stable addresses like JSTOR articles you may not have power or Internet access when you need it; the instructor of this course will not be responsible if you waited too long and couldn't access a key reading the day before a quiz.
Last updated: 4 July 2008
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