PSCI 3810: Introduction to International Relations
Spring 2017

Dr. Paul Hensel
Office: 165 WH (hours: MW 9-10, F 1-2)

Please note that this web page does not include the full syllabus for this course. The remainder of the syllabus -- most notably the schedule of assigned readings, course exams, and other assignments -- is only available in the full 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.

Course Description

This course is meant to acquaint students with the core concepts, processes, and issues of international relations (IR). The first portion of the course explores essential concepts: the actors in international relations, how foreign policy is made, the role of power, and the most prominent general approaches to understanding IR. The remaining sections of the course examine contemporary and future problems in the international system, including armed conflict, economics, demography, and the environment. It should be noted that this is not a course in current events, although some reference will be made to current events in discussing the theories and topics covered in the course. Also, I do not seek to indoctrinate students with my own opinions about international relations; rather, my goal is to provide students with the tools to evaluate events themselves and form their own opinions.

Students are expected to attend every class meeting, having already done the assigned reading and thought about the discussion points listed in the syllabus. Class performance will be measured with three (non-cumulative) exams that combine multiple choice, short answer, and map identification questions; class attendance; and four short (2-3 page) papers. Upon completion of this course, students should have a strong basic understanding of international relations and a foundation for taking upper-division courses on the subject.

Required Texts

* Textbook ("SCD"): James M. Scott, Ralph G. Carter, and A. Cooper Drury (2015). IR, 2nd edition. Boston, MA: Wadsworth. (Available at the usual Denton locations, or maybe cheaper through online bookstores -- but wherever you buy it, be sure to get the correct edition!)

* JSTOR: An academic journal service that UNT provides for us. Access is free through the UNT Libraries web site; you can search for individual articles by author, title, or keyword, or browse by journal name and issue. The online version of the syllabus includes direct links to all assigned JSTOR articles

* Blackboard: The remaining readings are made available through this course's Blackboard page.

* Optional: These resources will help students follow and understand world politics, but are not required.

Course Requirements

(1) Examinations: three (non-cumulative) exams will be given in class. The first two will be given in class, and the third will be given in the regular class room on the day and time that UNT assigns for the course's final exam. Each exam counts for 25% of the course grade, and will draw roughly equally from the assigned readings and the instructor's lectures. Each will contain 40 multiple choice questions, 5 short answer/fill-in-the-blank questions, and a map section (with students being asked to identify 10 countries on a blank world map). Be sure to be on time; once the first student leaves the exam, anybody else who enters to take the exam will lose five letter grades.

(2) Attendance: It is vital that students attend class regularly, starting at the beginning of each class period and staying through the end. I will take attendance at random times during the semester, usually at the very start of class (to make sure that students are there on time) and/or the very end (to make sure that students do not leave early). Attendance will be measured as a strict percentage, allowing for one free absence, and will count for 5% of the grade.

(3) Discussion Papers: Students are required to complete four 2-3 page discussion papers during the course of the semester, as described at the end of this syllabus. Each paper is worth 5% of the course grade, for a total of 20%.

Rest of Syllabus

The remainder of the syllabus -- course rules, notes about the academic honor code and the Americans with Disabilities Act, and assigned readings -- 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 of the online syllabus only includes links to JSTOR readings, to make it easier for students to acquire these readings. All other online readings are available on Blackboard.
Last updated: 10 January 2017
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