Course Schedule

All of the courses and materials are delivered online. The entire program is distance learning. Courses are eight weeks long.  Students can take 3 course per semester, 2 in the summer. If you have a special circumstance and would like to take more than 3 courses per semester, you must gain approval from either Prof. Kurzer or Dr. Ryckman.

If a student is enrolled over the maximum number of allowed courses without gaining prior permission on the first day of the semester, then they will be administratively dropped from the extra course(s) after 48 hours. An email will be sent to the student informing them that they will be administratively dropped, and will identify from which courses s/he will be dropped.

Courses open one week before the official course start date. All courses are delivered via D2L:

Click here to see our schedule archive

Current Schedule

Spring 2019 Session 1 - Start: Monday, January 7, 2019 - End: Sunday, March 3, 2019

Description Instructor Credits
POL 511A - The Psychology of Group Conflict and Cooperation - Spring 2019

Ultimately, all political phenomena, including issues related to international security, boil down to interactions between humans - usually, groups of humans. As such, people's lay theories and beliefs about how humans think and make decisions in groups significantly affect how they approach political issues, including those related to international security. Research on group psychology offers a means of informing, critically evaluating, and improving these lay theories and beliefs. Decades of research have been done in the fields of social and political psychology on how groups of people interact with one another, why interactions between and within groups often become hostile or counter-productive, and how interactions between and within groups can be adjusted in ways that encourage cooperation and peace. In this course, we will seek to understand, broadly: why do groups sometimes conflict and sometimes cooperate with one another? We will start by broadly reviewing what psychologists have discovered regarding inter- and intra-group behavior. Students will then learn about what small-scale laboratory research has told us about when and why conflict versus cooperation might result from group interactions. Next, we will spend considerable time examining how this research has been applied to understanding a range of international security issues, including war and peace, ethnic conflict, terrorism, genocide, international trade, foreign aid, immigration, and refugees. Assignments will require students to critically evaluate their own as well as others' understandings of how group psychology influences contemporary international security issues and come up with concrete, novel ways in which group psychology might inform efforts to handle international security issues now and in the future.

Professor Frank Gonzalez 3
POL 519 - Terrorism and Counterterrorism - Spring 2019

This course addresses how the formation of the state has been affected by war and will be increasingly affected by more modern security concerns such as terrorism.  Graduate-level requirements include reading three additional documents and critically reviewing them as instructed.

Professor Kirssa Ryckman 3
POL 520A - How Terrorism Ends - Spring 2019

This course is intended to be a survey of the political science literature’s understandings about how terrorist campaigns come to a close.  Prior to tackling questions of the end of terrorism head-on, we will first survey the literatures on definitions and theories of terrorism. Our survey of the various fates of terrorist groups and campaigns will explore; how governments use force to try to end terrorism, occasions when governments and terrorist participate in negotiations to find a solution to their incompatibility, outcomes in which groups achieve victory or are defeated, and scenarios in which groups opt to reorient away from violence into other legal and illegal activities. 

Professor Alex Braithwaite 3
POL 546A - Politics of Islamism - Spring 2019

Political Islamism has been a focus of policy makers in the post- 9/11 era. However, before concrete strategies can be formulated to deal with this concern, the nature and dynamics of Islamist mobilization itself must be understood. To do that, this course will benefit from the knowledge generated through years of study in different parts of the world and in various disciplines in identifying: What is it? What causes it? What motivates an individual to join an Islamist group and possibly use violence? Under what conditions will these groups moderate, and when will they radicalize? Overall this course is designed as a resource for students of political science and international security studies seeking to understand the emergence, evolution, and prospects of what is commonly called Islamism.

Dr. Tolga Turker 3
POL 557A - The Politics of Cybersecurity - Spring 2019

This course provides an introduction to the politics of cybersecurity in the U.S. as well as the European Union (EU). Starting with a discussion of key concepts of cybersecurity, the class continues to analyze how U.S. and EU cybersecurity policy making differ. Recently, both the U.S. and EU passed new cybersecurity legislation laying different emphasis on privacy protection, crime prevention and the involvement of tech businesses in the policy process through public private partnerships. Why are the U.S. and Europe applying different approaches to cybersecurity policy? The goal of the course is to answer this question by comparing the institutions, actors and process of cybersecurity policy making in the U.S. and the EU. While both follow different approaches to cybersecurity policy as such, they agree on the need of enhanced international cooperation on the issue. The course ends with a unit on the current state of cybersecurity cooperation across the Atlantic and the implications of the politics of cybersecurity on the future of transatlantic relationship.

Dr. Eva-Maria Maggi 3
POL 581A - Domestic Politics and American Foreign Policy - Spring 2019
Domestic politics and foreign policy were once considered to be separate entities, such as in the old fashioned statement that governments could afford either “guns or butter.” A more contemporary account notes the various ways that domestic politics and foreign policy are intertwined. Domestic politics shapes the foreign policy decisions of a country, and foreign policy often impinges on domestic politics. Topics covered in this class will include the role of the president, Congress, the bureaucracy and the courts in determining foreign policy. Conflicts and cooperation between these government entities will be highlighted. How public opinion and interest groups influence foreign policy also will be covered. Finally, the effects of foreign policy decisions on domestic politics will be considered.
Professor Barbara Norrander 3

Upcoming Schedule

Spring 2019 Session 2 - Start: Monday, March 4, 2019 - End: Sunday, April 28, 2019

Description Instructor Credits
POL 521A - Transnational Organized Crime and National Security - Spring 2019

In U.S. policy and strategy documents, Transnational Organized Crime (TOC) has been identified as a threat to American national security. The growing consensus is that globalization with its associated revolutions in communications and transportation has greatly enhanced the capabilities and power of Transnational Criminal Organizations (TCOs). Understanding the diverse criminal groups, their methodologies, and their networks is the critical first step in developing effective policies to confront them.

Mr. Michael Burgoyne 3
POL 530A - Dynamics of Civil Wars - Spring 2019

This course is intended to be a survey of the general dynamics of civil wars, with a complementary focus on this form of unrest as it plays out in African countries. Modules address various aspects of civil wars (e.g. onset, duration, termination, recurrence, ethnicity, natural resources), and then examines those aspects in the context of a conflict in sub-Saharan Africa. Students will have an opportunity to explore in-depth a conflict of their choosing, applying the general theories covered in class to their specific civil war of choice.

Professor Jessica Maves Braithwaite 3
POL 558A - Politics in the Digital Age - Spring 2019

The digital revolution is changing politics. From Barack Obama's use of the Internet to drive his presidential campaign, to the upheaval of the Arab Spring and the emergence of new social movements like #OccupyWallStreet, digital technology is challenging and changing established institutions on a number of fronts. This course introduces students to the history of the Internet and the emerging technologies that are defining the Digital Age. It places emphasis on the role of technology in politics and its implications for democracy and citizen rights. The course will cover a wide range of issues related to governance of the internet, privacy and security, the role of the media and open source development.

Dr. Matias Bianchi 3
POL 564 - International Relations of East Asia - Spring 2019

This course will examine and analyze a host of current international relations issues in the East Asia region, with an emphasis on United States foreign policy.

Professor Paul Schuler 3
POL 567A - Emerging Powers in the Global System - Spring 2019

This course offers analytical tools to investigate the nature of modern international system, to explain the logic of emerging multipolar world, to analyze the role of rising Great Powers and Regional Powers in the modern geopolitical architecture. The central focus of the course will be on Russia, China, Iran, and Turkey, and on their foreign policy strategies in a global and regional context. Special attention will be paid to various versions of the New Silk Road and to other modern geopolitical initiatives.

Dr. Mikhail Beznosov 3
POL 695A - Professional Colloquium - Spring 2019

Capstone project, in which students develop a portfolio that overviews their academic work in the context of their professional goals. This should be taken as the final course of the MA degree. 

Professor Kirssa Ryckman 3