Course Schedule

You can choose from courses in several thematic tracks. Visit our course schedule to see which courses are currently being offered.

All courses are three credits, with the exception of the capstone. POL 695A is one credit.

Summer 2022, Session 1 (May 9th - July 3rd)

Instructor: Chad Westerland

 The US Constitution structures and defines the powers of the United States. However, constitutions, almost by definition, do not always provide the details for how the various powers that are created are to be used in practice. At various junctures in American history, responses to security threats, both traditional and non-traditional, have created constitutional dilemmas for the US Government. In this course, we will explore how the US Supreme Court has attempted to resolve the constitutional conflicts over how foreign affairs are conducted by the United States. We will examine the justifications for the specific constitutional powers of both the legislative and executive branches and the potential sources of conflict that these powers create. Finally, we also explore the ways in which the presence of armed conflict or security crises shape constitutional law within the United States.

Overview of the role of intelligence in the formulation and execution of US national security policy. Will include a detailed look at challenges facing both the analysis of intelligence information and the introduction of that analysis into the national security policy process. Will also entail close reading and discussion of selected declassified intelligence documents. Graduate-level requirements include Huerer, Richards J. 1999. Psychology of Intelligence Analysis, CSI. Selected articles and declassified intelligence documents: TBD.

Instructor: Jeff Kucik

This course focuses on the role international organizations (IOs) play in contemporary global politics. IOs have become an increasingly common feature of the political landscape. Institutions shape state behavior in areas such as trade, security, the environment, and human rights. The course provides background on the historical development of major multilateral IOs. We pay special attention to how institutions are designed. We then assess each organization's performance record. Specific questions include: Does UN peacekeeping promote post-war stability? Is the ICC an effective tool for protecting human rights? How do the IMF and World Bank approach global development?

Summer 2022, Session 2 (July 5th - August 28th)

Instructor: Alex Braithwaite

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. 

Instructor: Jessica Maves Braithwaite

This course is intended to be a survey of the literature addressing international politics in sub-Saharan Africa. Beginning with pre-colonial contexts and working through to present challenges facing African states and the international community more broadly, we will learn about a variety of topics concerning African politics.

Instructor: Judith McDaniel

Traditionally, security has meant freedom from military attack and has been synonymous with national security. More recently, the concept has expanded to include relationships among nation states that affect international security. Environmental and economic concerns have also become part of the fabric of international security as a global village begins to recognize that no crisis affects only one state or one region.

Instructor: Kirssa Ryckman

Final paper project for ISS Masters with presentation and discussion. 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 M.A. degree. 

Fall 2022, Session 1 (August 29th - October 24th)

Instructor: Frank Gonzalez

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.

Instructor: Kirssa Ryckman

There are numerous historical cases of strategic nonviolent conflict, also called civil resistance or people power, with dynamic and recent examples from across the Middle East and North Africa during the Arab Spring. Yet while the study of violence has long defined the field of international security, scholars have only recently began to examine the causes and effects of nonviolent conflict. This course is designed to overview these movements of nonviolent, antigovernment dissent, including their emergence, movement dynamics, and outcomes.

Instructor: Jennifer Cyr

This course examines the relationship between democracy and security. Each week, students will learn about how democracy interacts one of many different security challenges. We will conceive of security broadly and, therefore, will consider how democracies fare when it comes to: war, crime, human security, corruption, and the military as an institution.

Instructor: Tolga Turker

Islamist extremism 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 as well as broad audiences in the social sciences seeking to understand the emergence, evolution, and possible futures of what commonly called political Islam.

Instructor: Chris Weber

The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the mass media, and the role the mass media plays in American democracy. In this course, we will consider several key questions pertain- ting to the role of the media in democracy, such as: What effects do mass mediated messages have on voters? Do voters passively accept information found in the media, or do voters actively challenge this information?  How do journalists and political elites interact?

Instructor: Eva-Maria Maggi

This course provides an introduction to the democracy promotion policy in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) as developed by the US and European Union (EU). The course starts with discussing the key concepts of democracy promotion and continues by analyzing how these influenced democracy promotion efforts from the US as well as the EU. Both global powers have been engaged in promoting democracy throughout the MENA region with various degrees of success and often in contradicting terms.

Instructor: Paul Schuler

National interests, issues and conflicts, relations, and influence of domestic politics in interstate relations in East Asia. Graduate-level requirements include an additional research paper.

Fall 2022, Session 2 (October 24th - December 18th)

Instructor: Paulette Kurzer

This course offers an introduction to the political systems of post-World War II Europe. Using a country-by-country approach, the course focuses specifically on Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, and East-Central Europe. It also contains a unit on the institutions and policies of European Union. We will take a closer look at the impact of immigration on European society, the interaction between domestic and European institutions, the debates on economic reforms and market liberalization in different countries, and the relationship between the EU and the US. 

Instructor: Pat Willerton

Surveys Russian power capabilities, foreign policy, and engagement of the world system. Attention to the Soviet period, but focus on the post-1991 era. Relations with the U.S., Germany, and China are highlighted, as are relations with former Soviet Union countries.

Analysis of the Cold War; Congressional-Executive clashes over foreign policy control; approaches to policy analysis.

Instructor: Karen Siderelis

Geospatial Intelligence (GEOINT) is a specialized field of practice within the broader domain of intelligence. The discipline encompasses all activities involved in the collection, use and dissemination of geographically referenced information (imagery, imagery intelligence and geospatial information) using technical capabilities that include remote sensing, GIS, data management, and data visualization. GEOINT processes and capabilities are designed to gain intelligence about the national security or an operational environment, visually depict this knowledge, combine the knowledge with other information sources, and present knowledge in a way that is appropriate to the decision-making environment. GEOINT supports key mission areas related to the national security of the U.S. including informing policymakers; supporting military, intelligence, and homeland security operations, and facilitating intelligence collaboration. While the GEOINT discipline is secretive in operations, this course presents publicly available unclassified information to describe its use, benefits and governance.

Instructor: Michael Burgoyne

Mexico and the United States have always shared a complex relationship. The current one is full of hope for expanding economic opportunity and plagued by fears driven by internal violence. Mexico is the third largest trading partner with the US with nearly 270 billion in trade in 2014; that amounts to a million dollars crossing the border every minute. Conversely, the fight against organized crime has claimed more than 60,000 lives since 2006 and there are nearly 25,000 people reported as disappeared. 2015 also marked a historic change in international engagement, with President Enrique Pena Nieto announcing a new peace keeping mission for the Mexican armed forces. Understanding the unique Mexican security situation and the Mexican perspective of security policy is critical for academics and policymakers that deal with this complex US-Mexican relationship. The course will include lecturers from the Mexican academic community and Mexican security forces.

Instructor: Saskia Popescu

The evolution of infectious diseases into a global security threat isn’t particularly novel but became official when the United Nations recognized HIV/AIDS as a security threat. As the world becomes more interconnected and humans encroach on natural habits, emerging infectious diseases, like COVID-19 and Ebola, have underscored the ability for diseases to severely impact critical infrastructure. Since the realization that infectious diseases pose unique threats to the stability of nation states, the notion of global health security was development as an approach to understanding and studying these unique vulnerabilities. Biodefense, biopreparedness, and biothreats are all increasingly used terminologies and studies that play into the security dynamics of infectious diseases. We will examine the concepts of global health security, as well as the spectrum of threats, which include natural, accidental, and intentional biological events.  

Instructor: Paulette Kurzer

Final paper project for ISS Masters with presentation and discussion. 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 M.A. degree.