International Relations

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Course Level:
Course Length:
15 weeks

Evaluates the conduct of foreign affairs, policy, and relationships between nation-states in the international political community. Students are introduced to the history of the international order as well as to the leading international relations’ theories of realism, liberal internationalism, neo-conservatism, human rights, and Marxism.


Introduction to Political Science – or permission of the instructor or department chairman.

Theme Scripture:

“Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; He lifts His voice, the earth melts.  The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.”

Psalm 46: 6-7.

I choose this scripture because as we take this whirlwind journey together through the history of international relations.  Nations are torn apart and put back together.  The world is a precarious place.  How lucky we are as Christians to have an unshakeable vantage point from which to view the world, to know that our Awesome God saves us!


Upon completion of this course, students should be able to:

1.  Articulate the three major perspectives used in the analysis of international relations (realism, liberalism and identity) and their underlying assumptions

2.  Articulate two major methods used in the analysis of international relations (rationalism and constructivism) and their underlying assumptions

3.  Be able to apply realist, liberalist and identity paradigms in explaining the evolution of the state system, as well as in analyzing current and historical developments

4.  Articulate three moral approaches (relativism, universalism and pragmatism) and evaluate historic and contemporary policy solutions using these principles

5.  Describe the structure, norms and rules of international economics and explain how a country’s relative economic capabilities affect its ability to achieve goals in the areas of security, human rights and the environment

6.  Evaluate and describe the constraints and challenges faced by policymakers today as a result of the evolution of the state system

7.  Explain globalism and the significance of transnational actors

The learning objectives and the program goals should be understood as complimentary to each other.  In order to be truthful and good statesmen we should have a basic understanding of politics and the ideas that animate the nation.  It makes common sense that we should know how institutions work if we are to understand how to effect change for the betterment of society.


In order to be faithful to the mission of Regent University, the Department of Government in Regent University’s School of Undergraduate Studies sets forth as its mission the providing of an academically excellent education that equips students to be effective servant-leaders in government and its related areas of interaction or to pursue further education at the post-baccalaureate level.


This course contributes to the fulfillment of the following program goals:


Government students will display the ability to integrate biblical truth with the study of government (INTEGRATION).


Government students will evidence knowledge of the foundational approaches to and concepts in the study of government (KNOWLEDGE).


Government students will evidence knowledge of the philosophical and moral foundations of government (KNOWLEDGE).


Government students will exhibit critical thinking skills in their analysis of historical texts, documents, and contemporary issues (CRITICAL ANALYSIS & THINKING).


Government students will demonstrate competence in the methods and tools of original quantitative and qualitative research and the ability to formulate and express the results (RESEARCH AND WRITING).





Students are responsible for acquiring the following books and materials for this course by the time the course begins:

  • Gregory M. Scott et. al, The Political Science Student Writer’s Manual. 6th Edition (Pearson-Prentice Hall, 2007), ISBN 978-0-13-602945-8
  • Henry Nau, Perspectives on International Relations:  Power, Institutions and Ideas. 2nd Edition (CQ Press, 2009).  ISBN 978-0-87289-924-7.

The School of Undergraduate Studies has partnered with the Regent Bookstore to have textbooks available for purchase for all students, including distance students.  Items may be ordered using the secured online catalog found at

Additional materials (e.g., PowerPoint files, quizzes, media, and the like) may be found on Blackboard.  Students are responsible for the information and materials distributed through Blackboard and, for on-ground students, in class. 


In order to succeed in this course, you will need to fully understand the following:

  1. Attendance and Participation:Consistently attend and participate in the class.  Your attendance and participation are important means for the instructor to assess your skills, quality of thought, and growth as a student.  The attendance policy and procedures are described below.  Requirements for your participation in Blackboard discussions —important both for your learning and for your instructor’s evaluation of your progress in the course—are described below (see “BLACKBOARD INFORMATION AND REQUIREMENTS”).
  2. Assignments: Pay close and timely attention to reading assignments and other assigned work.  You are responsible for preparing assigned readings carefully by the date listed on the schedule below and to complete tests, projects, and other assignments by the date listed.  Out of fairness to all, late assignments are penalized as described below under “Late Assignments.”
  3. Policies and Procedures: Carefully follow course policies and procedures regarding writing, academic honesty, submission of assignments, formatting, and other matters, as specified below or through Blackboard.  Since following directions is a crucial skill for university graduates—and since the smooth operation of our course depends on all of us meeting each other’s expectations—adherence to policies can positively or adversely affect a student’s grade.
  4. Writing:  All papers and essays at Regent University must follow the writing style format required by the degree specialty for which they are being written.  The writing style to be used in this course is the APSA Author-Date system.  Requirements are found in Chapter Eight, “Citing Sources”in your Political Science Student Writer’s Manual. Feel free to consult your instructor if you have further questions about the writing style.
  5. Course Completion/Incompletes:All courses require extensive engagement (with other students, the instructor, and with the course materials) as well as timely completion of assignments. Many assignments are due weekly. Thus, keeping up with the schedule is essential to your success. Some work is difficult or even impossible to make up (such as discussion with others), so you must plan your schedule carefully. Be sure you can complete this course in the scheduled period. Grades of “Incomplete” will be granted only for true emergency situations, not for poor planning. The policy for grades of “Incomplete” can be found in the School of Undergraduate Studies Catalog, found online.
  6. Blackboard:Students are expected to check the Announcements section of Blackboard each week beginning two weeks before the start of the course.  Students must keep their e-mail address current in Blackboard; they are expected to check their Regent e-mail daily to ensure timely receipt of messages from the professor. 
  7. Internet and Software:You must have continuous access to a working and dependable Internet provider as well as reliable e-mail software that can send and receive attachments.  You must also have access to Microsoft Word 2007 for writing assignments.
  8. Minimum Computer Skills: Some basic computer skills you are expected to have mastered before taking an online course include the following: sending and receiving emails, opening or sending an email attachment, searching the Internet, using Microsoft Word and downloading files. We have numerous online tutorials to teach you how to use Blackboard.


Blackboard has four primary purposes in our courses: (1) to provide a means for students to receive timely information about the course in general, assignments, grades, and announcements from the instructor; (2) to promote thoughtful interaction between the instructor and students and among students themselves as they work through course materials; (3) to provide a means for students to complete quizzes and other forms of evaluation; and (4) to enhance the learning process by providing a variety of materials.

For courses with online discussions, they will be posted in Blackboard. Unless otherwise instructed, the parameters for a student’s postings are [200-300] words (please keep the word count in this range). The purpose of these parameters is to promote writing that is both thorough and concise. The instructor will post questions and activities weekly. Discussion questions will be posted in advance. Since not everyone will see things identically, students are to review one another’s postings in order to further their insight and learning. This is an important benefit of dialogue. 

If you want to share short posts of encouragement and support, use the discussion board tool for this. 

Note that the expectations for quality work in the Blackboard group discussions differ from the minimal requirements for attendance.

Please check the Resources link in Blackboard for University Library information and Academic Support information, Blackboard Tutorials and Resources, Academic Honor Code, Writing Styles, Discipline Policies, and Disability Services.



Submission of Assignments

All assignments (unless otherwise instructed) for this course should be submitted via the “Assignment Link.”  Papers should be in MS Word format (.doc). When saving your document, the file name should include your name and assignment, in that order –for example, “John Smith, Learning Styles (LSI) and DISC Inventory Essay.”   When sending your document, give your name and assignment.  This makes it easy for your instructor to track your work. See the “Submitting Assignments” section of Blackboard online tutorials for further instructions.

Every assignment must have your name on it, and, if it is more than one page, each page must be numbered.  To do that, you will need to know how to use the Header and Footer option under the “View” button in Microsoft Word.

Late Assignments

Every student may request ONE grace period for a late assignment, allowing them to submit the assignment up to one week late without penalty.  The grace period must be requested at least twenty four hours PRIOR to the assignment’s actual due date 

ALL assignments for the first half of the course MUST be submitted in order to access the mid-term.  ALL assignments for the whole course MUST be submitted in order to access the final exam.  Mid-terms and finals MUST be taken within the time limits set out in this syllabus. 

Emailing Your Instructor 

The subject line of all e-mail messages related to this course should include the course number (e.g., GENE 101), the location of the course (e.g., VB, DC, DE) and the name of the student (For example, SUBJECT: GENE 101 DE, John Smith).  Following these directions enables the professor to identify quickly the student and course, facilitating a timely response.  Students should always include their first and last name at the end of all e-mail messages.

Because instructors often need to reach students, all students are required to keep their mailing address, e-mail address, and telephone numbers up to date. 

ATTENDANCE AND PARTICIPATION POLICY for the School of Undergraduate Studies

Regent University recognizes the importance of class attendance and participation for students’ learning.  While attendance alone does not guarantee learning, engagement with the class through regular attendance and participation is essential to learning, both to the individual student and to the class itself as all benefit by others’ contributions.  At Regent University, class attendance, understood as the act of being present, is considered to be separate from participating in the class, understood as active engagement through discussion and other forms of interaction.  Both are valuable to student learning.

Like other institutions of higher education, Regent University is required to maintain accurate attendance records by the U.S. Department of Education. 

Attendance is tracked weekly.  For any week (7 days from Monday to Sunday) in which a student does not attend class time or, for online classes, log into the course in Blackboard, the student will be marked absent in the Blackboard grade book.   The standard by which a final date of attendance in the class is measured will be the last date on which the online student logs into the course in Blackboard or the on campus attends the on-campus class for a course, whichever is more recent. Students should be aware that this date could affect their financial aid and financial obligations. 

Normally, expectations for participation—such as those for quality work in the group discussions (including those in Blackboard)--differ from the minimal requirements for attendance.  Thus, at the instructor's discretion, a student who is present or absent might lose participation points.   Instructors determine whether students may gain back lost participation points (for example, through additional work).   Students should be aware that instructors follow their posted policy for receiving late work from students. Work turned in late (papers, discussion board posts, etc.) could result in the loss of participation points or other components of the final course grade.  Instructors are responsible to maintain accurate records regarding attendance and to follow course policies for grading student work, including students’ participation.  Students are responsible to attend and participate in class and to follow campus policies.


Students who have not attended or logged into a class, will, at the end of the second week of the session/semester—in accordance with university practice—be assumed to have unofficially dropped and will be administratively dropped from that class.


Students are on their honor to complete assignments with honesty and integrity.  Academic dishonesty involves intentionally or unintentionally stealing the intellectual property of others.  Students are expected to be familiar with the university’s policy on academic integrity found in both the University Student Handbook and School of Undergraduate Studies Catalog ( and to follow it.  As an academic and Christian community, Regent University takes seriously the call for integrity and penalizes breaches of of academic integrity. 



The schedule below includes the due dates for all assignments in this course.  It is recommended that you place this Course Schedule in a convenient place and refer to it each week of the course.  You need to follow it closely, as late assignments are subject to a grade reduction. Students are expected to spend fourteen to seventeen hours of classwork per week (to include online work, homework and study time, and, for on-ground students, in-class time) for a three-credit hour class.  All courses use group discussion questions on Blackboard.  Postings cannot be made up once the week is over, as the rest of the class will have moved on to the next topic. 

Assigned readings in the textbook(s) are to be completed each week along with any additional articles, audio clips, and PowerPoint presentations as found in the Course Materials or Assignments section of Blackboard. 

Postings to the on-line discussion should be made by FRIDAY midnight of each week for your initial post, and SUNDAY MIDNIGHT for your final post.  The week’s discussion will be considered ‘closed’as of Sunday midnight and your posts after that will not be graded unless you have made prior arrangements with me.  (See my section on late work.)

Essays and assignments are due by Sunday midnight of each week.  After that, you will lose 5 point (on a 100 point scale) for each day that it is late after that. 



Week One: Central Questions in International Relations  (January 4-8)

Read Nau, Introduction and Chapter 1

.Week Two: State and the State System (January 11-15)

Read Chapter 2

Week Three: State and State System Continued (January 18-22)

Read Chapter 3.  .

Week Four:  World War Two (January 25-29)

Read chapter 4 Also, additional article on ‘comparing and contrasting’

Week Five: The Cold War (February 1-5)

Read Chapter 5

Week Six: After the Cold War (February 8-12)

Read Chapter 6

Week Seven: The Democratic Peace (February 15-19)

Read Conclusion

Week Eight: Globalization (February 22-26)

Read Chapter 7

MIDTERM EXAM REVIEW SESSION: Wednesday, February 24.

MIDTERM EXAM: Thursday, February 25. 

Week Nine: The World Economy (March 1-5)

Read Chapter 8


Week Ten: Trade (March 8-12)

Read Chapter 9

Week Eleven: Foreign Investment (March 15-19)

Read Chapter 10

Week Twelve: Development (March 22-26)

Read Chapter 11

Week Thirteen: Foreign Aid (March 29-April 2)

Read Chapter 12

Week Fourteen: Ethnic Conflict (April 5-9)

Read Chapter 13

Week Fifteen:  The Environment (April 12-16)

Read Chapter 14

No Class on Thursday, April the 15th due to the professor being at a conference.

Week Sixteen: (April 19-23)

Take final exam.  Study session two nights before the final exam.  There is no quiz this week.


The final grade for the course will reflect mastery of course content and quality of thought as expressed in:


Point Value


Attendance and Participation

10 points

10 points


13 @ 3.84 points each

50 points


20 points

20 points


20 points

20 points


100 points

100 points



The following grading system is followed in the School of Undergraduate Studies:




Quality Points


Meaning of Grade


















































Letter grades indicate the following:

A A-

Work of superior quality in all areas.  Work displays a mastery of course content at the highest level of attainment appropriate for the undergraduate level:  outstanding quality of thought; excellent understanding of the course content and demonstration of skills associated with the course; a creative and critical engagement with the material; and an ability to analyze and evaluate the knowledge and ideas that shows talent for undergraduate work.  Work shows practical or personal application of course content in specific assignments, as appropriate.  The grade for such work will vary from A to A- according to the quality and quantity of the work.

B+ B B-

Strong performance demonstrating a high level of attainment appropriate for the undergraduate level:  high quality of thought; solid understanding of the course content and demonstration of skills associated with the course; an engagement with the material that shows good comprehension of the subject; and an ability to analyze and evaluate the knowledge and ideas in the course.  Work shows practical or personal application of course content in specific assignments, as appropriate.  The grade for such work will vary from B+ to B- according to the quality and quantity of the work.

C+ C C-

Satisfactory performance demonstrating an adequate level of attainment appropriate for the undergraduate level:  competent quality of thought; acceptable understanding of the course content and demonstration of skills associated with the course; an engagement with the course that shows adequate ability to analyze and evaluate; and adequate comprehension of the subject. Work shows practical or personal application of course content in specific assignments, as appropriate   The grade will vary from C+ to C- according to the quality and quantity of the work.

D+ D D-

Marginal performance demonstrating a minimal passing level of attainment appropriate for the undergraduate level.  The student’s work indicates poor quality of thought and poor comprehension of course content.  Work shows practical or personal application of course content in specific assignments, as appropriate. 


Unacceptable performance.  The student’s work indicates major deficiencies in learning and reveals little or no understanding of course content.  This grade denotes either unacceptable performance in spite of some effort, or failure to complete the assigned work.