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Master of Arts in International Relations

MAIR Graduate Course Descriptions

POLS 506 Political Ideology
POLS 529 Law of the Sea
POLS 550 Comparative Politics
POLS 554 Revolutionary Change
POLS 555 Politics in Western Europe
POLS 557 Politics in Latin America
POLS 559 Politics in the Middle East
POLS 560 Politics of Sub-Saharan Africa
POLS 561 Politics in South Africa
POLS 565 Politics in Russia
POLS 566 Politics of Mexico
POLS 567 Politics in Japan
POLS 568 Politics in China
POLS 570 Theories of International Relations
POLS 571 American Foreign Policy
POLS 572 Russian Foreign Policy
POLS 573 Chinese Foreign Policy
POLS 575 Comparative Foreign Policy
POLS 576 U.S. National Security
POLS 577 Regional Security
POLS 578 Transnational Crime and Terrorism
POLS 579 Border Politics and Policy
POLS 580 International Political Economy
POLS 582 International Human Rights
POLS 583 International Organizations
POLS 594 Topics in International Relations
POLS 599 Research Project

POLS 506 Political Ideology (3)

An investigation of the way in which theories of political life are applied in the real world. Special attention will be given to the major alternative approaches to political society, including authoritarianism, fascism, national socialism, communism, and liberal democracy. Students will explore topics such as utilitarianism, feminism, deep ecology, anarchy, social democracy and both national and international capitalism.

POLS 529 Law of the Sea (3)

A study of regimes of the sea including fisheries, seabed mining, and coastal management zones. The politics of ocean regulation will be examined with emphasis on the Third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea. The seminar will consider Law-of-the-Sea negotiations from three perspectives: 1) the development of international law; 2) the processes of international bargaining and negotiation; and 3) the decision-making processes associated with the formulation of maritime policies in individual countries.

POLS 550 Comparative Politics (3)

This course examines the major theoretical approaches to comparative politics as well as the political histories of individual countries. It is designed to introduce students to a variety of themes central to this field, including state-society relations, state capacity, the role of institutions, nationalism, cultural/ethnic pluralism, political culture, and democracy. This course is a degree requirement.

POLS 554 Revolutionary Change (3)

A comparative study of the revolutionary process focusing on the causes and political implications of revolutionary change. The conditions that influence the outcome of revolutions and the effects on the international system will be examined.

POLS 555 Politics in Western Europe (3)

An examination of the political cultures, institutions, and parties of the United Kingdom, France, and Germany. Foreign and defense policies, including those relating to European integration, will receive special attention.

POLS 557 Politics in Latin America (3)

This course uses a variety of theories to examine the dynamics of political and economic change in Latin America. Particular emphasis is placed on the causes and consequences of cyclical economic development and recurrent waves of democratization and authoritarianism.

POLS 559 Politics in the Middle East (3)

A study of political developments in the Middle East with particular attention to the contemporary era. The role of the Middle East in the international system will be assessed, especially security and economic dimensions.

POLS 560 Politics of Sub-Saharan Africa (3)

This course provides an in-depth analysis of political development in sub-Saharan Africa. It is designed to introduce students to the challenges African states have faced during the pre-colonial, colonial, and post-colonial eras. Particular emphasis is placed on how different countries have sought to develop strong institutions, democratic processes, and national integration in the context of scarce resources and civil conflict.

POLS 561 Politics in South Africa (3)

This course examines the major issues and challenges that face South Africa. The goal of the course is to introduce students to contemporary South African politics and to place the current political challenges into the broader historical context.

POLS 565 Politics in Russia (3)

An examination of the political institutions and forces of change in Russia and the Soviet successor states with particular attention to the difficulties of democratization, modernization, and capitalist transformation.

POLS 566 Politics of Mexico (3)

This course examines the trajectory of political development in Mexico from the twentieth century to the present. We will examine the Mexican revolution, the origins of the dominant party system, the transition to democracy and current prospects for democratic and economic stability.

POLS 567 Politics in Japan (3)

An examination of post-war politics in Japan focusing on political institutions, major political actors, and mass and elite political behavior. Special attention is paid to issues of modernization, the evolution of Japanese political practices and Japan’s changing democracy.

POLS 568 Politics in China (3)

An examination of contemporary politics and issues including political institutions, the policy-making process, and citizen political behavior. Special attention is given to prospects for political reform in China.

POLS 570 Theories of International Relations (3)

An examination of realist, neorealist, neoliberal, globalist, constructivist, and normative theories of international relations and an inquiry into the relationship between theory and historical evidence. This course is a degree requirement.

POLS 571 American Foreign Policy (3)

An examination of the challenges and opportunities facing American foreign policy in the 21st century, the institutional context of foreign policy decision-making, and the application of theories of international politics and foreign policy to the empirical analysis of contemporary American foreign policy.

POLS 572 Russian Foreign Policy (3)

An examination of foreign policy in the U.S.S.R. and its successor states focusing on competing institutions within the foreign policy establishments, changing security preoccupations, and the difficulties of realigning regional and global relationships in a structurally changed international system.

POLS 573 Chinese Foreign Policy (3)

An analysis of the foreign policy of the People's Republic of China. Foreign policy-making and China's relations with other international actors will be examined.

POLS 574 U.S.-Latin American Relations (3)

An analysis of historical and contemporary relations between the U.S. and Latin America. Policy issues examined include trade, immigration, drug trafficking, military intervention, and relations with Cuba.

POLS 575 Comparative Foreign Policy (3)

An analysis of foreign policy-making with attention to the varying impact of political culture and political institutions.

POLS 576 U.S. National Security (3)

This course examines contemporary U.S. security policy, including military technology, nuclear strategy and arms control, recent U.S. military interventions, biological and chemical weapons, domestic security politics , the defense industry and budget, and terrorism.

POLS 577 Regional Security (3)

This course examines security dynamics in four important regions of the world: West Europe, Latin America, East Asia, and the Islamic countries running from Northwest Africa to Southeast Asia. We address issues like military technology, war, diplomatic relations within the region, political economy, drug trafficking, and terrorism, among others.

578 Transnational Crime and Terrorism (3)

This course focuses on how the law enforcement community has responded to the unprecedented increase in crimes and terrorist acts that cross international borders. The course examines those factors that have led to this increase in transnational crime and terrorism, the types of crimes that pose the greatest threat to lawful societies, the responses that have been developed to combat transnational crime, and the extent to which transnational crime threatens the national security interests of the United States and the world community.

POLS 579 Border Politics and Policy (3)

An examination of U.S.-Mexican border politics and related policies, including trade, economic development, migration, law enforcement and security, and international diplomacy. This course will also consider comparative border dynamics of other regions, such as U.S.-Canada, China-Russia, Spain-Morocco, and the European Union.

POLS 580 International Political Economy (3)

An examination of the international and national political strategies affecting economic growth and global distribution of wealth.

POLS 582 International Human Rights (3)

A consideration of theoretical foundations, historical development, and applications of human rights in differing parts of the world. The seminar will focus on contending approaches to human rights.

POLS 583 International Organizations (3)

An examination of the development of contemporary intergovernmental political organizations with emphasis on the United Nations system and the functional agencies. The future of supranationalism will be investigated with particular attention to the European Communities.

POLS 594 Topics in International Relations (3)

A current issue or topic in the discipline will be the focus of the course. The course can be repeated if the topic changes.

POLS 594-01: America and the Middle East

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The Middle East is in the midst of dramatic and unprecedented political change.  And as the Middle East changes, so will America’s policies toward it.  Rooted in the study of international relations and foreign policy decision-making, this class will examine the past, present and future of US relations with this contested and dynamic region.  

If you need more:

This graduate seminar is designed around one straightforward, yet multilayered dilemma:

What forces, influences, and interests shape American foreign policy toward the Middle East?  We will tackle head on reigning theories and hollow assumptions regarding US relations with the Middle East.  Issues relating to the Middle East continually capture the imagination and the attention of US foreign policy makers: wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, a potential conflict with Iran, military interventions in Libya and possibly Syria, democratization and the Arab Spring, US military presence in the Middle East, terrorism in a post 9/11 era, and the list goes on. 

This class is not simply about the Middle East.  It is about America’s long, complex, and ongoing relationship with it.  It is about attempting to understand and critically engage the role the United States has played and will continue to play in the future of the region.

POLS 599 Research Project (3)

Directed research for up to three units can be conducted under the supervision of one of the graduate faculty members in the Political Science department. Students must be at least halfway through the program, with a 3.5 GPA, and project proposals must be approved by the faculty sponsor, Graduate Advisor, and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences before the beginning of the relevant semester.

Elective Courses

Students may take up to six units in elective credit from the course listings below. Under exceptional circumstances and with special graduate level adjustments, and approval of the Graduate Director, students may take other relevant courses numbered 300 and above.

Department of History (all 3 units unless otherwise noted)

HIST 545 Topics in Military History
HIST 547 Topics in Modern Europe
HIST 548 Vietnam War
HIST 558 Topics in Modern World History
HIST 559 Topics in Modern Middle East
HIST 560 Topics in Latin American History
HIST 564 Topics in Asian History
HIST 567 Women in East Asia
HIST 568 Issues in Modern Africa
HIST 577 Topics in Foreign Relations
HIST 584 Topics in the History of Mexico

School of Law (units will vary)*

LAW European Union Law
LAW European Legal Studies
LAW International Arbitration
LAW International Business Transactions
LAW International Contracts
LAW International Criminal Law
LAW International Environmental Law
LAW International Trade
LAW Business Immigration
LAW Public International Law
*Enrollment in Law courses requires approval of the Law School.

School of Business Administration (all 3 units unless otherwise noted)

Undergraduate Courses
BUSN 361 Introduction to International Business
ECON 333 International Economics
ECON 335 Economic Development of Latin America
ECON 337 Economic Development of Asia

Graduate Courses (all 3 units unless otherwise noted)**
GBA 507 Global Business Environment (501)
GBA 523 International Financial Management (505)
GBA 531 International Human Resources Management (501)
GBA 532 International Comparative Management (501)
GBA 553 International Marketing (504)
GBA 580 Seminar in International Business (501)
GBA 581 International Trade (501)
GBA 582 International Business Negotiations (501)
GBA 583 International Business Law and Ethics (501)
GBA 584 Seminar in Comparative International Decision Making (501)
GBA 585 Business Environment of Asia and the Pacific Rim (501)
GBA 587 Latin American Business Environment (501)

**Prerequisites for each class listed in parentheses. In most cases, the prerequisite courses will not count toward the MAIR degree.