PLS 211 - International Relations

Course Description

Students analyze the nature of international relations and global politics today. This course offers a broad overview of political and economic issues in the international arena. Students assess the dynamics of conflict and cooperation through various case studies and analyses. Topics include such things as conflict in the Middle East, ethnic conflict and nationalism the world over, the threat of global terrorism in the 21st century, the rise of China as an assertive world power, the increasing importance of organizations such as the United Nations and the World Trade Organization, cultural and economic globalization, and global ecological issues. Course includes an examination of the basic analytical approaches to the study of international relations. Group 1 course.

Credit Hours


Contact Hours


Lecture Hours


Recommended Prerequisites or Skills Competencies

Placement into ENG 111

General Education Outcomes supported by this course

Communications - Direct, Critical Thinking - Direct

Other college designations supported by this course

Degree Req:Cultural Persp/Div, Infused: Writing Intensive

Course Learning Outcomes

  • IR Theory (Realism, Liberalism, Feminism, etc.).
  • Levels of Analysis.
  • Nationalism and globalization.
  • International organizations, law, and justice.
  • Secerity and conflict.
  • Be able to identify complex problems in international relations.
  • Be able to analyze the causal factors involved in those complex problems, analyze the possible current and future impacts of the problems themselves, and then identify possible solutions.
  • Apply problem-solving skills to identify possible solutions to the complex problems of international relations.
  • Synthesize information and analytical methods and approaches from the disciplines of political science, economics, psychology, philosophy, geography, sociology, and anthropology.
  • Describe how the analytical tools of all these disciplines are helpful for understanding the world political scene.
  • Integrate concepts from related disciplines to analyze the world political scene.
Human Dimension:
  • Students come to see themselves in a new light psychologically because of our focus on theoretical approaches to IR (e.g., realism v. liberalism). Students also come to see the moral choices they must make as they engage a world in which suffering and conflict are the normal state of affairs.
Caring - Civic Learning:
  • Describe the influence humans have on each other through political and social interactions.
  • Come to care more deeply about other citizens or about other humans in general.
  • Also come to care more about the success of American foreign policy because they will come to appreciate the power of that policy and the stakes involved in its successful implementation.
Learning How to Learn:
  • Develop greater efficacy as learners through class discussions, group projects, and written analyses of international relations.
  • Discover that understanding and positively influencing the future world of politics will only be possible if they become capable of their own analysis.
  • Learn how to create their own analytical efficacy in order to influence the global political order.