International Relations

ISA Seville Study Center

Course Description

  • Course Name

    International Relations

  • Host University

    ISA Seville Study Center

  • Location

    Seville, Spain

  • Area of Study

    International Relations, International Studies

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • Contact Hours

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    USF Course Code: INR 3141

    Prerequisite: none; taught in English.

    Students: ISA students. 

    Contact hours: 45

    I. Course Description:
    This course is intended to provide an introduction to international relations and politics. It seeks to familiarize students with the basic language, concepts and theoretical approaches to the subject and to offer a framework for the analysis and understanding of contemporary international affairs. After
    analysing the inherent difficulties of maintaining good relations at local and international level, students will examine the evolution of the international system in the 20th century, the Cold War, and the changing balance of power following the disintegration of the USSR. Special attention will be paid to the role of the US in the world, the methods and motives of international intervention, the duties of the major powers towards developing countries and the response to the threat of international terrorism. Contemporary international conflicts will be analysed and the effectiveness of international organizations in dealing with them will be assessed.
    If available, this course offer the possibility for an optional part time internship. Spots are limited and subject to a selection process. 

    II. Learning outcomes: 
    1) Understand the major concepts of international relations, including: power, State, Nation-State, anarchy, self-help, sovereignty, balance of power, war, conflict, cooperation, integration, globalization and interdependence.

    2) Critical evaluation of the international system since the formation of the modern state system, the Treaties of Westphalia and Utrecht, WWI & WWII, the Cold War era, and the current structure of the modern world.

    3) Theories and approaches applied to international relations: Realism, Liberalism, Marxist theories, Social constructivism, Post-structuralism, Post-colonialism, International Ethics. 

    3) Key actors in international relations -including states, intergovernmental organizations (UN & EU), non-governmental organizations, multinational corporations, global civil society, and individuals- and understand how these actors interact to give substance to international relations. 

    4) Review of current and recent conflicts worldwide (Israeli-Palestinian, Syria, Irak, Iran, Afganistan, North Korea, Ukraine). Analysis of US foreign policy. European and Asian perspectives of world affairs. The features and effects of globalization, environmental problems, and human rights abuses. 

    5) Demonstrate knowledge of the multi-disciplinary nature of international relations by establishing connections with the disciplines that have shaped and continue to influence international relations: history, economics, politics, culture, language, race, ethnicity and gender. 

    6) Demonstrate skills of critical analysis and written and oral communication, including the ability to:
    -Read and reflect on disciplinary materials and literature carefully, critically, and insightfully. 
    -Write well-organized, informed, logically argued, clear, persuasive, and stylistically correct essays and papers.
    -Participate actively in class discussions, verbally expressing ideas clearly, logically and persuasively. 

    7) Work effectively in teams and project groups. 

    III. Course Contents (may be modified):

    -    Definitions
    -    Intellectual origins of IR, & IR as academic discipline
    -    Historical evolution of the international system. Ancient World to Globalization.
    -    Cultural aspects of a globalised world.

    UNIT 2 – I.R. THEORIES: 
    -    Realism
    -    Liberalism
    -    NeoRealist & NeoLiberal Theories
    -    Marxist Theories

    - International Organisations: 
    U.N. (generalist):  a liberal approach to solving conflicts?
    N.A.T.O. (security):  a realist approach to solving conflicts?
    E.U. (economic/political)  regional integration, successes and challenges

    -Transnational Actors: 
    Multinational Companies (MNCs): Economic, social and ethical considerations.
    Non Govermental Organizations (NGOs): scope, efficacy & fields of work


    US foreign policy: rationale for interventions, outcomes of interventions:
    -    US-Latin America relations
    -    US-Europe relations
    -    US-Russia relations
    -    US-China relations
    -    US-ASEAN relations
    -    US-Middle & Far East relations: Palestinian-Israeli conflict, Syria, Iran, AF-PAK, Arab Spring
    -    US Africa relations

    Contemporary challenges:
    -    Global Warming, Terrorism, Nuclear Proliferation, Poverty, Development
    -    Global Trade and Finance 
    -    Internet, Big Data, Cyberwar

    IV. Course material and bibliography: 

    Required readings: Baylis, J., Smith, S. & P. Owens (eds.), The Globalization of World Politics: An Introduction to International Relations. 6th ed., Oxford University Press, 2014.

    Complementary bibliography
    Brown, C. & Ainley, K. Understanding International Relations. Palgrave Mc Millan, 2009.
    Huntington, Samuel P. The Clash of Civilization and the Remaking of the World Order. Simon and Schuster Paperbacks, 1996.
    Jones, W.S., The Logic of International Relations, New York: Harper Collins, 1991
    Kegley, C. W. & E. R. Wittkopf, World Politics: Trend & Transformation, 10th ed., Thomson Wadsworth, CA, 2005
    Kissinger, H. Diplomacy. Simon and Schuster, 1994.
    Kung, H. A Global Ethic: The Declaration of the Parliament of the World's Religions. New York: Continuum, 1993.
    Monshipouri, M. Democratization, liberalization & human rights in the Third World. Boulder: L. Rienner Publishers, 1995.
    Nicholson, M. International Relations: A Concise Introduction. 2nd ed., Basingstoke: Macmillan, 2002
    Pease, Kelly-Kate S., International Organizations. New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 2011
    Pettman, R., International Politics. Melbourne: Longman Chesire, 1991
    Roskin, M.G. & O.B. Nicholas IR: The New World of International Relations. 7th ed., New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 2007
    Rourke, J.T. International Politics on the World Stage. 12th ed., McGraw Hill, 2007
    Russett B., Starr H., & D. Kinsella., World Politics: The Menu for Choice. 9th ed., Wadsworth Publishing, 2009
    Watson, A. The Evolution of International Society. 2nd ed., Routledge, 2009.

    V.I. How to succeed in this course
    To successfully complete this course, attendance is essential as enables the necessary participation. Both spontaneous and prepared interaction are categories used in the evaluation. Due to the amount of content covered in this course, reading prior to the class sessions is essential and will help you to become an active learner. 

    VI. Grading scale
    Final grades will be calculated according to the following scale:

    Grading Scale (%)
    94-100 A
    90-93 A-
    87-89 B+
    84-86 B
    80-83 B-
    77-79 C+
    74-76 C
    70-73 C-
    67-69 D+
    64-66 D
    60-63 D-
    0-59 F

    Grade dispute: 
    The deadline for claiming grades is 30 days from the receipt of the certificate at the university of origin.

    VII. Course policies

    VII.I. Attendance
    Class attendance is mandatory and is taken every class day and reflected in the course attendance sheet. 
    An 85% attendance rate is required for the successful completion of the course. Perfect attendance will be taken positively into account in the participation section. 
    If a student exceeds this limit, 1 point will be taken off of the final grade (Spanish grade). Reaching a 20% of unexcused absences means that the transcript for this subject will show “not attended course”. 
    Excused absences: Medical Certificates that will be considered only if issued by a physician (not notes from the family explaining the student’s absence). The certificates must include the exact dates for which a student should be excused for having missed classes. Courses cannot be audited, so attendance is possible only for students enrolled in a specific class. 
    Punctuality: Students are expected to arrive on time to class and to return directly to class after class breaks. Arriving 10 minutes late (or more) and/or early class departures are considered unexcused absences and will be taken into account as half an absence. 
    Attending class is not only the presence in the classroom. The professor will encourage active participation in the course and it will be taken into account as part of the evaluation.  

    Auditors: Courses cannot be taken as auditors, thus attendance is possible only for students enrolled in a specific class.

    VII.II. Conduct in class
    Students who actively participate in classroom activities and who maintain a professional and respectful attitude will be evaluated positively. Students must not eat or use laptops during the class (unless specifically authorized by the teacher).  

    VII.III. Late work 
    One half point will be taken off (from the learning activities grade) for homework that is submitted late repeatedly. Late assignments will be corrected but will not be graded. 
    Missing a class does not release the student from completing the homework assigned or studying the topics covered in class that day.

    VII.IV. Make-up Exams
    If a student cannot be present for an examination for a valid reason (see V.II.) and approved by the professor and academic direction, a make-up exam will be given.

    VII.V. Exam retention
    After exams are graded, the teacher will review the examination with the class and collect all exams. The exams will be retained for one semester following the current one, and then they will be destroyed.

    VII.VI. Academic Honesty
    Students are expected to act in accordance with their university standards of conduct concerning plagiarism and academic dishonesty.

    VII.VII. Special accommodations 
    Students with special needs who require reasonable accommodations, special assistance or specific aid in this course (either for properly making-up classes, taking exams, etc.) should direct their request to Academic Coordination during the first days of the course.

    Teaching staff is required to report any disclosures harassment or violence of any kind.

Course Disclaimer

Please note that there are no beginning level Spanish courses offered in this program.

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.

Availability of courses is based on enrollment numbers. All students should seek pre-approval for alternate courses in the event of last minute class cancellations


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