Carnegie Mellon University

Theories of International Relations

Course Number: 84-326

theories-of-intl-relations.jpgThis course focuses on teaching the main approaches for the study of international relations. Although you will learn about some current international issues and about the evolution of international relations, and see how various theories would explain important past international events, the focus of this course is analytic rather than substantive. In other words, it will focus on general arguments and their underlying logic rather than on specific events and details or, for that matter, definitive answers as to 'which side is right'. As such, this course will help you to better understand the world we live in and provide you with tools for analyzing various international events. It will also acquaint you with many of the frameworks frequently used by statesmen, either implicitly or explicitly, in order to understand the world and to make policy on various issue areas. The course will begin by analyzing approaches from the three main levels of analysis: the individual, domestic (liberal and non-liberal theories) and systemic (neorealism, etc.). It will move on to discuss approaches which focus on, for example, the effects of strategic interactions between states, of international institutions and of norms and of the overall 'social environment' that states live in.  The course will then conclude by discussing the future of international relations.

Academic Year: 2020-2021
Semester(s): Fall
Required/Elective: Required
Units: 9
Location(s): Pittsburgh


Lecture and Required Discussion

Learning Objectives

By the end of this course, students should be able to: (1) Identify the arguments and propositions of the leading theories in the IR field; (2) Understand how newer theoretical approaches to IR build upon or depart from classical theories; (3) Distinguish among different explanations for behavior in IR, with reference to the readings; (4) Assess the strengths and weaknesses of various approaches to the study of IR, particularly in relation to major IR policy decisions that have occurred throughout history; and (5) Develop an analytical stance with regard to pertinent IR issues.

Fall 2020
Tuesday and Thursday
8-9:20 AM (remote)

Required course for the following IPS degrees:
B.S. International Relations and Politics
Additional Major in International Relations and Politics
B.S. Economics and Politics
Additional Major in Economics and Politics
Minor in International Relations and Politics
Minor in Politics and Public Policy (one of three options)
Minor in Cybersecurity and International Conflict (one of two options)