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Master Syllabus

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Administrative Unit: History and Political Science Department
Course Prefix and Number: POSC 326
Course Title: International Law and Organizations
Number of:
Credit Hours 3
Lecture Hours 3
Lab Hours 0
Catalog Description: Study of the evolution of international law and organizations and their role in global politics in areas such as human rights, environmental protection, collective security and global trade. Prerequisite: POSC 292.
Prerequisite(s) / Corequisite(s): POSC 292.
Course Rotation for Day Program: Offered odd Spring.
Text(s): Most current editions of the following:

Any appropriate text for a course in international law and organization.

International Organizations
By Karns, Margaret & Karen Mingst (Rienner)
International Organizations
By Bennet, LeRoy & James Oliver (Prentice Hall)
The Politics of Global Governance
By Diehl, Paul (Rienner)
International Organizations: Perspectives on Governance in the Twenty-First Century
By Pease, Kelly-Kate S. (Prentice Hall)
Modern International Law
By Wolfe, James (Prentice Hall)
Course Objectives
  • To examine the major theoretical approaches to understanding international law and organizations.
  • To explore the structure and functioning of significant international organizations, including the United Nations, the European Union, NATO, the International Monetary Fund, World Bank and World Trade Organization.
  • To examine the principles and practice of international law in world politics.
  • To explore the impact of international law and organizations in the area of security, economic development, environmental protection and human rights.
    Measurable Learning
  • Explain the creation and role of international law and organizations from the theoretical perspectives of liberalism, realism and radicalism.
  • Describe the structure of the United Nations and explain the functioning of the principal structures: Security Council, General Assembly, Secretariat and ECOSOC.
  • Compare and contrast the role played by major powers, middle-ranking powers and small powers in the United Nations.
  • Describe and assess efforts to reform the Security Council and the financing of the United Nations.
  • Describe and explain the functioning of the European Union and NATO.
  • Recognize the role of non-governmental organizations in international affairs, including their relationship to International Governmental Organizations (IGOs) and Multinational Corporations (MNCs).
  • Identify and explain the sources of international law.
  • Explain the rights and duties of states under international law.
  • Describe the process by which treaties are made.
  • Explain the concepts of jurisdiction and extradition and how they have been applied.
  • Decribe and explain the role and functioning of the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court.
  • Assess the application of collective security since the League of Nations.
  • Explain how the scope and challenges of peacekeeping have developed since the creation of the United Nations.
  • Describe and assess proposals to reform UN peacekeeping.
  • Describe the structure and explain the functioning of the following international financial institutions: IMF, World Bank and WTO.
  • Evaluate the impact of international law and organizations on the development of human rights norms.
  • Evaluate the impact of international conferences and organizations on the development of international environmental regimes.
    Topical Outline: A significant, intensive writing component is required for this course. This requirement may be satisfied by a single typewritten paper of twelve pages in length or more, properly cited, or by multiple assignments of equivalent length.
  • Theories explaining the development and role of international law and organization in world politics
  • International organizations
  • Historical development of international organizations
  • United Nations system
  • Regional organizations
  • Non-governmental organizations and multinational corporations
  • International law
  • Sources of international law
  • Law of states (rights and duties)
  • Law of treaties
  • Laws of war and use of force
  • Jurisdiction and extradition
  • Means of dispute resolution
  • International courts and tribunals
  • Applying global governance
  • Security (collective security, peacekeeping)
  • Economics (Bretton Woods institutions, development agencies)
  • Human rights
  • Environment
  • Assessing the impact of international law and organization
    Culminating Experience Statement:

    Material from this course may be tested on the Major Field Test (MFT) administered during the Culminating Experience course for the degree. 
    During this course the ETS Proficiency Profile may be administered.  This 40-minute standardized test measures learning in general education courses.  The results of the tests are used by faculty to improve the general education curriculum at the College.


    Recommended maximum class size for this course: 25

    Library Resources:

    Online databases are available at You may access them from off-campus using your CougarTrack login and password when prompted.

    Prepared by: Brian Kessel Date: April 2, 2008
    NOTE: The intention of this master course syllabus is to provide an outline of the contents of this course, as specified by the faculty of Columbia College, regardless of who teaches the course, when it is taught, or where it is taught. Faculty members teaching this course for Columbia College are expected to facilitate learning pursuant to the course objectives and cover the subjects listed in the topical outline. However, instructors are also encouraged to cover additional topics of interest so long as those topics are relevant to the course's subject. The master syllabus is, therefore, prescriptive in nature but also allows for a diversity of individual approaches to course material.

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