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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 Rochester, J. Martin (CQ Press)
International Organizations
By Karns, Margaret & Karen Mingst (Rienner)
The Politics of Global Governance
By Diehl, Paul and Brian Frederking Eds. (Rienner)
International Organizations: Perspectives on Governance in the Twenty-First Century
By Pease, Kelly-Kate S. (Prentice Hall)
The United Nations and Changing World Politics
By Weiss, Thomas (Westview)
Between Peril and Promise: the Politics of International Law
By Rochester, J. Martin (CQ Press)
Course Learning Outcomes
  1. Explain the creation and role of international law and organizations from multiple theoretical perspectives.
  2. Describe the structure and explain the functioning of significant international organizations.
  3. Explain the principles and practice of international law in world politics.
  4. Explain and assess the role of international law and organizations in substantive areas, such as security, economic development, and human rights.
  5. Integrate a range of sources into an analysis of a contemporary issue facing international law or organizations.
Major Topics/Skills to be Covered:

Theories explaining the development and role of international law and organization in world politics (realism, liberalism, constructivism, radicalism/neomarxism, feminism)

  • Historical development of international organizations
  • United Nations system and structure (Security Council, General Assembly, Secretariat, ECOSOC).
    • Behavior of States at the UN
    • Financing the UN
    • Reforms and Controversies
  • Regional organizations
  • Role of Non-governmental organizations
  • Sources of international law
  • Means of dispute resolution
  • International Court of Justice
  • Security (Laws of war and use of force, collective security, peacekeeping, regional organizations (e.g. NATO), arms control)
  • Economics (Bretton Woods institutions, development agencies)
  • Human rights (UN institutions, NGO role, R2P and humanitarian interventions, International Criminal Court)
  • 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 15, 2015
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 learning outcomes and cover the subjects listed in the Major Topics/Skills to be Covered section. 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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