International Relations, Comparative Politics, and National Security

The Department of Political Science offers a rich set of courses for the advanced study of the world affairs and of America’s place in 21st century international system. As suggested by the name of this area of emphasis, three sets of courses constitute this area of emphasis: (1) International Relations, (2) Comparative Politics, and (3) National Security Analysis. Students interested in world affair are able draw upon these three sets of courses to construct a focus that meets their particular interests. Click on this link for the specific course requirements and electives for the International Relations, Comparative Politics, and National Security area of emphasis. Also, see this website’s section on study abroad programs and exchanges in comparative politics and international relations. Subject to Departmental approval, Political Science courses taken on these study abroad programs can count as electives for this track.

International Relations.

Courses in “international relations” focus on the inherently complex interactions of diverse global actors (nation-states, international organizations, and various transnational actors) across the mix of diplomatic-security, economics, human rights, and development issues. Our courses focus on not only the political dynamics of the international system, but also the logic and sources of national foreign policies.

Students begin this concentration with a core course examining analytical approaches to the study of international politics: POLS260 Introduction to International Relations. Subsequently, they can choose among the following international relations courses: POLS360 International Political Economy, POLS361International Organization, POLS362 Comparative Foreign Policy, POLS363International Law, POLS364 American Foreign Relations, POLS365: Foreign Policy Decision Making, POLS366 Political Economy of Developing Areas; POLS367 Latin America in International Affairs, POLS368 Politics of War and Peace, POLS369 Far East International Affairs, and POLS461 Transformation of War.

Comparative Politics

Courses on “comparative politics” explore the internal dynamics of national political systems beyond the United States. Our courses consider the national and regional diversity of such political systems with respect to their institutional structures, political cultures, and histories. Besides the fact that the study of foreign political systems is fascinating in and of itself, the comparative analysis of these systems provide a deeper theoretical understanding of political science—all in a way that includes insights into character of politics and institutions in the United States.

The initial required course in this area is POLS250 Introduction to Comparative Politics. Through a survey of political systems throughout the world’s regions and analytic, this course provides an introduction to concepts and theories for comparing diverse political system. Our advanced comparative politic” are focused on specific regions and countries. They are: POLS350 Governments of Japan, POLS351Russian and Post-Soviet Politics, POLS352 Politics of the European Union,POLS353 Western Democratic Governments, POLS354 Politics of China, POLS355Governments of Latin America, POLS356 Governments of the Middle East, POLS357Comparative Law and Politics, POLS358 Politics of Africa, and POLS359 Politics of Terrorism. Students in this track are also expected to take two history courses, and these can typically complement the student’s political science coursework on a particular region.

National Security Analysis

This focus is targeted at students who are mainly interested in international affairs from the perspective of American foreign policy and national security. As with the previous track, students take the two core introductory courses in comparative political analysis (POLS250) and International Relations (POLS260). However, much of the advanced course work can be centered on policy analysis in intelligence analysis, foreign policy, intelligence, and national security policy.

The core courses for this option are: POLS301 Introduction to Intelligence Analysis,POLS302 Intelligence Analysis Methods, POLS339 National Security Analysis,POLS362 Comparative Foreign Policy, and POLS365 Foreign Policy Decision Making. Other courses appropriate for this area consider the domestic sources of American foreign policy. These course include not only POLS364 American Foreign Relations, but also advanced courses on key institutional actors and processes:POLS310 The American Presidency, POLS318 Legislative Process (Congress), andPOLS342 Bureaucratic Politics. Finally, advanced work in this area includes comparative political analysis on the politics of a particular region, particularly a so-called “critical need” region and thus such courses as POLS351 Russian and Post-Soviet Politics, POLS354 Politics of China, POLS356 Governments of the Middle East, and POLS359 Politics of Terrorism. Included here is a requirement that students in this option take a third year of a foreign language. The choice of language is based on the student’s preferences, but note that “critical need” languages of Arabic, Chinese, and Russian are offered through the WVUDepartment of Foreign Languages. Other non-Political Science courses recommended are Philosophy (e.g., Critical Reasoning); History (e.g., U.S. Diplomatic History); or Geography (e.g., Political Geography).

Note: within the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences, there is an separate option for studying international affairs and comparative politics—namely, majoring in International Studies. Although administratively housed in the Political Science Department, the International Studies Program is an entirely separate major and offers a fully multidisciplinary curriculum with courses from Economics, Foreign Languages, Geography, History, Sociology/Anthropology, as well as Political Science. Chick on this link to access the International Studies Program website.