Center for International Relations

Room 818, Libermann Hall
600 Forbes Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15282
Phone: 412.396.2364

Fr. John Sawicki, C.S.Sp., Ph.D.

Dr. Carla Lucente
Associate Director

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Course Descriptions

The following are the course requirements for a major in International Relations. Many of these courses are cross-listed with the departments of Political Science, History, and Modern Languages and Literatures.

For a full list of courses, please review the university's course catalog

IR 200 - Writing and Research in International Relations                                                                                                                

Students will learn to do research and write papers related to IR issues.                                                                                                               

IR 208 - Comparative Political Systems: Advanced Industrial States

An introduction to government, politics, culture and economic policy in Europe and Japan. 

IR 209 - Comparative Political Systems: Developing States

An introduction to government, politics, culture, and economic policy in the developing world.

IR 216 - Foundations of International Relations Theory

The goal of this course is to develop understanding of how contemporary international relations theory rests upon a long-standing historical conversation about the conditions for a just international order. Specific objectives include comprehending a) classical realism, idealism, imperialism and cosmopolitanism b) Christian just war theory and cosmopolitanism c) early modern realism, the rise of the state and international law d) modern liberal nationalism and internationalism e) modern cosmopolitanism and imperialism.

IR 245 - International Relations

A study of politics between states including sovereignty, balance of power, war, and economics.

IR 254 - American Foreign Policy

A study of American foreign policy since World War II.

IR 305 - International Political Communication

An in-depth study of the various political communications means in International Society.

IR 345W - Ethics and International Relations

The course's principal purposes are to explore the possibilities, limits, and obligations of ethical action in international relations. The course applies the insights of different theories of ethics to a number of issues, including various wars, terrorism, and humanitarian intervention. W=Writing Intensive Course.

IR 351 - US Foreign Relations to WWI

An examination of the history of American foreign relations from the American Revolution to WWI. This is a study of the nation's exercise of sovereignty in foreign affairs, its rise to world power, and the internal and external conflicts that resulted.

IR 352 - US Foreign Relations Since 1917

The United States emerged as a major player on the world stage during and after World War I. This course will discuss the role that the country has played in international relations during the course of the 20th century and will also examine the domestic implications of the United States' rise to world dominance.

IR 393 - Political and Economic Geography

IR 394 - Historical Geography

A survey of the physical world which is the basis for a human civilization, past present, and future. What are the possibilities and limitations of different places for human development? How successful or unsuccessful were human settlements? Emphasis also on geography as an intellectual discipline and cultural phenomenon.

IR 499 - Advanced International Relations Theory 

The central substantive aim of the course is to develop a deep and nuanced understanding of how different theories explain international politics and which ones are most persuasive under what conditions. Theories are important because they affect both how we intepret our environment and how we respond to it. Theories, in short, drive action. Theories representing all of the major approaches to the study of world politics (material, institutional, and ideational) and levels of analysis (international, domestic, and individual) will be examined. A central objective of the class is for students to develop their critical reading abilities, i.e., what are the authors read in the class arguing? What are the strengths and weaknesses of each piece? What are the authors' (often hidden) assumptions? Correctly answering these questions is important not only in the context of this class, but in terms of how you - curent citizens and future leaders - see the world.