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Course descriptions

The following are course descriptions of the requirements and electives 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 101 - Catholic Thought, the State and Security in the Modern World - 3 credits
The increasing tensions of the present security environment can have a strangling effect on the spirit and ethos of moral reason, and faith founded social institutions. The State needs to be secure and have its people secure. Doing so, however, may involve hard choices to do things it would not do ordinarily. How can a principled and faith founded people respond to these exigencies? This course introduces the student to the rich tradition of Roman Catholic thinking on the subject of war, peace, the State and the dignity of the individual. It will then open a conversation with some of the other approaches to contemporary problems, as well as assess responses to pressing security issues confronting the world.  Cross-listed with POSC 101, Theme Area: Faith & Reason.

IR 102 - Careers in International Relations - 1 credit
This course is intended to introduce the new IR major to fundamental logistics of a career in International Relations generally and the IR program at Duquesne University specifically. It will cover professional and academic elements, review internship processes and outline study abroad options. Further it will provide a stepping stone to the IR advisement process, career options with the major and help students focus on setting and achieving career goals after graduation. 

IR 103 - Elementary Arabic I for International Relations - 3 credits
This is an introduction to the Arabic language. Emphasis will be given to appropriate lexicon for students of IR.

IR 104 - Elementary Arabic II for International Relations - 3 credits
A continuation of IR 103 with additional emphasis to the four language skills and appropriate lexicon for students of IR.

IR 110 - Current Problems in International Politics - 3 credits
A survey of issues that states currently face in world politics.
Cross-listed with POSC 110, Theme Area: Global Diversity & Social Justice.

IR 120 - International Political Economy - 3 credits
An introduction to how government decisions about trade, investment, debt and market developments impact people domestically and worldwide. Special attention is given to the problems experienced by poorer countries and responsibilities of developed nations. No background in the subject matter is required.  Cross-listed with POSC 120

IR 200 - Writing and Research in International Relations - 3 credits
Students will learn to do research and write papers related to IR issues.

IR 201 - Human Security in Sub-Saharan Africa - 3 credits
Focusing on sub-Saharan Africa, the course examines human security issues including religious and ethnic conflict within states; genocide and mass slaughter; terrorism; food security; migration and human trafficking; development and aid; and democratization. Among countries considered in the course are some of Africa's largest and most important, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Sudan, Uganda, and Zambia.  Cross-listed with POSC 201

IR 202 - Politics of India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and South Asia - 3 credits
Examines the politics, society, and culture of key countries in South Asia. Highlights problems of democracy, terrorism, poverty, human rights, and development. Particular attention to the role of religion, caste, ethnicity, and gender. Cross-listed with POSC 205

IR 206 - Japanese Culture - 3 credits
This course introduces students to interdisciplinary approaches to the holistic study of Japanese culture; its tradition and the contemporary society. It draws on case studies of current issues that require students to think analytically and critically about how we approach, interpret, and respond to different cultures. The class will also experience the taste of culture through hands-on crafts and the culinary arts. The course is designed to help students broaden their knowledge of Japan and prepare them for global competition.
Cross-listed with MLJA 206

IR 207 - Arab Culture - 3 credits
This course will engage students in the study of a variety of literary, linguistic, geographical, historical, social, religious, cultural and artistic aspects of the modern Arab world. Many course components are specifically intended to heighten students' sensitivity to racial bias and sharpen awareness of multicultural issues. The course intends to increase tolerance and understanding by providing students with a realistic view of the cultural contours of the modern Arab world and the richness of the Arab cultural heritage. Cross-listed with MLAR 206

IR 208 - Politics of Great Powers - 3 credits
An introduction to government, politics, culture and economic policy in Europe and Japan.  Cross-listed with POSC 208

IR 209 - Politics of Emerging Powers - 3 credits.
An introduction to government, politics, culture, and economic policy in the developing world. Cross-listed with POSC 209

IR 210 - Introduction to International Security Studies - 3 credits
This course seeks to establish to basic foundations of the use of force by States, legal and moral restrictions on its application and the fundamental foundations of strategic policy. It will examine how states have responded to their security challenges over the centuries as technology has transformed the strategic landscape by examining a series of State security case studies.  Cross-listed with POSC 210

IR 211 - Intermediate Arabic I for International Relations - 3 credits
Intermediate Arabic I for International Relations will serve to extend knowledge and experience gained for beginning students in First and Second Semester of Arabic instruction, Arabic for IR 103 and 104 pushing students in their language production to increasingly complex forms of expression, retention, and comprehension in all phases of the Arabic language. Students will shoulder considerable work in the language at home and away from class meetings. Work completed at home will then be applied and put to consistent use via in-class conversation, quizzing, reported speech, written examination, and ultimately, an extended end-of-semester presentation.

IR 212 - Intermediate Arabic II for International Relations - 3 credits
International Relations 212 (Arabic Conversation in International Relations IV) will serve as the continuation of the educational program Arabic in Conversation in International Relations, extending knowledge and experience gained for beginning students in first three semesters of Arabic in International Relations. Entrance into this course will require the successful completion of third semester Arabic for IR and, as such, will begin with an assumed student mastery of certain concepts in written and spoken Arabic covered in detail in previous semesters. IR 212 will then extend this knowledge, pushing students in their language production to increasingly complex forms of expression with increasingly developed scenarios in conversation and in-class role plays. By the end of IR 212, students will be approaching basic conversational fluency in Arabic to include fluid comprehension of both the written and spoken word.

IR 216 - Foundations of International Relations Theory - 3 credits
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.
Cross-listed with POSC 216

IR 222 - Intelligence and Foreign Policy - 3 credits
The Central Intelligence Agency has at times been in step with American policy and at other times (in Cuba in the 1960's and in Afghanistan, 2001) seemed to drive it. The course will look at the CIA through the eyes of the individuals chosen to lead it, from Allen Dulles to Stansfield Turner and, in an age of transnational threats, from George Tenant to the tenure of John Brennan. The course will also explore the relationship between the various CIA Directors and the presidents they served.  Cross-listed with POSC 222

IR 245 - International Relations - 3 credits
A study of politics between states including sovereignty, balance of power, war, and economics.  Cross-listed with POSC 245

IR 254 - American Foreign Policy - 3 credits
A study of American foreign policy since World War II.  Cross-listed with POSC 255

IR 279 - Culture and Politics of the Middle East - 3 credits
This course is designed as an introduction to the History, Politics, and Culture of the Middle East beginning with the inception of Islam and moving forward through to the present day. As such, the course will guide students through the many and varied political and cultural developments in the Middle East and North Africa covering the better part of the last 2,500 years. (online)

IR 295 - War and Peace in the Nuclear Age - 3 credits
An examination of the interaction between politics and the use of force in the nuclear age.  Cross-listed with POSC 295

IR 296 - Intelligence Operations - 3 credits
Intelligence existed as a profession long before intelligence organizations became instruments of power. The development of national intelligence agencies was - in some instances - crucial to a government retaining or increasing control; in other instances intelligence organizations were partly responsible for a government's collapse. This course examines the role of intelligence in national power, the Intelligence Cycle and basic principles of intelligence operations.

IR 300 - Intelligence, Covert Action, and Counter-Insurgency - 3 credits
Covert action operations and counter-intelligence have been employed in counter-insurgency from the 1600's to the present global struggle against terrorism. The same forms of low intensity conflict are being fought in Afghanistan and the Middle East. This course will survey counter-insurgency doctrine and analyze the value and problems intelligence operations present in these types of conflicts.

IR 301 - Intelligence Ethics - 3 credits
The Intelligence Ethics course is designed to engage participants on the ethical dilemmas posed by the world of espionage, including use of human assets, the ethics of the acquisition of intelligence, targeted killings, propaganda, as well as other covert action actions. Ethics and intelligence case studies in the contemporary era will consider various modalities performed by the Central Intelligence Agency in the open-ended War on Terror, including enhanced interrogation techniques (2001-2009), the incarceration of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and the death of Osama bin Laden under CIA direction in 2011.

IR 303 - Politics of Immigration - 3 credits
This course explores the challenges of immigrant incorporation in an increasingly transnational world. Through comparative case studies drawn from the European and American contexts, as well as community engaged learning activities with Pittsburgh partner institutions, students gain both a theoretical and practical exposure to the difficulties that both immigrant groups and policymakers face regarding immigrant incorporation.  Cross-listed with POSC 303

IR 326 - German Foreign Policy - 3 credits
This course surveys the transformation of German political aspirations from the ascendancy of Kaiser Wilhelm II to the disintegration of Imperial Germany following defeat in the First World War in 1918. The rise of Adolf Hitler in the Weimar Republic resulted in the ascendancy of the Nazi movement in 1933 and its complete collapse in 1945. The course will trace the growth of Germany as the economic powerhouse of Europe in the post-war age, and the pivotal roles of chancellors Konrad Adenauer, Willi Brandt, Helmut Kohl and Angela Merkel in the development - and the problems - of the European Union.  Cross-listed with POSC 315

IR 345(W) - Security Ethics - 3 credits
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. Cross-listed with POSC 345(W)

IR 349 - United Nations I - 1 credit/ IR 350 - United Nation II - 1 credit
IR 353 - United Nations III - 2 credits/ IR 354 - United Nations IV - 2 credits
Examines the processes and policies of the United Nations through classroom lecture and experiential (lab) activities. A strong focus will be placed on reinforcing professional skills such as research, negotiation, and public speaking. The required lab portion of this course will consist of student participation in all parts of local and/or national Model United Nations conferences, amounting to at least 12 hours of this lab/activity outside the classroom. Permission of instructor required. Cross-listed with POSC 349, POSC 350, POSC 353, and POSC 354

IR 351 - US Foreign Relations to WWI - 3 credits
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.  Cross-listed with HIST 351

IR 352 - US Foreign Relations Since 1917 - 3 credits
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.  Cross-listed with HIST 352

IR 360 - Crisis Management in Complex Emergencies - 3 credits
This course considers crisis management in theory and practice, drawing from the periods since World War II. Theories of crisis prevention, escalation, management, de-escalation, termination, and post-crisis management will be covered. In addition, alternative decision-making theories, structures, and processes, the nature of crisis bargaining and negotiation and the role of third parties will be addressed. Special attention will be paid to the role of military force in post-Cold War crisis scenarios. The course will include case studies and a simulation designed to provide context to the study of crisis management.  Cross-listed with POSC 360

IR 391 - Advanced International Political Economy - 3 credits
This course surveys the basic positions in IPE as well as hegemonic stability theories, more complex trade case studies, foreign economic policies and international economic organizational behaviors - such as Basel III, Sovereign Wealth Funds or GATT/WTO rounds - which influence global trade behavior. The interplay between governmental interests and global finance and trade will be emphasized.

IR 393 - Political and Economic Geography - 3 credits
This course is intent upon providing an in-depth understanding of world geography and its corresponding relationship to the rise and decline, existence and maintenance of nation-states. Of necessity, students will be engaged in political and economic realities that may contribute to the future of the world, in war or in peace.

IR 394 - Historical Geography - 3 credits
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.
Cross-listed with HIST 394

IR 404 - Introduction to Information Security - 3 credits
This course will cover fundamentals of the Internet, a survey of foundational cyber-security concepts, and managerial and policy topics. The course is geared to help students have sufficient technical awareness and managerial competence that will enable them to pursue advanced study in cyber security. There is no prerequisite for this course but successful students will have fundamental knowledge of information and computer systems as well as a general awareness of security issues in these systems.

IR 405 - Transnational Organized Crime - 3 credits
A course which looks at the dramatic rise of international organized crime, and discusses states' responses to it.

IR 406 - Homeland Security
This course aims to enhance the students' ability to see through to the crux of contemporary policy issues efficiently, quickly, and logically. The course explores techniques of policy analysis in depth, as well as the practical constraints imposed by the policy-making environment in several policy areas, in order to hone those critical analytic skills.  Cross-listed with POSC 405

IR 407 - Terrorism - 3 credits
The phenomenon of transnational violence perpetrated by non state actors against civilians has become the single most pressing security issue in the modern era. This sort of violence - terrorism - is studied here in all its facets: motivations, organization, funding, tactics and goals. Furthermore, kinetic as well as soft-power counter-terror strategies are also reviewed from the policy, legal and moral perspectives, among others.  Cross-listed with POSC 407

IR 408 - Democracy, Security, and World Politics - 3 credits
Examines power, conflict and democratization primarily in countries outside the U.S.  Cross-listed with POSC 408

IR 409W - Ethnic Conflict: Politics and Policy - 3 credits
Ethnic conflict threatens political stability in countries around the world. From Iraq to Bolivia, from Spain to Indonesia, conflicts have erupted over a wide variety of "ethnic" issues in recent years. Yet, despite its ubiquity, ethnic politics remains poorly understood: Why do people identify with ethnic groups? Why does ethnic identity sometimes lead to private ritual, sometimes to peaceful mobilization through mass movements or political parties, and sometimes to violent conflict, pogroms, and genocide? Most pressingly, are there solutions to ethnic conflict, particularly in deeply-divided, violence-ridden countries?  Cross-listed with POSC 419W

IR 413(W) - Human Rights and Human Security: Politics, Policy and Law - 3 credits
Explores the international human rights regime including philosophical sources, legal instruments, governmental and non-state actors, and impacts on the international system. Cross-listed with POSC 413(W)

IR 422W - American Defense Policy - 3 credits
This course studies the institutions, policies, and decision making of the American defense establishment. Lecture. University Core Writing Intens.  Cross-listed with POSC 422W

IR 423W - Comparative Intelligence Agencies - 3 credits
An examination of the development, structure and usage of intelligence agencies with particular emphasis on how such functions impact upon national policy makers and the policy making process. The primary focus of the course centers on a study of the CIA, British M16 and Russian KGB/FSB.  Cross-listed with POSC 429W

IR 432 - Network Situational Awareness - 3 credits
The 21st century created an unprecedented dependence on the Internet that is ever changing and affects all aspects of business and communications. This change brings up challenging problems which business decisions analysts face both at the micro and macro-level. Students will use a variety of software to identify and analyze network communications to solve challenge problems. There will be a heavy focus on the threats facing organizations along with general network profiling techniques. Although there is no prerequisite, students should have a firm grasp on RFC-compliant communications since this class will only lightly cover certain topics.

IR 437- Intelligence Research - 3 credits
This seminar topic will focus on the tenure of Stansfield Turner as Director of Central Intelligence, 1977-1981. Turner's directorship was his first position in the U.S. Intelligence Community; he had previously served as an Admiral in the Navy. The course will use Turner's book Secrecy and Democracy as a guide and will explore the dilemmas of reforming an intelligence institution as well as contrast Turner's effort with the (considerably later) 2004 Intelligence Reform Act.

IR 462 - Applied Threat Systems - 3 credits
This course seeks to broaden the perception of how organizations perceive digital vulnerabilities, exploitation, malware, network communications, memory forensics, and malicious actors in general. Moreover, work will focus on advanced detection threats, as well as integrated approaches for solutions across the digital attack surface.

IR 464W - Cybersecurity Studies Capstone Project - 3 credits
The purpose of the Capstone Project is for the students to apply theoretical knowledge acquired during the Cybersecurity program to a project involving actual data in a realistic setting. During the project, students engage in the entire process of solving a real-world cybersecurity issue, from collecting and processing actual data to applying suitable and appropriate analytic methods to the problem. Both the problem statements for the project assignments and the datasets should originate from real-world domains similar to those that students might typically encounter within industry, government, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), or academic research.
Depending on the project's complexity, students will work individually or in small teams on a problem statement, typically specified either by the student or by a faculty, industry, or governmental sponsor. The sponsor will usually be responsible for supplying the relevant data set. Research groups (both from within, as well as external to Duquesne) may propose projects. Pending approval by the instructor, students are free to design their own problem statement and construct their own data set. As the project and problem statements warrant, students may be permitted to organize into teams of two to three participants. Teams larger than three will be considered for approval on a case-by-case basis. Each project team will be supervised by the instructor (in some cases with a relevant faculty advisor and/or industry or government sponsor). The final problem statements and the composition of the teams will be approved by the instructor.

IR 498 - Global Security Problems - 3 credits
This course is a deep dive on pressing international security problems, as well as frozen conflicts and developing security issues. It is intended as a capstone to the ISS major and will feature a written research project.

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.  Cross-listed with POSC 497

IR 491- Internship - 1-3 crs. With special permission.

IR 493W - Directed Readings - 1-6 crs. With special permission.

IR 496 - Special Topics - 3 crs. With special permission.