Course Descriptions

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

REQUIRED COURSES. Ten (10) credit hours as follows:

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 210 - Introduction to International Security Studies - 3 credits
This course seeks to establish 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 290 - The Role of Force in the Modern World - 3 credits
This course seeks to understand how power has been projected in the contemporary era. It looks closely at the advent of weapons of mass destruction, Fourth Generation Warfare, terrorism, hybrid warfare and the uses of socio-economic instruments to project power and achieve foreign policy aims. Theoretical bases for the role of force and multiple case studies will be employed.

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.

At least 15 credit hours in IR or ISS as prerequisite


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.

IR 296 - Intelligence Operations - 3 credits
This course investigates the nature and function of Intelligence for the state. It specifically considers the Intelligence Cycle, and the various functions of intelligence in state power. How information is gathered, analyzed, and used is reviewed, as well as major ethical limits on these processes.

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 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 362 - Federal Criminal Law Enforcement - 3 credits
Students in this course will receive much of the same legal training provided to federal law enforcement agents. We'll discuss important constitutional issues such as the Fourth Amendment, and Supreme Court rulings which have profound impact on how federal law enforcement operates. Among the topics we'll cover are: Special Agent authority; federal criminal statutes; search and seizure; and rules of criminal procedure. This course also includes a practical section called Law Enforcement Lab, where you will work through a realistic crime scenario. You will review evidence, write an investigative report, advocate for opening a case with the U.S. Attorney's Office, write an affidavit seeking criminal charges against the subject of the investigation, and, finally, participate in a mock Preliminary Hearing.

IR 406 - Homeland Security - 3 credits

Preserving the physical well being of the nation from natural calamity or weather events is the primary focus of this course. 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 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 415 - Twenty-First Century Terrorism - 3 credits
This course is case study intensive and examines the development of terrorism in the twenty-first century. It includes groups that were active throughout the twentieth century that have either continued into the twenty-first century and further evolved (e.g. al-Qaeda and its various post-9/11 manifestations), or else those that were deemed defunct only to appear to be making a comeback (e.g. splinter groups of the Irish Republican Army or IRA). The course analyzes changing trends, strategies and tactics, and ideological positions of different factions within and across terrorist groups in response to developments in domestic and global politics. Graduates from this course will be able to more confidently speak about how the face of terrorism has changed in the twenty-first century, as well as which elements of this form of political violence appear to remain timeless and fixed.

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 Intensive.  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 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 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 220 - The Arabs - 3 credits
This course is an introductory study of the Arabs, and examines how the Arabs developed from a geographically bound, largely nomadic, Semitic people to a global cultural force whose primary vehicles were religion and the Arabic language. Students taking this course will study the geography of the Arab world and the culture of the Arabs prior to the advent of Islam. The introduction of Islam on the Arabian Peninsula will then be examined, with an eye to understanding how the prophetic mission of the Islamic prophet Muhammad was influenced by, and impressed upon, Arab culture. The expansion of Islam via the early Arab conquests will help students gain a better understanding as to why several Muslim-majority countries self-identify as Arab despite a majority of their populations being overwhelmingly ethnically non-Arab, but also the ways in which the projection of early Arab cultural precepts via the religification of 7th century Arab culture impacted on the sociopolitical, economic, and religious development of the Muslim world up until, and into, the early 20th century.

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 253 - The History of the Modern Middle East - 3 credits
A study of the modern Near East with concentration upon the conflict between imperialism and nationalism, traditionalism and western influences in the area.  Cross-listed with HIST 254.

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 293 - History of Modern China - 3 credits
This is a survey of Chinese history examines the post-1840 period. Issues examined include the fate of traditional China in modern times, China's relationship with the West, war and revolution, Mao and the communist movement, reform and economic expansion in the post-Mao era and their efforts on China and the world.  Cross-listed with HIST 293.

IR 294 - China Today - 3 credits
This course introduces students to China in the contemporary era. After the death of the Chinese Communist leader Mao Zedong in 1976, China went through historic changes that led to the rise of China as the world's second largest economy and the significant liberalization of the country. At the same time, China has been confronted with lingering problems and new challenges, including continued political authoritarianism, increasing economic disparity, social tension and cultural uncertainty, as well as issues of environmental sustainability. China's national experience in the past few decades offers important lessons for the larger world as it struggles with modernization. Course suitable for students wishing to acquire a basic knowledge of China in recent times.  Cross-listed with HIST 294.

IR 311 - European Security and Mass Migration - 3 credits
Students taking this course will learn about contemporary migration patterns into the European Union (EU), and the various institutional and legal mechanisms that were in place prior to the 2015 refugee crisis to manage all forms of migration into the EU. The politics of the refugee crisis will then be examined, with an eye to appreciating the various challenges the crisis presented member states, with a focus on security-related issues. Responses and measures to the crisis at the level of individual states and the Union will be covered, with students gaining a deeper appreciation of the benefits, shortcomings, outright failings and consequences of collectively managing crises at the EU-level, as well as potential future developments.

IR 319 - Politics of RUSSIA and Eastern Europe - 3 credits
This course provides an overview of major political developments in selected Eastern European countries since 1945, with an emphasis on the difficulties of making the transition to post-communist governments as well as the state of democracy in these countries today. This course will focus on the countries of Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia. Cross-listed with POSC 321.

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 328W - Revolt and Change: Protest in Spanish American Literature - 3 credits
Nature and types of protest expressed in modern Spanish American literature.  Cross-listed with MLSP 329W.

IR 376: Revolution: Modern Latin America - 3 credits
The course begins with an analysis of different revolutionary theories, followed by an in-depth examination of the Mexican, Cuban, Chilean, and Nicaraguan revolutions of the 20th century. Unsuccessful guerilla movements in Guatemala and Colombia as well as successful, peaceful social movements pertaining to women's rights will be examined. Cross-listed with HIST 376.

IR 378 - Modern Africa: Independence and Issues - 3 credits
The history of independent Africa is a turbulent one, filled with wars, political upheavals, social disasters and unrest, economic calamities and a smattering of great successes. This course covers a variety of topics in the history of Africa from the independence movements of the post Second World War era to the present. Topics include, but are not limited to the following: the gaining of African independence, Africa during the Cold War, various military, political and social conflicts that plague modern Africa, the role of the United Nations and the African Union in creating political and economic stability in present-day Africa, the successes of various African nations at creating stable and economically viable states, and finally what the future holds for Africa. These topics will be examined through a variety of perspectives such as ethnicity, political, religious, economic and social factors.  Cross-listed with HIST 378.

IR 379 - East Asia and the U.S. - 3 credits
This course introduces students to the history of East Asia' s interactions with the United States. Among subjects examined are the political, economic and cultural contexts in which China, Japan, Korea and Vietnam encountered America; nationalist and imperialist struggles in the Far East and US involvement; the experience of American Christian missions in the region; Communist revolutions in East Asia and US policies; East Asia's economic "miracle" and its effects on the U.S.; and current challenges to peoples of the trans-Pacific community.  Cross-listed with HIST 379.

IR 435 - Political Islam - 3 credits
This course studies the ideological foundations of contemporary political Islam through tracing its evolution via the writings and treatises of its most influential thinkers. Importantly, it studies political Islam in its various manifestations not only in Muslim majority contexts, but also in the West. Students will become familiar with the activism of pioneer Islamist movements like the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, and upon completing the course, will be able to identify the primary ideological differences between violent and non-violent manifestations of political Islam, its impact on social relations across geographical contexts, its resilience and success among Muslim publics, as well as obstacles to its democratization.

IR 483W - Mexico and the U.S. - 3 credits
This course focuses on U.S.-Mexican relations since the 19th century and covers the Texas rebellion and annexation, the U.S.-Mexican War, American economic penetration during the Porfiriato, U.S. military intervention in the Mexican Revolution, the expropriation of American-owned lands and oil companies in the 1930s, Mexican migration to and repatriation from the U.S., the Mexican foreign debt crisis, the narcotics trade, NAFTA, and the Mexican immigrant community in the United States.  Cross-listed with HIST 483W.

IR 485W - China in Revolution - 3 credits
This course investigates changes in China during the 20th century, with a focus on the Chinese communist movement. Topics examined include the meaning of revolution in the Chinese context; ideology, causes, events, and personalities of the Chinese revolution; consequences and impact of the revolutionary movement.  Cross-listed with HIST 485W.

IR 488W - China and the West - 3 credits
This course explores China's encounters with the West from early times through the modern age, with an emphasis on cultural exchanges. It opens with a survey of Chinese history and Sino-Western interactions over time and then focuses on topics such as the Silk Road, the Chinese Empire and the Philosophes, Christianity in China, American influence and Chinese liberalism, Marxism and Chinese communist revolution, Chinese culture in the West and Western presence in China today.  Cross-listed with HIST 488W.


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.

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.

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 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 272 - Governance and National Security in the Arab World
This course is an introduction to governance and security in the contemporary Middle East. Students will be instructed in key developments in the modern history of countries in the region, built on two core building blocks that intersect as the course progresses. The first is a comparative study of the historical development of select Middle Eastern regimes with an eye to appreciating similarities and differences in the nations' political and socio-economic trajectories. The second block studies predominant security challenges in the Middle East, examining their relation to regional politics, as well as their greater impact on global security. Topics studied include, independence/post-independence conflicts and state formation, religious reform efforts and reasons for the predominance of political Islam, the challenge of 21st century media and technologies to authoritarian rule in light of the recent Arab Spring protests, as well as understanding the strategic importance of the region to U.S. interests and Western advanced conceptions of world order.

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 342 - Global Economic Perspectives - 3 credits
This course uses the principles of microeconomics and macroeconomics to evaluate and analyze current global economic events. The course presents the plusses and minuses of globalization, an introduction to international trade and finance, a comparison of different economic systems and philosophies, and alternative theories of global poverty and economic development.

IR 345 - 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.

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 405 - Transnational Organized Crime - 3 credits
This course explores the dramatic rise of transnational organized crime, its threat to domestic and international security, and strategies to combat it. It surveys established and emerging international organized crime groups who commit diverse criminal activities - trafficking, smuggling, kidnapping, extortion, theft, etc. Case studies will be used to analyze how criminal groups weaken states, encourage corruption, and undermine the rule of law; international efforts and legal frameworks to combat transnational organized crime; real-world challenges in working cases; and the necessity of effective international cooperation.

IR 413W - 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 413W.


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 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 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.