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POLS 2035 (formerly POLS 1501) Syllabus

Course Syllabus

POLS 2035 (formerly POLS 1501) - Introduction to International Relations

3 Credit Hours

Course Information

Course Description:

This course is designed to provide you with a broad introduction to International Relations (IR). This course will introduce you to the fundamental approaches to studying IR and will consider how each approach treats selected aspects of current international politics.

Course Outcomes:

The end goals of this course are for you to understand the various approaches to IR, be able to analyze real world situations according to these theories and be able to explain which of the theories is the most effective in the description, prescription, and prediction of international events. We will be studying the major theories of realism, liberalism, and globalism/structuralism as well as related topics such as theories of conflict, international organizations, and terrorism. 

Prerequisites & Co-requisites:


Course Topics:

See Assessments for exact quiz dates and Content for further resources and assignments.

Week One

  •  Chapter One – Interpreting World Politics

Weeks One & Two

  • Chapter Two – Theories of World Politics
  • Simulation

Weeks One & Two

  • Chapter Three – Great Power Rivalries and Relations
  • Samuel Huntington’s Clash of Civilisations. Download pdf.

Weeks Two & Three

Weeks Two & Three

  •  Chapter Five – Non-State Actors and the Quest for Global Community

Weeks Three & Four

  • Chapter Six – International Decision Making

Weeks Three & Four

  • Chapter Seven – The Threat of Armed Aggression to the World

Weeks Four & Five

  • Chapter Eight – The Military Pursuit of Power Through Arms and Military Strategy

Weeks Four & Five

  • Chapter Nine - Alliances and the Balance of Power


Weeks Six & Seven

  • Chapter Ten – Negotiated Conflict Resolution and International Law

Weeks Seven & Eight

  • Chapter Eleven – Institutional and Normative Approaches to Collective Security
  • News reports

Weeks Eight & Nine

  • Chapter Twelve – The Globalization of International Finance

Weeks Nine & Ten

  • Chapter Thirteen – International Trade in the Global Marketplace

Weeks Ten & Eleven

  •  Chapter Fourteen – The Demographic and Cultural Dimensions of Globalization

Weeks Eleven & Twelve

  • Chapter 15 - The Promotion of Human Development and Human Rights

Weeks Twelve & Thirteen

  • Chapter 16 - Global Responsibility for the Preservation of the Environment
  •  Kyoto Simulation 

Final Exam

Specific Course Requirements:

Textbooks, Supplementary Materials, Hardware and Software Requirements

Required Textbooks:

Please visit the Virtual Bookstore to obtain textbook information for this course. Move your cursor over the "Books" link in the navigation bar and select "Textbooks & Course Materials." Select your Program, Term, Department, and Course; then select "Submit."

Supplementary Materials:

It is strongly recommended that you remain up to date on current events particularly international issues. This can be accomplished by reading a major newspaper such as the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and/or The Economist. 

Hardware and Software Requirements:

Minimum hardware requirements can be found here.

Minimum software requirements can be found here.

Common applications you might need:

Web Resources:

Purdue OWL Online Writing Lab (for APA, MLA, or Chicago style)

The Writing Center Online Writer's Handbook

Student Resources:
  • Technical support information can be found on the TN eCampus Help Desk page.
  • Smarthinking virtual tutoring is available FREE of charge. to access Smarthinking, visit the course homepage and select Smarthinking under Course Resources. You also view sample sessions to see what Smarthinking offers and how it works.
  • Information on other student issues or concerns can be located on the TN eCampus Student Resources page.

Instructor Information

Please see "Instructor Information" in the Getting Started Module for instructor contact information, virtual office hours, and other communication information. You can expect to receive a response from the instructor within 24-48 hours unless notified of extenuating circumstances.

Participation, Assessments, & Grading

Testing Procedures:

The midterm and final exams will consist of short answer and essay questions.

Grading Procedures:

There will be an online quiz after each chapter. The online quizzes will consist of true/false; multiple choice and some short answer questions. *NOTE* The quizzes are programmed to allow unlimited attempts but only your first attempt counts for a grade. The 'unlimited attempts' programming allows you to see which questions you missed and the correct answers after you take the quiz.

The exams will consist of terms and concepts discussed in class. You should be able to not only define the terms and concepts but also demonstrate a higher level of analysis to real world situations. 

Your paper will be graded according to how clearly you describe your issue, your analysis of the issue (both sides of the issue if applicable), your assessment of potential solutions, what policies should be followed by the respective governments and how well you defend your choice. 

Grading Scale:

1593-1770 points = A

1416-1592 points = B

1239-1415 points = C

1062-1238 points = D

<1061 = F

Assignments and Projects:

The term paper will consist of a 6-8 page typed analysis of some contemporary issue. A list of topics/ questions will be provided later in the semester. You must choose one of these topics for your term paper; other topics are not allowed. Make sure you answer the question provided and show a thorough understanding of the issue. You must have a “Works Cited” page with at least 4-5 cited sources. Your sources should come from scholarly journals such as Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, Current History, World Politics, International Studies Quarterly, Asian Affairs, Africa Reports, to name a few. High quality newspapers (New York Times, Washington Post, Washington Times, LA Times, BBC, etc.) and news magazines such as Time, Newsweek, U.S. News & World Report can be used for factual information but cannot constitute your entire research. You must use at least three scholarly, peer-reviewed journals. In addition, the majority of your research must be current, no older than six months old. You may use some older research for background information but the bulk of your research must be current. Do some investigating before picking your topic; it is your responsibility to make sure you can find the required research. 

Class Participation:

Students should expect to contribute actively to the discussion between the professor and the class that will be occurring throughout the course. The professor will post at least one discussion question a week. As the course progresses, many of these questions will relate to current issues and events. Participation means adding your own comments and responding to those of others. A minimum of 2 substantial posts a week is required. Because students will not be on-line at the same time, the course will use the discussion board, and not chat rooms, for the course discussion. Class participation constitutes 5% of your grade. 

Late Policy:

Course Ground Rules

The following two statements (1., 2.) were derived from the TBR System-wide Student Rules document, released January 2012:


Read the document in its entirety here.

1. Standards of Conduct:

  • Students are required to adhere to the same professional, legal and ethical standards of conduct online as on campus. In addition, students should conform to generally accepted standards of "netiquette" while sending e-mail, posting comments to the discussion board, and while participating in other means of communicating online. Specifically, students should refrain from inappropriate and/or offensive language, comments and actions.

2. Review the TN eCampus Academic Integrity/Academic Honesty Policy:

  • In their academic activities, students are expected to maintain high standards of honesty and integrity. Academic dishonesty is prohibited.

Such conduct includes, but is not limited to:

  • an attempt by one or more students to use unauthorized information in the taking of an exam
  • to submit as one's own work, themes, reports, drawings, laboratory notes, computer programs, or other products prepared by another person,
  • or to knowingly assist another student in obtaining or using unauthorized materials.

Plagiarism, cheating, and other forms of academic dishonesty are prohibited.

Students guilty of academic misconduct, either directly or indirectly through participation or assistance, are subject to disciplinary action through the regular procedures of the student’s home institution.  Refer to the student handbook provided by your home institution to review the student conduct policy.

In addition to other possible disciplinary sanctions that may be imposed, the instructor has the authority to assign an "F" or zero for an activity or to assign an "F" for the course.

Other Course Rules:

Students are expected to:

  • Participate in all aspects of the course
  • Communicate with other students
  • Learn how to navigate in Brightspace
  • Keep abreast of course announcements
  • Use the assigned course management (Brightspace) email address rather than a personal email address
  • Address technical problems immediately:
  • Observe course netiquette at all times.

Guidelines for Communications


  • Always include a subject line.
  • Remember without facial expressions some comments may be taken the wrong way. Be careful in wording your emails. Use of emoticons might be helpful in some cases.
  • Use standard fonts.
  • Do not send large attachments without permission.
  • Special formatting such as centering, audio messages, tables, html, etc. should be avoided unless necessary to complete an assignment or other communication.
  • Respect the privacy of other class members


  • Review the discussion threads thoroughly before entering the discussion. Be a lurker then a discussant.
  • Try to maintain threads by using the "Reply" button rather starting a new topic.
  • Do not make insulting or inflammatory statements to other members of the discussion group. Be respectful of other’s ideas.
  • Be patient and read the comments of other group members thoroughly before entering your remarks.
  • Be cooperative with group leaders in completing assigned tasks.
  • Be positive and constructive in group discussions.
  • Respond in a thoughtful and timely manner.


The Tennessee Virtual Library is available to all students enrolled in TN eCampus programs and courses. Links to library materials (such as electronic journals, databases, interlibrary loans, digital reserves, dictionaries, encyclopedias, maps, and librarian support) and Internet resources needed by learners to complete online assignments and as background reading will be included within the course modules. To access the Virtual Library, go to the course homepage and select the Virtual Library link under Course Resources.

Students with Disabilities

Qualified students with disabilities will be provided reasonable and necessary academic accommodations if determined eligible by the appropriate disability services staff at their home institution. Prior to granting disability accommodations in this course, the instructor must receive written verification of a student's eligibility for specific accommodations from the disability services staff at the home institution. It is the student's responsibility to initiate contact with their home institution's disability services staff and to follow the established procedures for having the accommodation notice sent to the instructor.

Syllabus Changes

The instructor reserves the right to make changes as necessary to this syllabus. If changes are necessitated during the term of the course, the instructor will immediately notify students of such changes both by individual email communication and posting both notification and nature of change(s) on the course bulletin board.


The information contained in this syllabus is for general information purposes only. While we endeavor to keep this information up-to-date and accurate, there may be some discrepancies between this syllabus and the one found in your online course. The syllabus of record is the one found in your online course. Please make sure you read the syllabus in your course at the beginning of the semester. Questions regarding course content should be directed to your instructor.

Last Revised on November 28, 2018