Document Type

Graduate Syllabus


Fall 2016



Course Number


Course Description

This course examines leading theoretical approaches to the study of foreign policy and their application to a variety of states and issue areas. The goal of this course is to provide students with an understanding of the key concepts necessary to address the fundamental question of comparative foreign policy: why do states behave the way they do in international affairs? During the semester, we will explore some of the key debates in foreign policy analysis. Do differences in the characteristics of states (large versus small, democratic versus authoritarian, industrialized versus developing) lead to differences in their foreign policies? Or are the important differences not between countries but within them according to issue areas, for example security versus human rights policy? Students will have an opportunity to evaluate these debates for themselves through a series of case studies.

In addition to providing students with substantive knowledge of foreign policy, this class also aims to hone students' analytical, writing, and oral communication skills, all of which are key student learning objectives of the School of Diplomacy. The ability to analyze international events from a variety of perspectives is a critical skill when attempting to understand why foreign leaders adopted a certain course of action and why other states respond as they do. Oral and written communication skills are critical to all post-Seton Hall professional endeavors. Writing helps students improve their ability to relate evidence to argument. Oral communication skills are necessary not only to convey information, but also to persuade others of your interpretation of an issue, a critical negotiation skill.

A guideline for writing effective essays can be found in the course document section of the class blackboard site. Students who think they may need guidance on how to structure critical essays should see the professor early in the semester.