Document Type

Undergraduate Syllabus


Fall 2023



Course Number

DIPL 3104

Course Description

This course explores the history and nature of international law and how international law and courts address selected issues currently challenging the global community. The course will focus broadly on the creation and implementation of international law; global governance and diplomacy; and rules or practices in international relations between and among states and between states and non-state actors, including individuals and international or regional organizations.

The course introduces and examines the traditional sources of international law and the actors of international law through history and developments up to the present. The creation of international law will be examined through treaties, customary international law, general principles and “soft law” declarations and resolutions.

Students will be encouraged to analyze and apply these sources of international law and policy to new global challenges: sustainable development and the triple environmental crises of climate change, loss of biodiversity and pollution; unequal access to food and scarce water resources; wars of aggression and individual international criminal responsibility; AI and the digital divide; the role of the private sector in public policy and diplomacy; and changing notions of human rights and responsibilities. Students will read cases and materials and engage in class discussions and presentations on how rules developed and are observed between and among states and through courts and international organizations like the United Nations. Students will see how international law claims are raised in national and international courts and tribunals by examining selected cases at the International Court of Justice, international arbitrations and national court decisions based on international law, and how principles of public international law are applied to actual cases.