COLLEGE OF ARTS & SCIENCES (CAS)

International Relations

 

DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

ABOUT THE PROGRAM

The International Relations program seeks to educate students through a traditional liberal arts and interdisciplinary curriculum. The program is committed to teaching skills in critical and perspectival thinking, problem solving, communication, research, teamwork, and communication technology.

The program is structured with a set of general core course requirements, which students should complete by the beginning of their junior year. Additionally, students take courses in three of the IR fields in which the student chooses to concentrate (Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution, International Law and Organizations, International Political Economy, International Relations and History). Finally, in consultation with their advisor, students select courses as International Relations Electives.

The program is ideal for those who want to pursue careers in diplomacy, media, local and national government, and international and non-governmental organizations. It is also an excellent stepping-stone toward graduate programs in international relations, history, political science, public administration, law, and business. It is strongly recommended that a student majoring in International Relations also minor in History or Arabic.

MISSION STATEMENT

The Department of International Relations at AUK offers undergraduate students a course of study that focuses on diplomacy, conflict resolution, history, international law and political economy. The curriculum is interdisciplinary in approach and is designed to provide students with theoretical knowledge and practical skills. The program aims to serve the University's liberal arts model of higher education by encouraging creativity, critical analysis, and research. Graduates are prepared to become life-long learners, role models and leaders.

VALUES

The Department of International Relations at the American University of Kuwait adheres to the values embraced by the University, namely freedom of expression, intellectual inquiry, individual rights, and cultural diversity. The Department also upholds strong moral principles, integrity, and high professional standards and ethics

VISION 

The Department of International Relations aspires to create an innovative and challenging learning environment that prepares students to influence a diverse and changing global arena.

BACHELOR OF ARTS IN INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

LEARNING OUTCOMES

Upon completion of the AUK major in International Relations, the student will be able to:

  1. Examine diverse theories and perspectives of international relations.
  2. Identify problems, issues, patterns and questions relevant to the study of international politics.
  3. Apply research methods involved in the study of contemporary international relations.
  4. Assess both qualitative and quantitative data relevant to different political and economic systems and their institutional arrangements.
  5. Apply critical thinking and writing skills when analyzing political and economic problems, issues, and arguments in a variety of local, national, regional, and international contexts.
  6. Reconstruct concepts, models, and theories of international relations.
  7. Communicate decisions as leaders in the national, regional, and international arena.
UNIVERSITY DEGREE REQUIREMENTS (124 CREDIT HOURS)

To earn a degree of Bachelor of Arts with a major in International Relations, students must complete at least 124 credit hours. Students should be mindful of the College requirement that a minimum of 30 hours of upper-level (300-level and above) courses must be completed at AUK.  Twenty-seven (27) of these upper-level hours need to be taken in the IR major.

General Education Requirements (49)
Major Requirements, composed of: (48)
  • IR Core Courses
(18)
  • IR Field Concentration Courses
(27)
  • IR Capstone
(3)
International Relations Electives (12)
Free Electives (15)

MAJOR REQUIREMENTS (48 CREDIT HOURS)

Major requirements include six required core courses (18 credit hours), followed by nine Area Studies courses (27 credit hours) in "Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution," "International Law and Organizations," "International Political Economy," and "International Relations and History," and one (3 credit hours) capstone. A cumulative major GPA of at least 2.00 in the major courses is required to earn an undergraduate degree in International Relations.

Core Courses (18 credit hours)

The core requirements constitute the foundation of knowledge that is needed by all majors in International Relations, regardless of field concentrations. They are comprised of broad introductory courses that introduce the students to the major themes and debates within the discipline of international relations. These six courses are as follows: 

HIST 105

World History Since 1900

(3) [S]

HIST 201

History and Politics of Kuwait

(3) [S]

IR 101

Introduction to International Relations

(3) [S]

IR 210

Methods of Research in International Relations

(3) [S]

 

OR

 

PLSC 210

Methods of Research in Political

(3) [S]

IR 202

Trends in International Relations

(3) [S]

IR 206

International Political Economy

(3) [S]

Field Concentration Courses (27 credit hours)

Students are also expected to take nine (27 credit hours) additional upper-level (300-level or above) courses, three courses from each of the three fields in which the student chooses to concentrate. Students may select, with the approval of their advisor, special topic courses in either History (HIST 389) or International Relations (IR 389) or American Studies (AMST 389) to fulfill Field Concentration requirements.

Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution
Students pursuing the concentration in Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution study the evolution of international diplomacy and conflict resolution and examine the practices of bilateral and multilateral diplomacy, coercive diplomacy, preventive diplomacy and the efforts of conflict resolution (‘track two diplomacy’, mediation, negotiation and facilitation). This concentration endeavors to go beyond traditional conceptions of diplomacy (ie. as the preserve of states) and conflict resolution by investigating the emergence and activities of new actors, such as non-governmental organizations (NGOs), multinational corporations, armed groups, international experts and technocrats, and private citizens. Also, students taking the concentration are exposed to the complex relationship between religion and diplomacy, conflict management, prevention and resolution. The learning goals are obtained through course readings, class discussion, case studies, papers, articles reviews, presentations, internships and exams.

Students who complete the Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution track will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate knowledge of diplomacy and conflict resolution theory, including bilateral and multilateral diplomacy, preventive diplomacy, coercive diplomacy, and non-state diplomatic practice (NGOs, corporations, armed groups, etc) including ‘track two’  diplomacy, conflict management, prevention and resolution;
  2. Relate knowledge of contemporary diplomatic practices to key international issues;
  3. Apply major theories (Western and non-Western) in conflict management, prevention and resolution;
  4. Analyze policy and strategy debates and issues related to defense, development and diplomacy in post-conflict reconstruction;
  5. Construct diplomacy and conflict resolution explanations, theories of causation, and strategies for postwar rebuilding, development and reconciliations.
  6. Write a research paper that asks a significant diplomacy or conflict resolution question.
  7. Give an oral presentation that shows an understanding of diplomatic and conflict management practices in relations to key international issues.

AMST 409

American Foreign Policy Since World War II

(3)

IR 307

International Relations of Arab States

(3) [S]

IR 345

Conflict Resolution

(3) [S]

IR 386

Perspectives on US Foreign Policy in the Middle East

(3) [S]

PLSC 321

Islamic Political Philosophy

(3) [S]

PLSC 322

Western Political Theory

(3) [S]

PLSC 327

Comparative Ethnicity, Identity, and Ethnic Conflict

(3) [S]

International Law and Organizations
International Law & Organizations concentrators learn the basic principles of international law, as well as the organizational structure for discussing, developing and enforcing international norms. Students explore how international law affects the relationships between states, and as such, is used as both a language of diplomacy and contest. Students study international law as a framework to analyze international issues and disputes—including economic, political, and security issues—with an emphasis on problem-solving and policy development. Students also study how international organizations impact the practice of international cooperation and conflict, as well as maintain international peace and security. The learning goals of the field are obtained through course readings, class discussion, case studies, papers, reflective journals, presentations, and exams.

Students who complete the International Law and Organizations concentration will be able to:  

  1. Recognize the sources of international law, including treaties, customary international law, jus cogens, general principles of law, judicial decisions and teachings of the most highly qualified publicists;
  2. Understand the fundamentals of treaty formation, treaty interpretation, treaty enforcement, and the consequences of treaty breach, as well as the process of formation of customary international law;
  3. Identify state obligations under applicable treaty law and customary law;
  4. Understand one or more areas of substantive international law, including, but not limited to, international human rights law, the law of armed conflict, international environmental law, international investment law, international trade law or international criminal law.
  5. Analyze the relationship between international law and international politics;
  6. Demonstrate their understanding of core literature on international organizations;
  7. Engage the literature on international organizations critically by developing their own argumentation;
  8. Construct international law or international organization explanations, theories of causation, and strategies for international dispute settlement mechanisms, including courts and tribunals, arbitration and negotiation;
  9. Write a research paper that asks a significant international law or international organization question.
  10. Give an oral presentation that shows an understanding of the purpose, function, capacity and politics of some of the principal international and regional organizations such as the European Union, United Nations, the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court.

IR 339

International Organizations

(3) [S]

IR 341

Public International Law

(3) [S]

IR 342

International Human Rights

(3) [S]

IR 343

Terrorism and International Law

(3) [S]

International Political Economy
International Political Economy students study intersection between international politics and economics. They will learn about the effects of politics on economic policy at the national, regional, and international levels. Students will be exposed to a multidisciplinary curriculum that allows them to analyze their findings through a variety of theoretical approaches. The concentration of International Political Economy relies course readings, class discussion, case studies, papers, presentations, article reviews, reflective journals and exams to achieve these learning goals. 

Students who complete the International Political Economy Concentration will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate knowledge of how international and domestic political influences shape economic factors;
  2. Relate their knowledge of international political economy to the historical development of political and economic relations on national, regional, and international levels;
  3. Apply different theories and perspectives of international political economy;
  4. Analyze political and economic outcomes on national, regional, and international levels; 
  5. Construct international political economy explanations, theories of causation, and strategies to explain the different roles of states, international organizations and non-state actors in the politics and international economic relations;
  6. Write a research paper that asks a significant international political economy question.
  7. Present history, policy, or political economy arguments and analysis in an oral presentation that show an understanding of the economic challenges facing states in their foreign policy.

HIST 401

Economic History: 20th Century

(3)

IR 306

Global Political Economy

(3) [S]

IR 309

Dynamics of Globalization

(3) [S]

IR 412

Sustainable Development

(3) [S]

PLSC 405

Comparative Political and Economic Systems

(3) [S]

International Relations and History
History and International Relations concentrators study the broader social and historical context of the formation of societies in association with the examination of the key issues and structure of power in contemporary international relations. They will learn about the nature of the expansion of the West and of the political international system, which arose in Europe in the beginning of the Modern Age. Students will study the Revolt against the West and its empires and the emergence of the future non-western global powers. They will acquire an understanding the nature of the post-western global order and the articulation between western and non-western powers. The field adopts the historical method and, therefore, the analysis of these themes is made through the study of modern political history.  The field relies on course readings, class discussion, case studies, papers, presentations, reflective journals, and exams to achieve these learning goals. 

Students who complete the History and International Concentration will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate knowledge of key historical facts, values, and ideas that have shaped civilizations throughout history.
  2. Relate their knowledge of history to the historical development of international relations
  3. Apply different historical and theoretical perspectives
  4. Analyze primary and secondary sources
  5. Construct original historical arguments based on primary source material research;
  6. Write a research paper that asks a significant historical or international relations question
  7. Present historical, policy, or political arguments and analysis in an oral presentation

AMST 333

American Culture

(3) [S]

HIST 303

Ancient History

(3) [S]

HIST 305

History of the Islamic World (622-1800)

(3) [S]

HIST 307

Arab History in the Late Ottoman Period: 1800-1922

(3) [S]

HIST 311

Ottoman History (1400-1923)

(3) [S]

HIST 317

Topics in English/British History

(3) [S]

HIST 401

Economic History: 20th Century

(3)

HIST 421

Intellectual History

(3)

HIST 430

Oral History

(3)

Capstone (3 credit hours)

In consultation with his/her advisor, students should take one of the following IR Capstone courses during their senior year.

IR 485

Senior Seminar in Conflict Resolution

(3)

IR 486

Senior Seminar in International Law & Organizations

(3)

IR 487

Senior Seminar in International Political Economy

(3)

International Relations Electives (12 credit hours)

Students must choose four courses (12 credit hours), in consultation with their academic advisors, from the following prefix designations: AMST, COMM, HIST, IR, PLSC, and SBSA.  Students may also substitute courses approved by the Program Chair from the following prefix designations:  ECON, FRNC, ITAL, PHIL and SPAN.

FREE ELECTIVES (15 CREDIT HOURS)

Majors are expected to successfully complete five courses (15 credits hours) of their choice from courses in the CAS or CBE.

MINOR IN HISTORY (18 CREDIT HOURS)

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the AUK History minor, the student will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate a basic historical understanding of modern world history.
  2. Acquire familiarity with the uses of historical comparison as an analytic tool.
  3. Demonstrate the capacity to deal with differences in interpretation.
  4. Demonstrate an ability to recognize and interpret multiple forms of evidence (textual, visual, oral, statistical, artifacts from material culture).
  5. Apply basic historical methods of research.
  6. Recognize the distinction between primary and secondary sources, understand how each are used to make historical claims.

Students minoring in History* are required to take six courses (18 credit hours) of which at least three courses (9 credits hours) must be taken at AUK. Students must complete three core courses (9 credit hours):

HIST 105

World History Since 1900

(3) [S]

HIST 205

Modern Europe

(3) [S]

And one of the following:

HIST 110

Twentieth Century Middle East

(3) [S]

HIST 201

History and Politics of Kuwait

(3) [S]

*Since some history courses at AUK do not carry the HIST prefix, non HIST-prefix history courses are listed below and may be counted toward the Minor in History:

AMST 121

US History Since 1900

(3) [S]

AMST 220

Early American Political History

(3) [S]

AMST 402

American Social History in the Twentieth Century

(3)

AMST 409

American Foreign Policy Since WWII

(3)

IR 400

Colonialism

(3)

Students must also take an additional three 300-level or above HIST courses (9 credit hours) and/or history courses which are 300-level and above in AMST or IR.

MINOR IN HISTORY (18 CREDIT HOURS)

Students minoring in International Relations are required to take six courses (18 credit hours) of which at least three courses (9 credits hours) must be taken at AUK. Students must complete the following four core courses (12 credit hours):

HIST 201

History and Politics of Kuwait

(3) [S]

IR 101

Introduction to International Relations

(3) [S]

IR 102

Trends in International Relations

(3) [S]

AND

PLSC 203

Comparative Politics

(3) [S]

OR

IR 206

International Political Economy

(3)[S]

Students must also take two 300-level or above courses (6 credit hours) in the following prefixes: AMST, HIST, IR, and PLSC. Students may substitute one upper-level course approved by the minor’s Program Lead from the following prefix designations: ECON, PHIL, and SBSA.

INTERNSHIP

The internship is a practicum course that explores International Relations through a variety of work experiences, both governmental and non-governmental. Students are expected to perform work for academic credit and submit, as part of their course requirements, written evaluative reports based on their experiences under the guidance of faculty of the Department of IR, as well as an oral presentation at the end of the internship. Students with a cumulative GPA of 2.00 in the major at the beginning of the senior year may petition the department for internship approval.

Grading

The grading scale used will be the standard scale for the department of IR. Grades will be determined as follows:   

  • Field Experience Report

35%

  • Midterm Observations and Reflections

25%

  • Learning Logs

15%

  • Presentation

25%

Field Experience Report
Students are required to turn in a comprehensive report that describes their field experience. Early in the semester, students will receive detailed information regarding the expectations with respect to compiling their report.

Midterm Observations and Reflections
The on-site supervisor will make the initial assessment and forward this to the 470 instructor. Students must meet with their coordinating 470 instructor halfway through the internship to discuss their progress. Within one week following the observation, students should submit a brief reflection paper (3-4 pages typed, double-spaced, 12 pt. font) to the professor who observed them. Students’ reflection papers should contain their own critical reflection on their learning experience.

Learning Logs
The learning log is designed to be an ongoing collection of students’ day-to-day work in the course and their own self-assessment of that work, as well as a record of their growth in understanding during the course. This will also help in future review of activities during the internship.

Internship Final Report
At the end of the student’s period of work, the student is required to present a Report of Activity. The report is to record the activities that the student has completed. The report is reviewed by the 470 instructor. Additions may be requested after discussions with the student.

Presentation
Students must prepare an oral presentation for the Program.

Final Assessment

The final assessment begins with the on-site supervisor, who submits his/her report to the 470 instructor. The 470 instructor then confirms the on-site supervisor’s assessment, and if necessary, discusses it with the on-site supervisor.

The 470 instructor takes into account all the above mentioned points for grading (see Grading) and then submits the final grade.

Overall Assessment

The most positive assessment of the student comes when the student is either encouraged to return to the company where the internship is carried out, or, as may happen in rare cases, the student is offered immediate employment. The most important assessment for the student is his/her understanding of the differences in the work day between the tasks and deadlines in the academic environment and the tasks and deadlines in the work environment.

Guidelines

  • A student with a cumulative major GPA of at least 2.00 at the beginning of the senior year may elect to pursue an internship course.
  • The Department sets the standards for the internship and reserves the right to decide on the suitability of the work experience.
  • The Department may assist students to find suitable employment.
  • Students are encouraged to find their own placements. However, the Department must be advised before a student approaches a prospective organization.
  • The 470 instructor will visit the place of work where the student will be working to determine if the environment is suitable and that the nature of the work and place of the work are in synergy.
  • Contact will be established between the 470 instructor and on-site supervisor to ensure that if any problems arise during the internship, there is a clear understanding of the roles each party will play to ensure that the student has a quality learning experience.
  • A placement is not secured until it has been approved by the IR Department’s Internship Coordinator and the Department Chair, and the student has signed and returned the Student Internship Agreement (see below).
  • A student must secure an internship for the entire semester.
  • Students should work at least 2.5 hours per week for 1 credit hour; 5 hours per week for 2; and 7.5 hours per week for 3.  A maximum of 3 credit hours (taken in increments of 1, 2, or 3 credit hours) may be applied toward any one major, if the major requires an internship. If a student takes additional 1-3 credit hours of internship, those credits may be counted towards a student’s second major, minor, or as free electives.
  • Students are required to work with the 470 instructor at least once a week to report on progress and activity.
  • Any student who is dismissed from his/her internship must notify the Internship Coordinator immediately, who will, in turn, notify the Department Chair. The student must then withdraw from the 470 course when dismissed if dismissal takes place before the withdrawal deadline. Failure to do so within a reasonable amount of time will result in a failing grade.
  • All students will be treated equally and given the same opportunities.

Attendance

In accordance with AUK policy, the expectation is that students will be present, on time, and prepared for every class meeting with the 470 instructor. Students are also required to be present, on time, and prepared for their internship.

Writing Standards and Academic Integrity

The quality of students’ ideas, as well as their presentations, will be taken into consideration when assigning grades. They are expected to produce written documents that include no spelling errors, and are easily read, well organized, clearly understood, and grammatically correct. Students are encouraged to use the grammar and spell-check capabilities of their word-processor, and to ask their peers or staff from the AUK Writing Center to proof-read their papers prior to submitting them to the professor. In accordance with AUK policy, a student’s grade on any assignment may be reduced if s/he fails to attend to these aspects of his/her written assignments. Furthermore, the university policy on academic integrity will be strictly adhered to in this course.