Fall 2024  |  PA 5813 Section 001: US Foreign Policy: Issues and Institutions (23078)

Class Component:
3 Credits
Grading Basis:
Student Option No Audit
Instructor Consent:
No Special Consent Required
Instruction Mode:
In Person
Enrollment Requirements:
Grad or Masters or Law
Times and Locations:
Regular Academic Session
09/03/2024 - 12/11/2024
Mon 02:30PM - 05:15PM
UMTC, West Bank
Blegen Hall 330
Enrollment Status:
Open (3 of 30 seats filled)
Also Offered:
Course Catalog Description:
This course helps students develop a deep understanding of U.S. foreign policy issues and institutions, and the implications of U.S. global engagement. Through readings, class discussions, and guest lectures, we look at the institutions and processes involved in developing and managing US foreign policy, and use case studies to advance students' knowledge of bilateral and regional issues. We examine the workings of the State Department, the National Security Council, and the Department of Defense; how economic instruments like sanctions are used to advance policy; and how American citizens, lobbyists, and foreign governments influence policy. We incorporate discussions of current events into each class, with students developing skills in writing and presentation critical to foreign policy careers.
Class Description:
The class will be taught by Eric Schwartz, who was Assistant Secretary of State during the Obama administration and Senior Director and Special Assistant to the President during the Clinton Administration. In the class, we will examine how U.S. policy-makers define national interests and how they seek to pursue them globally. We will consider various (and often competing) perspectives on these issues -- among both practitioners and academics -- and how foreign policy perspectives have evolved over time. We will review and assess the actions of recent administrations on key bilateral and regional issues, including those involving U.S. relations with China, the U.S. and the NATO alliance as well as U.S.-European relations, U.S. relations with governments in Central and South America, and Africa, among others. We will consider functional issues, such as the U.S. posture on climate change and international human rights and humanitarianism. And we will examine key institutions in the foreign policy-making process, such as the Department of State and the National Security Council.
Who Should Take This Class?:
Students with interests in U.S. foreign policy; students who are planning careers in foreign policy or international affairs, and students whose work, including work i advocacy, will put them in contact with the U.S. government's foreign policy institutions.
Learning Objectives:

Students who successfully complete the course will gain a broad understanding of the policy challenges confronting U.S. foreign policy-makers, as well as an understanding of the options which are available to policy-makers and the costs and benefits of various courses of action. Students will also gain of the key foreign policy institutions and the roles that they play in the policy-making process.

Policy memo 15%
Class participation: 25%
Take home (open book) mid-term exercise: 30%
Final exam: 30%
Exam Format:
Midterm is take home exercise (open book)..
Final exam will be closed book, but students will have essay questions at least 10 days in advance and we will have review sessions prior to exam..
Class Format:
Class will be limited to 15 students.
Lecture or guest lecture and Qs and As: about 25%
Student discussion, in whole class or in smaller groups: about 75%
About 150 pages per week of reading, on average; and occasional videos.
One policy memo, take home midterm (open book),exercise and final essay exam (see above)..
Past Syllabi:
http://classinfo.umn.edu/syllabi/eschwart_PA5813_Fall2023.docx (Fall 2023)
Instructor Supplied Information Last Updated:
8 August 2023

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