Affilitated Courses

Listed below are suggested fall and spring American Grand Strategy courses relevant to national security and foreign policy. 

Fall Courses


Hacking for Defense
I&E 590 / POLSCI 590 / PUBPOL 590 / SCISOC 590
Professors Tommy Sowers and Steve McClelland

NOTE: You must apply for admittance to this course.
Join some of the university’s brightest minds for a unique, interdisciplinary educational experience and solve real world problems next Fall. Hacking for Defense (H4D) offers students the opportunity to work in teams to tackle some of the nation’s toughest challenges in a collaborative learning experience. The course is designed for graduate students and advanced undergraduates in all schools and programs, and takes an entrepreneurial, interdisciplinary approach to America’s hardest national security challenges. H4D covers policy, economics, technology, and national security. You will be at the forefront of changing the paradigm of problem-solving and solution development for the U.S. Government. The course is demanding; you’ll present at every class, you’ll work closely with your team, you’ll receive relentlessly direct feedback, your problem sponsors, mentors, military liaisons, corporate partners, and investors may be in the room-- you’ll be solving real problems for real customers. H4D is designed to provide students the opportunity to learn how to work with the Department of Defense (DoD) and Intelligence Community (IC) to better address the nation’s emerging threats and security challenges in weeks, not months or years.

Listen and read a WUNC report about this class:
Unable to Recruit Enough Techies, the Military is Partnering with Universities and Start-ups

 

Public Policy as Values Conflict
POLSCI 302D
Professor Simon Miles

In this section of the required ethics core course for Public Policy majors, we will focus on the ethics in international affairs and beyond America’s borders. Is it wrong to torture suspected terrorists, or to kill them via drone strikes? How much right do citizens have to transparency from their governments, and how should this be balanced against questions of national security? Should the United States intervene to stop atrocities like the Rwandan genocide? This course explores the ethical dilemmas inherent in the process of making foreign policy, and also draws on readings in political philosophy to equip students with the intellectual tools to make informed choices.

 

Introduction to Cyber Policy
PUBPOL 290 / COMPSCI 390

From the President’s Situation Room to the CEO’s Board Room and from the General’s War Room to the Chief Technology Officer’s Server Room, the policy and technical elements of activity in cyberspace will continue to impact and shape global society. This interdisciplinary course is open to all undergraduate students and will provide a basic understanding of fundamental of cyber technologies and threats, national and international cyber policies and frameworks, and key topical issues in cyber. Students will be required to complete a written mid-term based on lectures and readings, present short classroom briefings, and engage in class discussions. The final will be a team capstone written and oral presentation on a realistic cyber scenario applying knowledge from classwork and their own research. No prior skills or knowledge is required.

 

Democratic Erosion
POLSCI 264S
Jason Todd, Ph.D. candidate in Political Science

The course examines the perceived global trend of democratic erosion, in which democratic regimes are undermined from within. After tackling definitions of democracy and authoritarianism, consolidation, and erosion, we will address the causes, symptoms, and consequences of democratic erosion. We will then cover mechanisms for defending democracy. Finally, we will explore a series of case studies—including the contemporary U.S.

 

World in Your Hand
POLSCI 427S
Professor David Siegel

Focuses on simulation of security peace and conflict related topics.
Your chance to hold the (simulated) world in your hand. First half of class provides background and tools needed to create computational, simulation models of political, social, and economic phenomena. Second half provides practical experience with class-chosen group computational modeling project(s) that will be submitted for publication. No prior computer programming experience required or expected, and skills gained in class will translate beyond academia.

 

International Conflict Resolution
POLSCI 428S
Professor Kyle Beardsley

This course will consider the roots of global conflict and the various means that actors try to resolve their disputes. A large component of the course will be focused on understanding the theories behind war initiation and termination, paying special attention to how actors interact with one another strategically. The students will learn both how to conceptualize conflict situations and about how actors practically go about resolving their disputes in the international system.

 

National Security Decision-making
PUBPOL 505
Professor Tim Nichols

The US national security environment is characterized by competing interests, politics, information, analysis, national capabilities, and, most importantly, decision-making. To affect successful national security decision-making, our leaders must understand and apply all the elements of national power with a keen eye towards the intended impact (and secondary effects) in a constantly changing, complex, global arena. This course explores this delicate art in three main components: first, we will strive to develop a deeper understanding of our national security apparatus (i.e. responsibilities of the different areas of government and organizational design); secondly, we will analyze the elements of national power and examine historical examples of their application; finally, we will apply our analysis to assess the merits of various approaches to national security decision-making.

 

Politics of US Foreign Policy
PUBPOL 506 / POLSCI 547
Professor Bruce Jentleson

This course focuses on the politics of U.S. foreign policy: who influences U.S. foreign policy, how, with what impact, and why. We focus principally along five dimensions: President-Congress, intra-executive branch decision-making, interest groups, the media, and public opinion. The scope is both historical and contemporary. Our approach combines theory and policy analysis. While we touch on a number of issue areas, focus is principally on three: war powers, the tension between national security and civil liberties, and trade policy politics and for the contemporary period also climate change.

 

Religion Restrictions Violence
Undergrad: RELIGION-JEWISHST-AMES 301D / POLSCI-ETHICS 303D / PUBPOL 313D
Grad: RELIGION 889D / HISREL 889
Professors Abdullah Antepli, Ellen Davis, and Laura Lieber

Contrary to learned predictions in the middle of the twentieth century, religion has in the last fifty years emerged as a major social-political force around the globe. Religious extremism in various forms is a significant factor in exclusion, disenfranchisement and violence, including state-sponsored acts, as well as those planned by individuals and resistance groups. At the same time, religion is beginning to be recognized widely by governments and non-governmental organizations as a critical factor in strategic modes of peacemaking and positive social change. This course looks at both kinds of religious expression within Christianity, Islam, and Judaism, as phenomena that are never isolated from other social forces. We will pay particular attention to the two intersecting themes of gender and Israel-Palestine, consider how these themes highlight core values and points of tension within the three religions and also call for deeper modes of engagement, social and spiritual, in North America and around the globe.

 

International Conflict Resolution
POLSCI 428S
Professor Kyle Beardsley

This course will consider the roots of global conflict and the various means that actors try to resolve their disputes. A large component of the course will be focused on understanding the theories behind war initiation and termination, paying special attention to how actors interact with one another strategically. The students will learn both how to conceptualize conflict situations and about how actors practically go about resolving their disputes in the international system.

 

Introduction to Terrorism
POLSCI 232
Professor David Siegel

This course focuses on the nature of subnational terrorist organizations and government responses to them. It aims to provide the tools necessary to become educated consumers of news in a post-9/11 world, absent the typical polemics, through the careful analysis of different aspects of terrorism: its historical, social, cultural, economic, political, and religious context; the determinants of terrorism at the individual and state level; the organizational and financial structure of terrorist groups; the available weapons and tactics of subnational terrorist organizations; mobilization and recruitment within terror networks; and methods of counterterrorism. We will also briefly discuss different methods employed in the academic study of terrorism.

Spring Courses


Privacy, Technology & National Security
PUBPOL 590S
Professor David Schanzer

This course will explore the impact of new and developing technologies on personal privacy and individual liberty. It will begin with an in-depth examination of conceptions of privacy and the extent to which privacy rights are protected by the Constitution, statutory law, and policy. This discussion will be juxtaposed against the post- World War II development of the national security state and again we will look at both historical development and the legal framework that both authorizes but also restrains governmental power in this area. With this background in mind, the remainder of the course will consider how the government's use of new technological capability for security purposes are impacting personal privacy and liberty. Topics to be explore include, but are not limited to, government collection of personal data, communications surveillance (including, of course - a close look at the Edward Snowden revelations and the NSA), use of GPS to track location, video surveillance and use of unmanned vehicles (drones), and collection of biometric, genetic, and other personal physiological information. The ethics and legality of governmental use of these technologies will be compared to how private sector entities like Google and Facebook use similar techniques for commercial purposes. We will conclude by broadening our lens to consider the global implications of these issues in terms of their impact on the Internet, the role of the United States in international relations, the new realities of cyber-crime and cyber-warfare, and artificial intelligence.

 

Intelligence for National Security
PUBPOL 507S

This seminar is intended for upper level undergraduates, graduate students, and professional Fellows who possess an interest in US National Security and intelligence-focused issues. During the semester, we will learn about the intelligence function associated with US National Security. Specifically, we will investigate how our national security decision-makers (Congress and the Executive branch) have designed and employed the US intelligence apparatus as a key component of national power. Case studies, guest lecturers, and in-class simulations are designed to complement the readings and seminar discussions. In developing a broader understanding of the US intelligence system—its organizations and processes—students will discover how the insatiable appetite for accurate and timely intelligence support has driven the creation of a complicated and confusing, yet effective, intelligence architecture. This class won’t make you an intelligence professional; nor will it reveal anything other than publicly available information. The goal is to offer an objective look at the intelligence apparatus that tirelessly works to protect the United States.

 

Contemporary Issues in National Security
PUBPOL 890
Professor Tom Taylor

This course is required for a Master in Public Policy national security concentration, but many who take the course have no national security background and just want to round out their knowledge. Beginning with a review of the national security landscape, threats, and institutions, your class will consider the major public policy issues concerning civilian-military relationships, including the impact of retired flag officers’ weighing in on partisan political issues and serving in senior political positions. The second half addresses management challenges that include the impact of the sequester and the “military-industrial complex” on budget decisions, the implementation of the decision to end restrictions on women in combat and transgender persons, and concerns about civilian contractors performing security-related duties. Finally, the course examines the military’s role in domestic activities (such as border control) and the role of states in homeland security (such as identity checks and restrictions related to immigration).

 

Presidents & Their National Security Councils from Truman to Trump
Dr. Seth Center, Senior Fellow and Director of the Brzezinski Institute’s Project on History and Strategy, CSIS

This course examines the design, functioning, and evolution of the National Security Council, the coordination body established in the 1947 National Security Act that is the primary day-to-day extension of the President as national security policymaker. The course will look at both how Presidents made the NSC system work for them as well as how Presidents were frustrated by how the system did not always do what they wanted in response to changing international and domestic conditions. The instructor served on the NSC staff as a Historian in the Obama Administration and as the Director for National Security Strategy and History in the Trump Administration. The class is designed for advanced undergraduates and graduate students focused on national security policy.

 

Political and Criminal Armed Groups (Tentative)
POLSCI 361
Professor Livia Schubiger

This course introduces students to a research agenda on armed groups that operate in the context of intra-state armed conflict or organized crime. The primary focus lies on how armed groups interact with state agents and with civilian populations; how they recruit and maintain control over their members; how and why internal institutions and their strategies of violence vary; and what the consequences of these patterns are. The course also explores the role of the state, particularly when it comes to the effects of wartime repression, mass incarceration, and the war on drugs.

 

Repression and State Violence (Tentative)
POLSCI 652S
Professor Livia Schubiger

This course engages with research on state-sanctioned violence against individuals and groups. Topics covered include the relationship between repression, state violence, and political order; the perceived (il)legitimacy of different types of state violence; logics and effects of state-sanctioned violence against distinct segments of the civilian population in times of war and peace; patterns of human rights violations around the globe; repression in democratic and autocratic regimes; causes and consequences of state-led mass killings, forced disappearances, police brutality, and other types of violence; the implications of new information and communication technologies for repressive practices and surveillance.

 

Globalization and Public Policy
PUBPOL 212 / POLSCI 358
Professor Bruce Jentleson

How the various aspects of globalization affect, and are affected by public policy at the international, national and local levels. Development of an analytic framework for thinking about globalization and its core concepts, major institutions and political dynamics; survey of a range of major policy areas affected by globalization; focus on a policy area of particular interest.

 

Nuclear Weapons
POLSCI 233
Professor Kyle Beardsley

Implication of nuclear weapons to U.S. foreign policy and international politics. Topics include basic science of nuclear fission and fusion, history of nuclear proliferation, theory of nuclear deterrence, evolution of U.S. nuclear posture during and after Cold War, and case studies of other nuclear proliferation with detailed coverage of North Korea and Iran. Read more about this class here.

 

Public Policy as Values Conflict
PUBPOL 302D
Professor Simon Miles

In this section of the required ethics core course for Public Policy majors, we will focus on the ethics in international affairs and beyond America’s borders. Is it wrong to torture suspected terrorists, or to kill them via drone strikes? How much right do citizens have to transparency from their governments, and how should this be balanced against questions of national security? Should the United States intervene to stop atrocities like the Rwandan genocide? This course explores the ethical dilemmas inherent in the process of making foreign policy, and also draws on readings in political philosophy to equip students with the intellectual tools to make informed choices.

 

Contemporary American Foreign Policy
PUBPOL 502S / POLSCI 670S
Professor Bruce Jentleson

Focus on challenges and opportunities for American foreign policy in this global age including the impact of interests, ideals and values. Draws on both the scholarly literature and policy analyses. Addresses big picture questions about America's role in the world as well as major current foreign policy issues that raise considerations of power, security, prosperity and ethics. Open to undergraduates with permission of instructor and priority to Public Policy Studies and Political Science majors, and to graduate students. (permission of instructor required)

 

Counterterrorism Law & Policy
PUBPOL 504 / POLSCI 543
Professor David Schanzer

This course examines in-depth a series of counterterrorism issues that involve both legal and policy considerations such as preemptive use of force, targeted killings, detention of enemy combatants, treatment of citizens who join terrorist organizations, use of military commissions, interrogation techniques, use of profiling for counterterrorism, communications surveillance, data surveillance, encryption, and many others. Students will complete a major research project that will be presented at the end of the course. As such, the course may be especially useful for juniors interested in pursuing an honors thesis in this field. Sophomores may enroll with the permission of the instructor and a waiver from their academic dean.

 

The Global Cold War
PUBPOL 590 / POLSCI 690 / History 590
Professor Simon  Miles

This course delves into the history of one period of both profound global change and significant impact on our contemporary world: the Cold War. Weekly seminar sessions will explore the Cold War as a global phenomenon, spanning the world to consider how and why the East-West rivalry became an international conflict, and with what consequences. This course also seeks to bring history into the conversation over contemporary policy-making. It is, therefore, an extended exercise in applied history; students should think about the topics we will discuss both historically and in their present context. Course assignments will reflect this focus.

 

Political Economy of Terrorism
POLSCI 658S
Professor David Siegel

Seminar in the formal, quantitative study of subnational terrorism. Addresses historical terror examples, aggregate and individual determinants of terrorism, mobilization and terror networks, methods of terror and counter-terror and their consequences, organization of and competition between terror groups. Focuses on unsolved problems and opportunities for research. One course / 3 units.