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College of Arts and Letters

Graduate Program in International Studies

About the Program


Faculty and Staff

Current Students



The Graduate Program in International Studies (GPIS) at ODU is known for dynamic and diverse students, and internationally known faculty.

   All GPIS Courses

Core Courses

ECON 650

International Economics

An analysis of international trade theory, commercial policy, foreign exchange markets, open economy macroeconomics, and balance of payments. This course provides the theoretical basis to understand contemporary international economic issues. Prerequisite: ECON 201S.

IS 600

Introductory Research Methods

Interdisciplinary quantitative techniques applicable to the study of international phenomena.

IS 601

Seminar in International Relations Theory

Surveys major theoretical approaches to international relations and foreign policy. A systematic introduction designed to lay a foundation for advanced graduate study.

IS 606

American Foreign Policy and World Order

This course deals with the adaptation of U.S. foreign policies to the changing structure of the international system after World War II and in the Cold War, from Truman to and since Reagan. The course is designed to review, analyze, and discuss the global rise of the U.S. role in the world. It is also expected to assess the transformation of U.S. interests since 1945, and thus begin to examine the directions of the U.S. involvement in the world since the Cold War and the events of September 11, 2001.

IS 620

Advanced Statistical Techniques for International Studies (PhD students only)

Multivariate regression, causal analysis, and advanced statistical applications. Prerequisite: IS 600.

IS 655

International History

This course is a survey of the international history of the twentieth-century, with special attention to major conflicts in Europe and their consequences.


600-level Seminars and Other Courses

IS 668

Internship in International Studies

Individually arranged internship at local, state, national, or international level. Prerequisite: Advance approval of faculty supervisor.

IS 695

Topics in International Studies

The advanced study of selected (titled) topics not offered on a regular basis. (see Recent Topics)

IS 696

Seminar Topics in International Studies

The advanced study of selected topics in an interdisciplinary manner, which permits small groups of qualified students to work on subjects of mutual interest. Due to their specialized nature, seminar topics may not be offered regularly. (see Recent Topics)

IS 697

Independent Research in International Studies

Independent research of a topic from an interdisciplinary perspective. Students must receive prior approval from the faculty supervisor and the director. May be repeated up to six credits.

IS 698

Directed Research

Methodological and theoretical research designed to assist the student in preparation for thesis writing. Prerequisite: Permission of the faculty supervisor.

IS 699


Writing of the Thesis. Prerequisite: Permission of the faculty supervisor.

GEOG 620

Seminar in Political Geography

A study in the interrelationships of political and geographic phenomena and theories of geopolitics; examines the political geography, both of specific topics - such as the national integration of states, refugees, and resources and of particular regions of the world.

GEOG 625


An examination of the geopolitics of world ethnic minorities with special reference to selected "trouble spots" on the world political map.

HIST 616

Studies in American Diplomatic History

HIST 631, 632

Military Strategy and Policy I and II

A series of case studies from the Peloponnesian to the Cold War. Examines political and military decision-making and interrelationships in situations involving the threat or application of military power. Case studies through the 19th century are included in 631 and the 20th century is covered in 632.

HIST 633

Studies in International History

HIST 634

Studies in the History of Military Affairs

HIST 637

Studies in War and Humanities

The impact of war on society, literature and the arts.

HIST 640

Studies in East Asian History

HIST 645

Studies in Latin American History

The course introduces graduate-level students to the most prominent themes in the 20th century historiography of Latin America, including political and economic organization, land and labor, social movements and revolution, ethnicity and gender, and relations with the United States.

HIST 658

Studies in European History: 1815-1914






700/800 Level Seminars

IS 701/801

Global Change and U.S. Foreign Policy

This research seminar examines the transformation of the U.S. role in the world in the global context of the 20th century. Prerequisite: IS 606 or permission of instructor.

IS 702/802

Approaches to Collective Security

This seminar explores the origins of the idea of collective security, examines the attempts to organize international security collectively, and assesses possibilities and opportunities for collective security arrangements after the Cold War.

IS 703/803

Ethics and International Relations

The focus of this research seminar will be on the role of normative ideas in international relations. Students will be introduced to the growing literature on normative approaches to international relations as well as the traditional literature on the practical and philosophical problems of ethical action in the relations of the states. Although a number of policy applications will be considered, the primary focus will be on the theoretical incorporation of normative ideas into our understanding of state action in the anarchic international environment.

IS 704/804

Latin American Politics

This course examines Latin American politics from comparative and historical perspectives. Particular focus is placed on various manifestations of political authority in the region and the major societal challenges to state power. The course reviews and critiques alternative theoretical approaches to the study of state-societal relations in Latin America.

IS 705/805

Euro-Atlantic Community

An examination of the Euro-Atlantic areas as a partial international system since World War II; alignments and patterns within and between the members of the European "community" and the role and attitudes of the United States and leading European states to preserve and strengthen their sovereign prerogatives and influences; and the prospects for a true Euro-Atlantic community that would link the U.S. and Europe.

IS 706/806

The Causes of War

This research seminar will explore the theoretical and empirical literature on the causes of violent conflict between states.

IS 707/807

Power, Interdependence, and Transnationalism

This course covers the fundamental concepts, ideas and approaches to the study of interdependence and transnationalism. It seeks to expose students to the nature, role and impact of economic, technological, strategic and cultural interdependence. Cases of interdependence and transnationalism are explored in the post-Cold War era. Some focus is placed on how interdependence and transnationalism are impacting the power of the state.

IS 709/809

Chinese Foreign Policy

This seminar includes an advanced survey of theoretical approaches to the study of Chinese foreign policy and in-depth analyses of the domestic/international environment, ideological principles, political/economic goals, military/diplomatic instruments, decision-making processes, and global/regional consequences of Chinese foreign policy.

IS 710/810

Global Environmental Policy

A survey of worldwide ecological issues with references to the scientific debate concerning the severity, causes and solutions of each. Air, water and soil pollution, coupled with the economic policies of governments and their political capabilities to act. How does the scientific evidence inform this debate? What can be done? In what ways do scientific disciplines play a role in shaping global environmental policy?

IS 711/811

International Migration

A review of current literature and empirical issues concerning transnational migration and refugees.

IS 712/812

The New Germany in the New Europe

The unification of Germany and the end of the East-West conflict have changed the context within which policy is made in Europe. What kind of Europe will emerge? What kind of hierarchies will determine direction and pace of European Politics? The purpose of this course is to explore the role played by Germany in the development of post-Cold War European politics.

IS 713/813

Global Political Economy

Analysis of the forces shaping national and transnational economic institutions, and their policies on a range of contemporary issues, including north-south relations.

IS 714/814

Law in the International System

An introduction to the principles of international law and to the political and institutional role of law in the relations of states. In addition to covering the traditional principles and practices of international law, the politics of law in international relations and the legal character of international institutions will also be considered.

IS 715/815

The New France in the New Europe

Emphasis will be placed on the transformation of France -- the state and its people -- since the end of World War II; the global conditions that shaped French policies in and toward Europe during the Cold War; and the role played by France in the transformation of Europe into a Union of state.

IS 716/816

Theories of Comparative Sociopolitical Studies

The fundamental goal of the course is to provide the theoretical basis for subsequent coursework and research in the comparative and regional studies track. To achieve this goal, this seminar examines major theories and debates in comparative social and political studies based on extensive and intensive literature review.

IS 717/817

World Population and Development

This seminar discusses population processes and their connections to socioeconomic development. A non-technical course, the goal is to introduce students to the major concerns and issues in population and current debates over the role of population in sustainable development. It will provide students with a systematic but critical review of research findings and issues in various areas of population and development.

IS 719/819

Chinese Politics

The seminar focuses on post-Mao China. It examines the fundamental rules, prominent players, and major issues in contemporary Chinese politics. The course reviews and critiques alternative theoretical approaches to the study of Chinese politics.

IS 720/820

Research Seminar in Global Security

The research seminar investigates the profound changes in international security brought about by the end of the Cold War with a specific focus on the role of nuclear weapons. The primary purpose of the seminar is to promote research into the global aspects of the nuclear issue and to enhance understanding of the relationship between nuclear control and the world order.

IS 721/821

New World Order: Chaos or Coherence

The end of the Cold war has ushered tremendous political changes and an equally broad intellectual debate on the meaning of these changes. What will be the basic rules of international politics? Will the future resemble the past or follow new rules of its own? What countries, what groups, and what issues will dominate the future of world politics?

IS 722/822

Democracy and International Relations

An examination of the relationship between democratic politics, democratic ideals, and international relations. Subjects covered will include trends and processes of democratization and their implications for international relations, the distinctiveness of democratic states in their international behavior, the impact of the international environment on the internal politics of democratic states, and the problems of democracy in global governance.

IS 740/840

Political Economy of Development

The 1980s and early 1990s have witnessed considerable change, especially in the Second and Third World countries. Among such changes are marketization, democratization, ethnic conflicts, regionalism, and growing protectionism. This course aims to examine these developments and their implication to global division of labor and development processes of developing countries.

IS 741/841

Globalization and Social Change in the World Economy

This course is intended to first identify the distinguishing characteristics of globalization. It then examines its implications on a number of critical issues, including the future of democracy, income distribution and ethnic, class, and gender relations.

IS 751/851

Ethnic Conflict and the Emerging Global Order

Using different case studies, this course investigates the most important internal and external factors that cause ethnic conflict. It also examines different mechanisms that help resolve or mitigate such conflicts.

IS 752/852

Research Seminar in International Studies: Refugees

The seminar focuses on the refugee movement from a global perspective. The goals are to provide a critical and realistic understanding of the refugee phenomenon and to explain why refugees tend to follow some identifiable paths, and why they sometimes return and sometimes do not. Discussion will be centered on the causes and consequences of refugee flow, and the roles the more developed countries can play in helping solve the problem.

IS 794/894

Seminar in Thesis and Dissertation Preparation

Prepares students to research, formulate and write thesis and dissertation prospectuses. Prerequisite: Permission of the director.

IS 795/895

Topics in International Studies

The advanced study of selected (titled) topics not offered on a regular basis.

IS 796/896

Selected Topics in International Studies

The advanced study of selected topics in an interdisciplinary manner, which permits small groups of qualified students to work on subjects of mutual interest. Due to their specialized nature, seminar topics may not be offered regularly.

IS 868

Internship in International Studies

Internship individually arranged at local, state, or international level.

IS 897

Independent Research in International Studies

Independent research directed by professors.

IS 898

Directed Research

Methodological and theoretical preparation designed to assist students in writing a dissertation.

IS 899



Recent Topics

IS 795/895

Topics: World Population and Development

IS 795/895

Topics: Foreign Policy of Russia/Soviet Union

The conclusion to the Soviet experience has generated new methods and questions from scholars as well as new documents from archives. This graduate seminar surveys historiographic debate on the familiar as well as new problems in the history of Russian and Soviet foreign policy. Areas for discussion will include "socialism in one country," collective security, the Nazi invasion, the Soviet victory in World War II and the transformation of Eastern Europe, the Cold War in Europe, Sino-Soviet relations, Cuba, the Chechen War, Afghanistan, and the general problem of Islamic radicalism on the Russian frontier. Also to be considered will be Soviet inter-ethnic relations and Russia's new foreign policy toward its "near abroad," or the borderland regions of the former USSR. The general course format will include introductory lectures, short film clips from the time, several short writing assignments and a research paper, as well as extensive class discussion.

IS 795/895

Topics: Global Environmental Policy

A survey of world-wide ecological issues with references to the scientific debate concerning the severity, causes, and solutions of each. Air and water pollution, biodiversity, and global climatic change issues, regional and international conferences and agreements, coupled with the environmental policies of governments and their political capacities to act, are explored.

IS 795/895

Topics: Mao's China and East Asia

This seminar will review politics and society of the People's Republic of China from historical perspectives. It focuses on political formation and transformation of the government, social structure and upheavals, and foreign policies. Issues will include conflict and conformity between the Chinese traditional culture and the Communist practice, the Cultural Revolution, the role of the military in politics, and China's role in regional cooperation.

IS 796/896

Selected Topics: Readings in Cold War History

The advanced study of selected topics in U.S. foreign policy for Ph.D. students qualified to launch in-depth research prior to the doctoral thesis. Prerequisite: Explicit approval of the instructor.