PSCI 2500 - Syllabus

  PSCI 2500






Chapter, course policies quizzes (11)


After-class quizzes (apprx 22)


Exam I


Exam II


Final Exam




Course Description

What rules, principles, norms and conventions govern how states interact in the contemporary world? Are states free to act as they wish or do they face constraints from international institutions, power asymmetries and even self-interest? What are the mechanisms by which we seek to enhance cooperation and manage conflict? This semester, we will address these and other questions pertaining to international politics. The course will utilize a text supplemented with videos and additional readings.

Learning Outcomes


  • You will learn the various ways both political scientists and political leaders view how the international community of states interact.
  • You will gain knowledge of the factors that influence the formulation and conduct of foreign policy.
  • You will understand the institutions and practices that constitute global governance.
  • You will gain familiarity with a variety of challenges faced by the international community and both successes and failures in addressing them. 


  • You will gain skill in "border crossing," seeing things through someone else's eyes, understanding others' cultural "lenses."
  • You will strengthen your critical thinking skills, especially (but not exclusively) by remembering the following guidelines:

  • Complex problems have complex and multiple causes. Simplistic explanations lead to simplistic solutions that don't work.
  • Correlation is not causation. (It might suggest a causal relationship, but it's not a given.)
  • Evidence and inference guide our conclusions, not ideology, not preconceptions and not emotion.
  • There is never only one side to a conflict. Rarely is one party always right.

Course learning outcomes intersect with these WMU and College of Arts and Sciences global learning outcomes:

  • Knowledge #2: Demonstrate knowledge of the varied forces that have shaped the world.
  • Skill #2: The ability to think critically and problem solve while relying upon globally relevant knowledge and a variety of cultural frames of reference.
  • Perspective #4: Concern for becoming a globally engaged citizen who will work toward a sustainable future.

Academic Freedom

You have the right to engage in reasoned disagreement with me without any penalty to your grade. I have the right to challenge any belief, ideology, worldview, or attitude you have, including those beliefs you hold sacred. Students likewise have this right with each other and me. Everyone has the right to express his or her views without fear of bullying or reprisal. I or another student may ask you to support your view with evidence, logic, or an expression of values, just as you may ask of me or anyone else in class. Respectful disagreements and challenges should not be seen as attacks or insults, but as part of the reasoned dialogue we engage in as students, professors, and citizens. Look at disagreements as an opportunity to explore your own views as well as attempt to see an alternative viewpoint as if it were your own, even if only temporarily in order to understand it better. Understand that intellectual discomfort is a stepping stone to better understanding all points of view – even our own. And it is a critical foundation for learning.


The assigned text for the course is Steven Lamy, Introduction to Global Politics, 5th edition (it is essential you get the 5th edition; otherwise, pagination will be incorrect and you will not be able to answer some quiz questions).

Requirements and Grading


The elearning site for this course is where you will find the following:

    • quizzes and exams
    • grades
    • assigned articles
    • class lecture slides

Quizzes and Exams

Much of the evaluation of your learning in this class will take the form of quizzes. All quizzes are on elearning and can be taken with notes and readings in front of you. However, quizzes will be timed, so don't start a quiz and then open a reading assignment for the firt time.

There are two types of quizzes:

    1. Every chapter in the text has an associated online multiple choice quiz. Each quiz has a posted activation date and deadline; both are posted on elearning and the schedule page of this site.
    2. Within 72 hours of every class session, you will be responsible for taking an "after-class" quiz based on the material from that class session. This will compel you to keep up (an important factor in learning that lasts). The quizzes will be composed after class and will be available that evening. Deadlines are three days later (Thursday at 11:59 pm for Monday classes, Saturday at 11:59 pm for Wednesday classes.)

All quizzes are open book, open notes.

There are three exams. Each will have a mix of multiple choice, short answer and short essay questions.

Oops Passes

Given the fact that we are in extraordinary times (The Time of Covid), each student will have three "oops" passes that can be used to compensate for missed deadlines (think: get-out-of-jail-free cards if you know the Monopoly game). Each "oops" will give you three additional days to complete the quiz, no questions asked. Note that they do not apply to exams; if you must miss an exam deadline, you must let us know in advance to be able to make it up.

Make-up Exams

If you do not notify me in advance, and if I do not approve of the reason for being absent, you will not be allowed to make up exams. Excused absences include significant illness, death in the family, and the like. Excuses not accepted: having to work, a major assignment due in another class, a planned family or personal vacation, oversleeping, volunteer activity or a student activities event, and so on.

Religious Observances

WMU has a religious observances policy that I will follow as much as possible. Note that advance notification is essential, the more the better.


Students with Disabilities

I will make every effort to accommodate students with verified disabilities. Please see me to discuss it.


I will communicate with you often. You are responsible for monitoring communications. To communicate with us, you should use email. Leaving a message on my office voice mail will likely result in a delayed response (frankly, I never check it since no one relies on phone calls anymore). We will do everything we can to answer your email message promptly. Please help us distinguish between important messages from you and annoying spam from pranksters and criminals by using your WMU address. Also, when you write to us, please put "PSCI 2500" in the subject line. I cannot guarantee that emails that do not follow these instructions will be answered promptly.


Academic Integrity

Students are responsible for making themselves aware of and understanding the University policies and procedures that pertain to Academic Honesty. These policies include cheating, fabrication, falsification and forgery, multiple submission, plagiarism, complicity and computer misuse. The academic policies addressing Student Rights and Responsibilities can be found in the Undergraduate Catalog. If there is reason to believe you have been involved in academic dishonesty, you will be referred to the Office of Student Conduct. You will be given the opportunity to review the charge(s) and if you believe you are not responsible, you will have the opportunity for a hearing. You should consult with your instructor if you are uncertain about an issue of academic honesty prior to the submission of an assignment or test.


The university expects that all students will be evaluated and graded on their own work. If you use language, data or ideas from other sources, published or unpublished, you must take care to acknowledge and properly cite those sources. Failure to do so constitutes plagiarism. If we have reasion to believe you have plagiarized, you will be given the opportunity to respond per the regular institutional process and procedures that govern student academic conduct. If you are found to be responsible for plagiarism in the academic integrity review process, you will receive an E for the course.

Student Conduct

Students and instructors are responsible for making themselves aware of and abiding by the “Western Michigan University Sexual and Gender-Based Harassment and Violence, Intimate Partner Violence, and Stalking Policy and Procedures” related to prohibited sexual misconduct under Title IX, the Clery Act and the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and Campus Safe. Under this policy, responsible employees (including instructors) are required to report claims of sexual misconduct to the Title IX Coordinator or designee (located in the Office of Institutional Equity). Responsible employees are not confidential resources. For a complete list of resources and more information about the policy see University Sexual Assault and Misconduct Policy.


In addition, students are encouraged to access the Code of Conduct, as well as resources and general academic policies on such issues as diversity, religious observance, and student disabilities:


Grading Scale


100-93% = A

92-88% = BA

87-83% = B

82-78% = CB

77-73% = C

72-68% = DC

67-60% = D

below 60% = E

Exams I & II


140-150 = A

132-139 = BA

125-131 = B

117-124 = CB

110-116 = C

102-109 = DC

90-101 = D

>90 = E

Semester Points

1000-930 = A

929-880 = BA

879-830 = B

829-780 = CB

779-730 = C

729-680 = DC

679-600 = D

below 600 = E

Final Exam


186-200 = A

176-185 = BA

166-175 = B

156-165 = CB

146-155 = C

136-145 = DC

120-135 = D

>120 = E