Course Descriptions

PSIA Courses

PSIA 101 Introduction to Political Science (Credits: 3)
This course provides students with an introduction to the approaches in the study of politics. The course explores major concepts prevalent in political science including power, democracy, political culture and constitutionalism. It identifies the major fields of study within the discipline and familiarizes students with the differences in approach that each follow from a comparative perspective. Students are expected to complete regular assignments in order to acquire knowledge and to practice skills discussed in class.
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PSIA 102 Introduction to US Government (Credits: 3)
This course introduces students to the structures and functions of American government and politics. Students study the major institutions, how political parties interact with government, how elections are conducted and how policies are made. This is done within an historical context. American Federalism and the changes in how government attends to problems both foreign and domestic are covered. Students are expected to complete regular assignments in order to acquire knowledge and to practice skills discussed in class.
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PSIA 103 Introduction to Armenian Government (Credits: 3)
This course is a general introduction to the structure and functions of Armenian Government and its institutions, from historical, legal and comparative perspectives. The role of each branch of the government, the scope of its authority, and checks and balances in the system, will be examined in light of constitutional design and ongoing political processes, along with the relationship between the national, regional and local levels of government. Specific issues will include the state tax and budgeting process, fiscal accountability, lawmaking and regulation making, civic participation in the process, and mechanisms for public oversight of government activities and protection of individual rights as well as the military, law enforcement, and security agency’s special responsibilities and authority. The course aims to help students understand the role of government in the 21st century and the rights and responsibilities of 21st citizen in public and governmental affairs, in light of international best practices and Armenia’s development. Three hours of instructor-led instruction per week.
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PSIA 105 Introduction to International Relations (Credits: 3)
This course aims to introduce students to a wide-range of concepts, tools and cases in the study of contemporary international relations. The course includes an overview of the essential history of the global system and introduces the foundational theories and alternative theories upon which much of the analyses of world politics is based, including game theory. The course explores how the international system, international law and diplomacy function in theory and practice. Instructor-led class may include lectures, discussions, case studies, readings, group work. Assessment may include class participation, papers, essays, quizzes, exams, projects and presentations.
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PSIA 201 Political Philosophy (Credits: 3)
This course examines some of the deepest questions about politics and society. Why should we have government and what would things be like without it? Is there a duty to obey government or are people sometimes justified in resisting it? What form should government take and in particular, is democracy the best form of government? How much freedom should people have and is society justified in restricting freedom? What form of property system should society have and should society try to redistribute income and wealth? We will also examine the contribution that feminism has made to social and political thought. The course is organized around five main topics: 1. State of Nature, 2. Political Obligation, 3. Forms of Government, 4. Freedom and Rights, 5. Property and Social Justice. Among the thinkers whose work will be covered are Plato, Aristotle, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, and Mill. Course work will involve essays, research, presentations, and close reading of philosophic texts. Three hours of instructor-led discussion per week.
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Prerequisite: One lower division course from those that cluster

PSIA 271 Religion & Politics (Credits: 3)
What is the relationship between religion and politics? This course examines the meanings of and interactions between, religion and politics in comparative politics and international relations. Contrary to theories about toward secularization recent developments underscore the important role religion continues to play in world politics. In many countries religious beliefs, practices and institutions shape individual values, social organizations, state institutions and international. The course will examine trends and theories on the of religion in public life, in state and global politics, including separation of church and state (i.e., state secularism); nationalism and religion; war and peace; non-discrimination, and gender issues. Issues of religion, church and state in Armenia will also be discussed in the context of global developments. Assessment will include tests, essays, and presentations. Three hours of instructor-led class time per week.
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Prerequisite: One lower division course from those that cluster   

              
PSIA 272 Geopolitics of Asia (Credits: 3)
The course serves as an introduction to the complex regional dynamics that make up the international relations of Asia, a region of growing political and economic importance. The course applies various analytical and theoretical approaches to understanding the complexities of the region, in its geographic, ethnic, religious and economic diversity. The course explores the role of great power hegemony and various regionalisms, and the role of Russia, China, India and the United States, and their interrelations and external relations with the region. Instructor-led class may include lectures, discussions, case studies, readings, group work. Assessment may include class participation, papers, essays, quizzes, exams, projects and presentations.
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Prerequisite: One lower division course from those that cluster   

              
PSIA 273 Geopolitics of Europe (Credits: 3)
The course explores Europe: its contributions, its torments, its communities, its races and ethnicities, its laws, its theories, its geo-political importance to the world; investigating its many roles as colonizer, imperialist, arbiter of theology and reason, scientist, artist, musician, author, philosopher, warrior, technologist, diversifier of migration, politician, democrat, nationalist, populist, institutionalist, protectionist. The course addresses such topics as the renaissance and reformation, enlightenment and absolutism; turmoil, power, capital, revolution, collectivism vs. individualism, division and recovery, modernizer and post-modernizer, nation-state proponent, cosmopolitanism, communitarianism. Forty-five hours of instructor-led class tie.
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Prerequisite: One lower division course from those that cluster   

              
PSIA 281 Development Policy (Credits: 3)
This course is a survey of the literature on key determinants of development “Development” at the statelevel and “development” at the project level. We begin by considering some of the factors that drive state development, including economic growth, poverty reduction, social inequality, etc. We study different development models most popular in different periods of time, and then move on to the analysis of state policies in health and education, population and migration, and the linkages between investments in human capital and economic growth. The course then moves on to other key topics in international development including accountability and good governance, conditionalities, monitoring and evaluation of results, etc. The course concludes with a discussion on the scope and limitations of foreign aid and the institutions that implement aid policies. Three hours of instructor-led class per week.
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Prerequisite: One lower division course from those that cluster    

             
PSIA 282 Survey of Regional Politics (Credits: 3)
Survey of Regional Politics aims to provide insights into the existing and emerging dynamics of the Caucasian region. The course will identify and analyze features of political cultures, traditions of statehood and key domestic developments in Turkey, Azerbaijan, Iran, Georgia, as well as foreign policy priorities and interests of Russia, EU, USA. Special attention will be paid to Armenia’s relations with its neighbors and different geopolitical interests pursued by major global stakeholders. The course consists of lectures, discussions and student presentations. Three hours of instructor-led class time per week.
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Prerequisite: One lower division course from those that cluster         

        
PSIA 300 Western Political Thought (Credits: 3)
This course is an introduction to Western Political Thought from a historical perspective. It covers all the essential ideas since early Greeks to the twentieth century that have shaped the political process and institutionalization of governance in Europe and the United States.
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PSIA 302 Graduate Research and Scholarly Writing in the Social Sciences (Credits: 3)
This is an entry graduate-level course in research methods with a dual emphasis on: (1) comprehension of the fundamentals of social science research and competencies in identifying and consuming research literature; and (2) improvement of individual academic writing, including summarizing and synthesizing, critical analysis, argumentation, using citations, paraphrasing, etc. As a part of these two components, the course will also touch upon working with Excel – data entry, basic analysis, use of workbooks and graphs. The teaching methodology used in this course is learning by doing, with guided feedback, accompanied by readings, lectures, exercises, home assignments, peer reviews, and group work.
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PSIA 303 Research Methods in Political Science (Credits: 3)
Introduction to research methods in political science covering the overall logic and theory of empirical research and the major quantitative and qualitative data collection methodologies and statistical analyses used.
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PSIA 310 Comparative Politics (Credits: 3)
Comparative analysis of political elites, governmental institutions, and political processes in selected industrial, developing and socialist countries. A representative sampling of countries would include the United States, Britain, France, Germany, India, Saudi Arabia, China, Egypt, Iran, Mexico, Russia, Syria and Israel.
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PSIA 311 Regional Politics (Credits: 3)
The course gives an insight on the regional political developments. Features of political cultures, traditions of statehood and key domestic developments in Turkey, Iran, Azerbaijan and Georgia will be addressed. The course also reflects upon Armenia’s relations with those countries. The course is composed of lectures, seminars, discussions and presentations.
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PSIA 320 International Relations (Credits: 3)
This course aims at giving students an introductory level knowledge required to understand and analyze contemporary international politics. The course targets examining the theoretical and normative foundations of international relations, analyzing the mission, objectives and policies of international intergovernmental organisations, critically “reading” and understanding foreign policies of selected leading and small states alike, as well as touching upon the role that various non-state actors play in the world.
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PSIA 323 International Governance (Credits: 3)
This is an MA level course that explores factors affecting international governance in the 21st century, framed within an environment of uncertainty, marked by a relationship of universality and particularity in space and time. International governance illustrates pressures upon state sovereignty, borders, national interests, including specific attention toward security, justice, energy, modernity, demography, technology, economy, ageing, migration, environment and health. Key actors include Westphalian states, international organizations, civil society and non-state movements. Theoretical analyses will include those of Foucault, Derrida, Habermas, Campbell, R.B.J. Walker, Castells, Der Derian, Wendt, Wallerstein, and others.
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PSIA 324 Security Policy (Credits: 3)
This course addresses a number of security policy related issues, including decision making in the national security matters, strategic planning and implementation of security politics on the executive and different agency levels, implications of globalization and human rights on security related issues, interdependence of foreign, defense, intelligence and security policies. The course also reflects upon Armenia’s experience of national security policy planning and implementation.
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PSIA 325 Conflicts and Geopolitics in the Caucasus (Credits: 3)
This course gives a critical perspective to ethnic and geopolitical developments in the region and tries to position them along with major theories of ethnicity. The course provides theoretical background on the existing discourses of nationalism, ethnicity and geopolitics with an objective of seeking a deeper understanding of the origins and dynamics of ethnic conflicts. Study of protracted conflicts in Nagorno-Karabakh, Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Chechnya, and Dagestan constitutes the bases of the course, other latent conflicts are also considered.
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PSIA 326 Theories of Globalization (Credits: 3)
This course will explore globalization primarily from a theoretical view, though empirical applications will be included.While there will be substantive elements of knowledge, the primary emphasis will be in processing skills, i.e., in conceptualization, diagnosis, analysis and solution building. We are particularly interested in the scientific method, policy analysis and social science. It is the interaction of these three models that create the framework for the course. Attention will be given to the causes of globalization and the outcomes globally.
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PSIA 327 EU/Global Politics (Credits: 3)
The main objectives of the course are: to supply knowledge to the students on what the EU is, what it does and how can we evaluate it as an actor in world politics; to offer understanding about the EU external relations in different policy domains, and enrich their knowledge on all important regions on the globe and the EU’s relations with them.
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PSIA 328 Caucasus in the Global Context (Credits: 3)
This course studies the relationship between the Caucasus and other major actors in international politics. It focuses on the emerging role of the Caucasus in world politics, the foreign policies of other important actors that affect the Caucasus and important policy dimensions such as regionalism, security, conflict studies, and identify/legitimacy politics.
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PSIA 335 International Conflicts in XXI Century (Credits: 3)
This writing-intensive course covers various issues pertaining to conflicts of international character in XXI century and is aimed at improving the understanding of the universe of state actors, international organizations and their interests, the environment of modern conflicts and possibilities of conflict resolution in the frameworks of international organisations and through ad hoc ‘coalitions of the willing’. The issues of global governance will be explored to understand international mechanisms that are currently employed for conflict prevention and resolution, such as the role of humanitarian and human rights organizations and international tribunals, in parallel with more conventional means such as peacekeeping missions or third-party mediation. To that end, we will enter the corridors of the United Nations and regional organizations in order to see how they deal with those crises in places such as Libya, Mali, Syria, Ukraine, Nagorno Karabakh, DRC or Colombia, and why, inter alia, criminal prosecution of masterminds of atrocity crimes in one place is not necessarily the right path to pursue in another.
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PSIA 340 Public Administration (Credits: 3)
The course studies the role and scope of bureaucracy in the modern state; examination of issues in the formulation and implementation of public policy; planning, programming, and decision-making in the bureaucratic policy-making process.
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PSIA 341 Organizational Behavior (Credits: 3)
This course provides consideration of general theories and concepts of organization and bureaucratic behavior, strategies for control, stability, and change in modern state systems. This course is designed for graduate students with the expectation that they will expand their knowledge of those areas of organization life that deal with human relations and organizational psychology. The course will highlight how this knowledge will assist administrators in more effectively dealing with others in public and private organizations.
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PSIA 343 Public Finance and Budgeting (Credits: 3)
This course develops a general understanding of the policy of public budgeting and finance. It presents a general overview of Western public finance and budgeting systems with an emphasis on the processes of planning, programming, appropriation, taxation, spending and managing a budget deficit. The course covers both theoretical aspects of public finance and budgeting, as well as politics, processes and institutions in government budgeting. Students also learn the peculiarities of government budgeting in Armenia in comparison with the Western system.
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PSIA 344 Public Policy Analysis (Credits: 3)
The course consists of three parts. In the first part concepts and theories of public policy analysis are discussed. The general framework for policy analysis is presented. The second part of the course focuses on tools and methods of policy analysis, with a specific focus on one quantitative (regression analysis) and one qualitative (focus groups) method of obtaining and systematizing relevant data. The third part of the course applies theoretical and the methodological knowledge discussed in the previous two sections to the Armenian reality.
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PSIA 345 Development Policy and Strategy (Credits: 3)
This course starts by considering some of the factors that drive or hinder development, including economic growth, reduction of poverty and inequality, access to resources, education and health care, etc. Then, the course moves on to cover the basis of political decisions made by governments of developing countries across a range of themes. Here, the course explores competing approaches to the role of the state in development and also engages in debates on the characteristics essential for development, contrasting in particular institutional approaches and the good governance agenda. Finally, the course dedicates sessions to sector-level policies: agricultural, industrial, employment, and poverty reduction policies.
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PSIA 347 Environmental Policy (Credits: 3)
The aim of this course is to introduce the tools, approaches and institutions that govern political decision-making in the field of environmental conservation and natural resource management. The course starts with an overview of global environmental issues of concern to all humanity and their impact on people’s life. Students further explore the international and national policy frameworks that focus on environmental issues and zero in on their solutions. Students learn about history of environmental policy and politics in the US, Europe (and particularly EU) and former Soviet Union; emergence and evolution of green parties, social movements and groups. Armenia’s international obligations in environmental sector are presented to students.
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PSIA 348 Policy and Program Evaluation (Credits: 3)
Program Evaluation is the systematic use of empirical information to assess and improve the effectiveness, efficiency, and equity of public or nonprofit programs and policy interventions. Evaluation is increasingly required by funders and policy makers concerned with accountability and efficient use of public or private resources. In addition, many governments and nongovernmental organizations have built the logic of evaluation into their work through performance management and monitoring systems. This course trains you in different types of program evaluation, including needs assessment, formative research, process evaluation, monitoring of outputs and outcomes, impact assessment, and cost analysis.
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PSIA 350 Macroeconomics (Credits: 3)
An intensive course in macroeconomic analysis that studies the performance of the national economy and the global economy.
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PSIA 351 Microeconomics (Credits: 3)
This course covers the essential microeconomic principles and applies them to public decisions. It covers the key principles of microeconomics, such as supply, demand, and market processes and provides extensive coverage of topics that concern public sector decisions.
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Prerequisite: PSIA350       

          
PSIA 352 Economics for Political Science (Credits: 3)
This course covers concepts and principles in economics which are most relevant for political science and international affairs. Special focus will be placed on topics concerning the government’s role in the economy. Topics covered include production and consumption, supply and demand, the concept of utility, the public and private sector, welfare economics, market failures (monopoly, externalities, and public goods) and government control, game theory and applications, GDP and national income, growth (capital accumulation, institutions, and technological advances), money and inflation, international flow of goods and capital (migration, external trade, exchange rates, and foreign investment), and monetary and fiscal policy. Three hours of instructor-led class time per week.
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PSIA 353 International Political Economy (Credits: 3)
An overview of international political economy (IPE) from a theoretical and empirical perspective. Focuses on substantive elements and their mixture with process dynamics. Analytical models will include scientific method, policy and social science concepts and methods. Emphasizes macro and micro empirical findings. Reviews normative and empirical findings. Evaluates interaction of states and non-states. Analytic methods primarily qualitative with inclusion of empirical quantitative results.
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PSIA 360 Armenian Politics (Credits: 3)
This course provides an in-depth understanding of Armenian politics. It examines the major turning points of the country’s political transitions and examines questions related to the system of governance, democratic transition, institutional, political, economic, and social developments in the post-Soviet Armenia. Issues of the Soviet heritage as well as questions related to the impact of the Karabakh conflict on the domestic developments of Armenia will be considered too. The course will also discuss topics related to elections, political parties, power relations, problems of migration, democratic consolidation, and relations with the Armenian Diaspora. The course consists of lectures, discussions and student presentations. Three hours of instructor-led class time per week.
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Prerequisite: PSIA311              

   
PSIA 364 Middle East Politics (Credits: 3)
The Middle East is widely associated with an area of conflicting global and regional interests. By learning about key questions and debates in the field of Middle East politics (Arab-Israeli conflict, Syrian civil war, Iraq-Iran conflict etc.), the course aims to give students a critical understanding of politics in the region. Topics may include “persistent authoritarianism” in the Middle East, political Islam, sectarian violence, economic development and underdevelopment, social mobilization and the foundations of the Arab Spring, and the challenges of Armenian communities living in the Middle East.
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Prerequisite: PSIA310  PSIA320         

      
PSIA 367 Topics in Political Science (Credits: 3)
Course Description tailored to course content when offered.
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PSIA 368 Topics in International Affairs (Credits: 3)
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PSIA 370 European Integration (Credits: 3)
The course will provide an understanding about the European Union (EU) as a unique `regional´ institution with the highest degree of delegation of competencies from the national to the supranational level. European integration is treated as a large case with its specific aspects (history, institutional interplay and policies) analyzed through the lenses of the EU-intrinsic mid-range theories and IR theories.
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PSIA 371 European Union and the World (Credits: 3)
This course examines the relationship between the European Union and the World. It focuses on the emerging role of the EU as a bloc in foreign affairs; we examine how the EU has evolved as a major player in international affairs in different policy domains. Theoretical streams of regionalism and governance will concentrate on past, present and future geo-strategic interests and behavior.
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Prerequisite: PSIA320                 
PSIA 372 European Neighborhood Policy (Credits: 3)
The course focuses on the European Neighborhood Policy (ENP), encompassing also the Union for the Mediterranean and the Eastern Partnership, developed by the European Union (EU) towards its political periphery, namely, North Africa/Middle East, and the former Soviet Union. It additionally deals with the EU’s policy in different domains, i.e. trade, democracy, human rights, public administration, civil society, justice, migration, etc.
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PSIA 373 Geopolitics of Asia (Credits: 3)
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PSIA 383 Contemporary Political Philosophy (Credits: 3)
This course examines contemporary theories in political philosophy. The theories to be examined are utilitarianism, liberal egalitarianism, capabilities approach, libertarianism, and communitarianism. In examining these theories, the course will cover topics such as justice in the distribution of income and wealth, equality, taxation and incentives, unconditional basic income, and the moral limits of the market. Thinkers include such authors as Rawls, Nozick, Dworkin, Cohen, Sen, Walzer, Sandel, and Marx. Three hours of instructor-led class time per week.
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Prerequisite: PSIA300              

   
PSIA 384 Civil Society and Social Capital (Credits: 3)
This course analyses the concepts of civil society and social capital and explains their prominence in current social science. As a first building block, the course material includes relevant works of major social theorists, sociologists and political scientists. The course then makes a transition from theoretical concepts to empirical studies of civil society and social capital. The last part of the course is dedicated to applying the concepts and the approaches to the Armenian reality. The course is envisioned as a seminar with active student participation in class discussions.
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PSIA 385 Global Justice (Credits: 3)
This course examines whether ideals of justice should be applied across the world, by examining debates in global justice. Should principles of distributive justice be applied globally or are they only relevant to particular societies? Is global justice an unrealistic goal? Do people in wealthy nations have a duty to give to the starving overseas? Is poverty a human rights violation? Do we have obligations towards our co-nationals and if so, do these obligations defeat the claims of global justice? Would military intervention to achieve global justice be justified? Should there be open borders between nations? Should there be a world government? Do we have duties towards future generations? What are the implications of any such duties for climate change? These and other questions will be addressed in this course.
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PSIA 390 Research Design (Credits: 1)
This seminar is designed to assist students in preparing their research for their final, capstone experience in Political Science and International Relations. This includes Master’s Essays, Internship Reports and Policy Papers. Before one can embark on their final papers, students must plan and prepare for the activities and actions necessary to complete the final paper. This course is mandatory for ALL second year students.
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PSIA 391 Policy Internship Project (Credits: 3)
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PSIA 392 Master’s Essay (Credits: 3)
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PSIA 393 Policy Paper (Credits: 3)
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PSIA 399 Independent Study (Credits: 3)
This course is designed to permit students to design and complete a course of study under the supervision of an instructor for credit. Such courses typically address a special area of interest of the student and instructor outside the standard offerings of the program and have an interdisciplinary or research components. The course must include a co-designed syllabus and evidence of learning equivalent to a standard 3-credit course. Independent study courses are subject to the instructor’s approval and Program Chair’s consent.
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