Second Year Course Descriptions
PSIA323 International Governance (3 credits) – International Relations Track
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.
PSIA324 Security Policy (3 credits) – International Relations Track
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.
PSIA325 Conflicts and Geopolitics in the Caucasus (3 credits) – International Relations Track
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.
PSIA326 Theories of Globalization (3 credits) – International Relations Track
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.
PSIA335 International Conflicts in XXI Century (3 credits) – International Relations Track
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.
PSIA343 Public Finance and Budgeting (3 credits) – Public Policy Track
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.
PSIA344 Public Policy Analysis (3 credits) – Public Policy Track
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.
PSIA345 Development Policy and Strategy (3 credits) – Public Policy Track
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.
PSIA347 Environmental Policy (3 credits) – Public Policy Track
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.
PSIA348 Policy and Program Evaluation (3 credits) – Public Policy Track
Program Evaluation is the systematic use of empirical information to assess and improve the effectiveness, efficiency, and equity of public or non-profit 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 non-governmental 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.
PSIA351 Microeconomics (3 credits)
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.
PSIA353 International Political Economy (3 credits) – International Relations Track
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.
PSIA360 Armenian Politics (3 credits)
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.
PSIA370 European Integration (3 credits) – International Relations Track
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.
PSIA372 European Neighborhood Policy (3 credits) – International Relations Track
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.
PSIA384 Civil Society and Social Capital (3 credits) – Public Policy Track
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.
PSIA385 Global Justice (3 credits) – International Relations Track
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.
PSIA390 Research Design (1 credit)
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 Analytic 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.
PSIA399 Independent Study (3 credits)
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 component. 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.
PSIA367 Topics in Political Science (3 credits)
PSIA368 Topics in International Affairs (3 credits)
PSIA391 Policy Internship Project (2 credits)
PSIA392 Master’s Essay (2 credits)
PSIA393 Policy Paper (2 credits)
Note: Not all above listed courses are offered during each semester.