Second Year Course Descriptions

PSIA323 International Governance (3 credits) – International Affairs

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 Affairs

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, the 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 Affairs

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 a 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 Affairs

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 Affairs

This writing-intensive course covers various issues pertaining to conflicts of international character in the 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) – Policy & Development

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) – Policy & Development

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) – Policy & Development

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) – Policy & Development

This course aims 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 the 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 the environmental sector are presented to students.

PSIA353 International Political Economy (3 credits) – International Affairs

An overview of the 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 the interaction of states and non-states.  Analytic methods are primarily qualitative with the inclusion of empirical quantitative results.

PSIA364 Middle East Politics  (3 credits) – International Affairs

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.

PSIA367 Government, Politics and the Media (3 credits)

This graduate course covers issues pertaining to the role of media in modern states, its influence upon politics and government decision-making, as well as its effects on framing political narratives and public discourse. Some relevant issues pertaining to the role of media in functioning and fragile democracies, media and modern warfare, social networks and popular movements, elite media and political campaigning, “post-truth politics”, citizen journalism and other subjects will be deliberated with a view of helping students to understand how governments function in the age of media revolution.

PSIA384 Civil Society and Social Capital (3 credits) – Policy & Development

 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 Affairs

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 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.

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 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.

PSIA392 Master’s Essay (3 credits)

PSIiA395 Master’s thesis (6 credits)

Note: Not all above listed courses are offered during each semester.