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2015/2016  BA-BPOLV1008U  United States Foreign Policy

English Title
United States Foreign Policy

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Elective
Level Bachelor
Duration One Semester
Start time of the course Autumn
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Max. participants 40
Study board
Study Board for BSc/MSc i International Business and Politics, BSc
Course coordinator
  • Underviser
    David Struthers - Department of International Business Communication (IBC)
  • Kevin McGovern - Department of International Business Communication (IBC)
Main academic disciplines
  • Globalization and international business
  • International political economy
  • Political Science
Last updated on 19-02-2015
Learning objectives
To achieve the grade 12, students should meet the following learning objectives with no or only minor mistakes or errors: At the end of the course students should be able to:
  • Develop a relevant problem area, analysis and conclusions in accordance with the conventions of academic writing
  • Exhibit understanding of the historical origins of United States foreign policy
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the development of United States foreign policy since the Spanish-American War
  • Demonstrate an understanding of theoretical paradigms shaping foreign policy decision making
  • Discuss contemporary American foreign policy in depth
  • Analyze foreign policy decisions in a critical manner
Course prerequisites
A general familiarity with the American history and society. A level of proficiency in English allowing active participation in class discussions and allowing coherent writing.
Home assignment:
Exam ECTS 7,5
Examination form Home assignment - written product
Individual or group exam Individual
Size of written product Max. 10 pages
Assignment type Written assignment
Duration Written product to be submitted on specified date and time.
Grading scale 7-step scale
Examiner(s) One internal examiner
Exam period Winter and Winter
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
Description of the exam procedure

Individual written 10-page essay responding to a prompt provided by the instructor. Appropriate essay format and quality standards will be discussed in class. Re-examination will be the same as the ordinary one.

Course content and structure

This course offers an introduction to United States foreign policy from the beginning of the Spanish American War through the present. It will begin with a historical examination of American expansionism in the Caribbean and the Pacific. We will then establish a theoretical overview of the leading paradigms in international relations theory such as realism, neo-realism, constructivism, and Marxism. The remainder of the term will focus on the evolution of U.S. foreign policy during the Cold War (1945-1991), the post-Cold War period (1991- 2001), post-September 11, 2001, the George W. Bush presidency, and the Obama administration’s recent foreign policy initiatives (2009-12). We will investigate the crucial decisions and debates that have shaped the course of America’s dealings with the world to illuminate the change and the continuity in policies and policymaking.

Teaching methods
The course consists of 10 weekly double lessons.
Lectures and class discussions.
Expected literature

Possible texts include:
Joyce P. Kaufman, A Concise History of U.S. Foreign Policy. New York: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2nd edition 2010.

Eugene R. Wittkopf and James M. McCormick, eds., The Domestic Sources of American Foreign Policy, 5th edition (New York: Rowman & Littlefield, 2007).

Mintz, A., and K. DeRouen. Understanding Foreign Policy Decision Making. Cambridge University Press, 2010.

Last updated on 19-02-2015