The fundamental problem for international relations theorists since Thucydides is the dynamics of conflict and cooperation in a political system without a central administrative authority. Although the end of the Cold War did not alter this basic problem, it did fundamentally change the political context; as a result, international relations as a field of study has been in a state of flux. The blurring of traditional interstate boundaries, as well as the rising importance of transnational processes like ethnic conflict, terrorism, and capital flows, have yielded new perspectives for the study of international relations.
Rutgers offers a unique program of advanced study in international relations in the midst of a community of scholars engaged in cutting edge research. Members of the IR field are committed to theoretical and methodological pluralism. The Rutgers program offers students the opportunity to pursue studies in international relations theory, international security and conflict processes, international political economy, and foreign policy decision making. Methodological approaches employed by faculty include comparative case studies, large N statistical studies, and game-theoretic analyses.
As they pursue their classroom studies, students are invited to participate in the many conferences and research programs organized by members of the faculty. These include projects on political extremism and wanton mass killing, diffusion of democratic ideals and practices, the causes of war, civil war termination, identity conflicts, theories of decision-making, domestic and cultural influences on foreign policy, and the political economy of international conflict. Students also are invited to participate in the programs sponsored by the Center for Global Security and Democracy, the International Relations Colloquium Series, the International Relations/History Seminar, and the Citizenship and Service Education Program.
In order to fully experience the distinctive strengths of the department as a whole, students studying international relations at Rutgers are encouraged to take classes in other fields that focus on themes critical to international relations: interstate war and intrastate political violence, international and comparative political economy, and American as well as comparative foreign policy. An early research orientation is strongly encouraged. Descriptions of seminars not listed in the IR curriculum section (see below) can be found in the Political Science Graduate Handbook or Website.
Majors and minors in International Relations must take the proseminar and a total of two seminars chosen from two of the following three categories: 1) interstate and intrastate warfare (522 or 001), 2) international political economy (630), and 3) foreign policy (530, 569, or 002). All IR majors must take fifteen credits in the field, and either 790:633 Multivariate Techniques or 790:634 Game Theory for Political Scientists, or the equivalent approved by the field. IR minors must take nine credits in the field. In addition, majors must have an IR field advisor; students planning to major or minor in IR should contact one of the faculty members affiliated with the IR field.
16:790.521.Proseminar: Theories of International Politics
Core course for international relations. Contemporary approaches to the study of international politics.
16:790:522.Theories of War and Peace
A survey and critical analysis of the leading theories of the causes of war and the conditions of peace.
16:790:530.Theoretical Explanations of Foreign Policy
Systematic analysis of factors influencing the foreign policies of states, with an emphasis on decision making.
16:790:566Theories of Political Violence and Stability
A survey and critical analysis of the leading theories of the causes of intrastate violence, including ethnic conflict, revolutions, and civil wars.
16:790:569. American Foreign Policy
The institutions and events which have shaped American foreign policy in the postwar era. Roles of the president, Congress, the bureaucracy, the military, and public opinion. The influence of partisan, economic, and social pressures on the formulation and implementation of policy.
16:790:627. Topics in International Politics
Specialized studies and research in international politics.
16:790:630. International Political Economy
Comparative analysis of alternative theoretical approaches to the study of international political economy.
16:790:640 Research Seminar on War and Peace
Original research in the area of war and peace. Models in international politics and peace research methods and literature.
16:790:680 Advanced Topics in International Relations
Advanced research seminar in international relations, intended to provide an opportunity for the design of doctoral research projects and the investigation of their feasibility. Open only to upper-level Ph.D. students.