International Security: War and Peace

I.     Course Prefix/Number: PSC 250

       Course Name: International Security: War and Peace

       Credits: 3 (3 lecture; 0 lab)

II.    Prerequisite


III.   Course (Catalog) Description

Course examines the causes and consequences of wars as well as strategies for peace in world politics. A variety of topics such as the nature and origins of war and peace, terrorism, ethnic and religious conflicts, intervention, globalization, and arms proliferation will be analyzed from a theoretical and historical perspective. Current world events relating to these topics will be discussed.

IV.   Learning Objectives

  1. Identify and define the factors involved in the study of international security issues;
  2. Describe and explain the causes of wars and the conditions for peace in world politics;
  3. Analyze and interpret the causes and consequences of various historical and contemporary conflicts;
  4. Analyze the conditions for security, and evaluate the nature of threats in the world today;
  5. Evaluate and interpret alternatives to traditional international security arrangements.

V.    Academic Integrity and Student Conduct

Students and employees at Oakton Community College are required to demonstrate academic integrity and follow Oakton's Code of Academic Conduct. This code prohibits:

• cheating,
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.

There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.

Please review the Code of Academic Conduct and the Code of Student Conduct, both located online at

VI.   Sequence of Topics

  1. Introduction to the Study of War and Peace.
  2. The Enduring Logic of Conflict in World Politics.
  3. Origins of the Great Twentieth-Century Conflicts.
  4. Balance of Power and World War I.
  5. The Failure of Collective Security and World War II.
  6. Conflict During the Cold War.
  7. Conflict in the Post-Cold War World.
  8. Intervention, Institutions, and Emerging International Norms.
  9. Regional, Ethnic, and Religious Conflicts.
  10. Globalization and Interdependence.
  11. The Information Revolution, Transnational Actors and the Diffusion of Power.
  12. A New World Order, or a New Disorder? Implications for U.S. National Security Strategy.

VII.  Methods of Instruction

Classes will include a variety of instructional methods such as: lectures, in class discussions, group activities, document and film analysis, and the use of new technologies.
Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

VIII. Course Practices Required

Students will be required to:

  1. Read a standard textbook and research materials.
  2. Write outside of class the equivalent of 12-14 double-spaced typed pages in the form of a term paper, summaries of journal articles, short research papers, and/or other kinds of writing.
  3. Participate in in-class and out-of-class activities.

IX.   Instructional Materials

Note: Current textbook information for each course and section is available on Oakton's Schedule of Classes.

Textbooks and readers such as:

Baylis, Wirtz, Gray, and Cohen, Strategy in the Contemporary World
Colin S. Gray, War, Peace, and International Relations
Joseph S. Nye, Understanding International Conflicts.
Richard K. Betts, Conflict After the Cold War.
William M. Evan, War & Peace.
Robert J. Art and Kenneth N. Waltz, The Use of Force.
Robert J. Art and Robert Jervis, International Politics.

Films and Documentaries such as:
The Battle of Algiers,
The Fog of War,
Why We Fight.

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

At least two exams will be given in addition to other required papers and assignments.

Students will also be evaluated on a combination of written assignments and in- and out-of-class assignments.

XI.   Other Course Information

Support Services: Tutoring is available in the Learning Center.

Important Dates: *

XX/XX:    Last day to withdraw and have course dropped from record
XX/XX:    Last day to change to Audit
XX/XX:    Last day for students to submit materials to make up incomplete from the previous semester
XX/XX:    Last day to withdraw from classes with a "W"

*These dates differ for each semester. You'll find the correct dates on the Academic Calendar.

If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.

Oakton Community College is committed to maintaining a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the community, and complies with all federal and state Title IX requirements.

Resources and support for
  • pregnancy-related and parenting accommodations; and
  • victims of sexual misconduct
can be found at

Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at

Electronic video and/or audio recording is not permitted during class unless the student obtains written permission from the instructor. In cases where recordings are allowed, such content is restricted to personal use only. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited. Personal use is defined as use by an individual student for the purpose of studying or completing course assignments.

For students who have been approved for audio and/or video recording of lectures and other classroom activities as a reasonable accommodation by Oakton’s Access Disabilities Resource Center (ADRC), applicable federal law requires instructors to permit those recordings. Such recordings are also limited to personal use. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited.

Violation of this policy will result in disciplinary action through the Code of Student Conduct.