programmes

Course Descriptions 2015-16

(I) Compulsory courses:

    • POLI6004. Theories of international relations

      This survey course is designed for graduate students and offers a rigorous introduction to the main debates and theoretical perspectives of international relations: what do we know about international conflict and international cooperation? Is the state the most significant actor in international affairs today? Can theory inform us about the actual day-to-day of international politics? Students will familiarize themselves with a variety of theoretical perspectives; however, the course will not manage to cover in depth and breadth each theoretical approach to International Relations theory. It is most likely that you will leave the course with more questions than answers. The course is structured in three parts. First, we will get settled into the course, understanding more about the roots of the discipline of ‘International Relations.’ Second, we tackle the mainstream theories and approaches to International Relations theory. Third, we bring the theory back down to earth using an advanced simulation in the final section of the course.
      Assessment: 80% coursework, 20% examination
    • POLI6006. International political economy

      This course is a broad overview of major theoretical approaches, concepts and substantive issues in the field of international political economy (IPE). It is designed to help students gain a substantial understanding of the relations between politics and economics and the interplay between power and wealth. The course starts with a critical evaluation of major theoretical perspectives on IPE and then examines some core issue areas, such as economic interdependence, the international trading system, multinational corporations, the international monetary system, North-South relations, and foreign economic policies of key states in the international economic system.
      Assessment: 60% coursework, 40% examination
    • POLI6031. Capstone project

      The capstone project enables students to integrate what they have learned from the MIPA Programme and demonstrate their ability to analyze critical issues in international relations and public affairs. Students will work in small groups and complete a research project. A topic is selected in consultation with relevant teaching staff in September and the title of the capstone project is submitted for approval by 1 December of the final academic year of study. The project is then researched and written and submitted for examination by 31 May of the final academic year of study.
      Assessment: 100% coursework

(II) Core courses:

    • POLI6005. International organizations

      This course provides a general survey of the development of international organizations. It begins with the philosophical and theoretical foundations of international organizations and then examines a broad range of international organizations and the issues which these international organizations are designed to deal with such as collective security, peaceful settlement of disputes, and promoting international justice, social and economic development. Special emphasis is given to exploring the roles and functions of the United Nations, and its affiliated organizations. Attention will also be given to regional organizations such as North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and European Union (EU).
      Assessment: 100% coursework
    • POLI6007. International relations in the Asia-Pacific

      This course is a survey of international relations in the Asia Pacific region. Instead of providing a comprehensive examination of the history, culture, and national policies of countries in the region, it mainly addresses four issues here: What are major trends in regional IR? What is the source of conflict in the region? What are the common interests that unite peoples and states of the Asian Pacific? How does the region organise itself? It explains dynamics and patterns of regional international relations in a broad geopolitical and geoeconomic context. Topics in discussion include major powers’ role in the region, the Korean Peninsula, the Taiwan Strait, ASEAN, Southeast Asia and regional institution-building.
      Assessment: 100% coursework
    • POLI6008. Understanding global problems: theory and practice

      This course aims to critically explore some of the major challenges confronting an international community that is faced with unprecedented levels of global interdependency and escalating power asymmetry. The class will provide a detailed analysis of the issues at stake, providing students with the intellectual grounding necessary to critically evaluate many of our most pressing global problems and their proposed solutions. While the list of controversies changes each semester, some past questions have included: Are genetically modified foods crucial to the fight against hunger? Is U.S. hegemony a force for global (in)stability? Is globalization inherently "anti-religious"? Was NATO intervention in Kosovo justified? In exploring these and other controversies, the course will combine perspectives from the academic literature with those of practitioners, including senior diplomats, representatives from non-governmental organizations, government officials, and corporate executives.
      Assessment: 100% coursework
    • POLI6010. Chinese foreign policy

      This course examines key foreign policy issues and the process of foreign policy making of the People’s Republic of China. It begins with a framework of analysis for studying Chinese foreign policy. Different models and explanations are used in analyzing Chinese foreign policy. Special emphasis is placed on the revolutionary source of Chinese foreign policy and China''s position in the changing international environment during the Cold War and its rise as a major global power in recent years.
      Assessment: 100% coursework
    • POLI6011. International security in East Asia

      This course examines major trends and problems in East Asian security. Taking a broad concept of “national security,” it studies regional security issues in both “traditional security” sense and “non-traditional security” sense. Besides, introducing basic concepts and approaches to the study of regional security in East Asia, the course analyses national security policies of major powers in the region and how their policies affect regional security environment.
      Assessment: 100% coursework
    • POLI6020. East Asian political economy

      This course examines the interaction of politics and economics in international trade with reference to the world economy''s most dynamic region - the Pacific Rim. International politics and international economics have been described as interwoven strands in the fabric of world order. This course focuses on three dimensions: First, theoretical perspectives on the politics of international trade and more specifically, the arguments for and against free trade. Concepts such as free trade, protectionism, new protectionism, and strategic trade will be discussed with reference to developments in the Pacific region. Second, the institutional and legal framework of the world trade system: the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and its successor organization - the World Trade Organization (WTO). The institutional dimension will be discussed with reference to the changing global trade environment, particularly in the Pacific Rim. Third, case studies on the major political and economic challenges arising from trade difficulties that Pacific Rim countries have to confront.
      Assessment: 50% coursework, 50% examination
    • POLI6029. War and armed conflict: philosophical issues

      This course provides a thorough introduction into the moral issues of war and armed conflict, with a focus on current debates in just war theory, and in particular on such controversial issues as “the moral (in)equality of soldiers”, the principle of discrimination, terrorism, torture, guerrilla warfare and humanitarian intervention.
      Assessment: 100% coursework
    • POLI6032. International law

      This course is taught under the assumption that most of the students are not majoring in public international law. It begins with an introduction to the study of international law, its sources, subjects, and its relations with domestic laws. It is then followed by a number of topics including, state sovereignty over territory and jurisdiction, immunities and treaties, UNCLOS, use of force and peaceful settlements of disputes, human rights and humanitarian laws, economic and environmental laws, etc. The course is mainly composed of two parts: lectures and class discussions. As an integrated part, the discussion session demands everyone’s active participation. A list of international legal issues and/or cases shall be distributed in advance and “mock chambers” of ICJ or other judicial bodies shall be formed by the students from time to time to render decisions or give advisory opinions on the legal questions concerned.
      Assessment: 100% coursework
    • POLI6033. Cross- Taiwan Strait relations

      This course will explore the historical background and contemporary dynamics of the relationship across the Taiwan Strait, and introduces relevant theoretical concepts and analytical tools in studying cross-Taiwan Strait issues. The Taiwan problem has been a defining issue for China and its rise towards a great power in world affairs. The convergence and divergence between Taiwan and the mainland have troubled the Chinese nation for centuries. The course will examine the historical origin of the Taiwan problem and how cross-Strait relations have evolved since the late 19th century. In studying the evolving Taiwan problem, particular attention will be given on the role of the United States in shaping cross-Strait relations. In studying contemporary dynamics, the course will focus on the issues of economic integration, political dialogues, mutual confidence building, and people-to-people exchanges in the development of cross-Strait relations.
      Assessment: 100% coursework
    • POLI6035. War and strategy

      Chinese strategist Sun Zi declared: “War is a matter of vital importance to the state; the province of life or death; the road to survival or ruin. It is mandatory that it should be thoroughly studied.” Complying with Sun’s exhortation this course provides a composite introduction to the theory and practice of modern warfare based upon the precepts of Strategic Studies. It considers the complex relationship between politics and strategy, and the evolution of strategic thought, through focusing on the application of land/air/naval/space/cyber power. It also exposes questions of nuclear deterrence, revolutionary technologies, irregular warfare and terrorism. Through this course students will gain both conceptual and practical knowledge of warfare, and hone their critical and analytical faculties through the examination of complex strategic problems.
      Assessment: 100% coursework
    • POLI6036. Special topics in international relations (I): The politics of global inequality

      This class explores several questions surrounding the importance of income inequality. Why have some countries grown rich while others have not? Why are some societies more equal than others? Is wealth inequality the only type of inequality? Does inequality even matter? This class examines these questions by studying the political economy of growth and inequality. The main goal is to understand both the causes and the consequences of income inequality. To this end, this course will draw from a variety of theoretical perspectives including economics, political science, psychology, and sociology and provide the empirical evidence of the causes and consequences of inequality.
      Assessment: 100% coursework
    • POLI6037. Special topics in international relations (II)

      This course is designed to explore a selected area or a set of selected issues in international relations studies. The course applies different theoretical approaches to enhance students’ understanding of the changing international order and environment, the future prospects for international conflict and cooperation, international security, and current problems of world politics.
      Assessment: 100% coursework
    • POLI6038. Special topics in international political economy (I): World energy issues

      This course examines the interaction of global energy concerns with economic and geopolitical issues, with a focus on petroleum. Energy has been central to the formulation of national strategies, regional security dynamics, great power politics, and the macroeconomic stability. The class begins by providing an overview about oil in international security and political economy, and then examines the role of oil in geopolitics and economy in regions such as the Persian Gulf, Central Asia, and East Asia in more detail. The classes will involve in-depth discussions about many of current international issues including Russian relations with Ukraine, wars and conflicts in the Persian Gulf, the recent Iran nuclear deal, as well as China's growth and its diplomacy where the political economy of oil has been a major factor. The course also looks at other current energy issues such as the shale oil boom, the future of nuclear power, and the impact of energy on the environment.
      Assessment: 100% coursework
    • POLI6039. Special topics in international political economy (II): Political and sovereign risk assessment

      This is a graduate-level course that will assess political and sovereign risk models from an academic, governmental, and business perspective. The course will introduce both quantitative and qualitative models of political and sovereign risk analysis within the framework of theories of international political economy (IPE). The course will apply these models to the sovereign debt crisis of the 1980s, the Asian Financial Crisis of 1997, the Global Financial Crisis of 2008, and current issues within the global economic order. Students will learn how to analyze and present contemporary international risk assessments that integrate theoretical models, historical experience, and political exigencies.
      Assessment: 100% coursework
    • POLI6040. Special topics in Asia Pacific international relations (I)

      This course examines a set of selected topics in the study of Asia Pacific international relations. Different from POLI6007 International relations in the Asia-Pacific, this course focuses on special topics in the study of Asia-Pacific international relations, such as regional stability and cooperation, regional institutions and multilateralism, traditional and non-traditional security issues, regional conflict management and resolution, major powers’ foreign policy towards the region, and international relations in Northeast Asia or Southeast Asia.
      Assessment: 100% coursework
    • POLI6041. Special topics in Asia Pacific international relations (II)

      This course examines a set of selected topics in the study of Asia Pacific international relations. Different from POLI 6007 International relations in the Asia--Pacific, this course focuses on special topics in the study of Asia-Pacific international relations, such as regional stability and cooperation, regional institutions and multilateralism, traditional and non-traditional security issues, regional conflict management and resolution, major powers’ foreign policy towards the region, and international relations in Northeast Asia or Southeast Asia.
      Assessment: 100% coursework
    • POLI6042. Special topics in global and regional governance (I)

      This course examines current scholarly debates relating to the interdisciplinary study of global and regional governance in the context of globalization. The current wave of globalization has created opportunities and challenges for governance at both global and regional levels. This course introduces students to the study of a set of selected issues in global and/or regional governance. It examines competing perspectives on globalization, global governance, regionalization, and regional governance. It explores the sources and consequences of globalization and regionalization as well as the key actors, institutions, regimes, and norms of global and regional governance.
      Assessment: 100% coursework
    • POLI6043. Special topics in global and regional governance (II)

      This course examines current scholarly debates relating to the interdisciplinary study of global and regional governance in the context of globalization. The current wave of globalization has created opportunities and challenges for governance at both global and regional levels. This course introduces students to the study of a set of selected issues in global and/or regional governance. It examines competing perspectives on globalization, global governance, regionalization, and regional governance. It explores the sources and consequences of globalization and regionalization as well as the key actors, institutions, regimes, and norms of global and regional governance.
      Assessment: 100% coursework
    • POLI8004. Government and law

      This course examines the legal regulation of governmental powers at the constitutional and administrative levels. Topics include: the constitutional development of Hong Kong under ‘One Country Two Systems” and the Basic Law; principles of constitutional and legal interpretation; constitutional protection of human rights under the Basic Law and the Bill of Rights; the nature of judicial review of administrative actions; exercise of discretionary powers by administrative officials; principles of judicial review and their application in actual cases.
      Assessment: 50% coursework, 50% examination
    • POLI8005. Government and the economy

      The course surveys the objectives pursued by government in managing the economy, the means employed in pursuit of those objectives, and theories concerning government''s economic behaviour.
      Assessment: 50% coursework, 50% examination
    • POLI8014. NGOs and governance

      This course examines the relationships between and among the state, the market and civil society with particular reference to the work of those not-for-profit organizations and associations which are normally referred to as NGOs. It focuses on the legal-structural dimensions of NGOs and the ways in which they operate in the production, provision, ownership, regulation and facilitation of various goods and services.
      Assessment: 60% coursework, 40% examination
    • POLI8024. China’s governance in the reform era

      This course aims to analyze the key issues shaping the governance of China during the reform era. It will examine the institutional and policy challenges critical to China’s governance, such as leadership succession, civil service and administrative reforms, central-local relations, regional development, state-society relations, social inequality, globalization and the growing integration between Hong Kong and the Mainland.
      Assessment: 50% coursework, 50% examination

(III) Elective courses:

    • POLI6021. Overseas study at Peking University: “Current issues in China’s international relations”

      The course will explore the major foreign policy issues that are confronting China in recent years. These issues include China and globalization, China and regional security, China’s relations with US, China’s relations with Europe, China’s relations with Japan, and China and international environmental protection. It will be jointly taught by renowned Chinese international specialists based in Beijing as well as practitioners from relevant government agencies such as the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The course is equivalent to one MIPA course.
      Assessment: 100% coursework
    • POLI6023. Overseas study at Johns Hopkins University: SAIS programme (one course equivalent)

      The School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) summer program provides students from across the United States and abroad an opportunity to enrol in excellent courses taught in a condensed form. Courses offered include American foreign policy since World War II, global issues: drugs, crime and terrorism, principles and practices of conflict management, strategy and policy, international monetary theory, international trade theory. Students are required to take one SAIS course.
    • POLI6024. Overseas study at Johns Hopkins University: SAIS programme (two courses equivalent)

      The School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) summer program provides students from across the United States and abroad an opportunity to enrol in excellent courses taught in a condensed form. Courses offered include American foreign policy since World War II, global issues: drugs, crime and terrorism, principles and practices of conflict management, strategy and policy, international monetary theory, international trade theory. Students are required to take two SAIS courses.
    • POLI6030. Overseas study at George Washington University: U.S. foreign policy summer programme (one course equivalent)

      This two-week intensive course examines how U.S. foreign policy is made, the history that informs it, the political culture that sustains it, and the ideas and interests that drive it. Taking full advantage of its location in downtown Washington, DC, the programme features visits to key institutions that influence American foreign policy as well as lectures by leading scholars and experts from government, think tanks, international organizations, non-profit organizations, the media, and foreign embassies. More information is at www.gwu.edu/~usfpsp
    • POLI6034. Overseas study at Seoul National University: Seminar on area studies – East Asia in the modern world (one course equivalent)

      This course is intended to make students familiar with the contemporary issues related to the East Asian countries, ranging from trade disputes and soft powers to financial problems. Taking an historical approach and using key theoretical perspectives, students will learn how the East Asian region has been coping with policy challenges and how East Asian regional order has evolved into its current forms.

(IV) Other Elective courses:

Selected courses are offered by the following departments as electives of the MIPA programme subject to additional entry requirement: The Department of Law, the Journalism and Media Centre, the Department of Politics and Public Administration (Master of Public Administration Programme). The offering of these elective courses will be announced in appropriate timing before course enrolment. MIPA students may have to pay different fees for these elective courses.

Top