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Foreign Policy Analysis
Graduate Program (& Advanced Certificate) Status
Course Description

This course aims to familiarize students with contemporary debates over how foreign policy is made. In exploring how political leaders craft foreign policy and grand strategy, the course takes students on a tour through the foreign policy analysis (FPA) scholarship, which utilizes a variety of theoretical frameworks and research strategies. The course follows a traditional "levels of analysis" structure, beginning with the systemic or structural level, where we examine constraints on foreign-policy making such as balance of power considerations and alliance
structures. We also consider systemic sources of foreign policy, including transnational social networks, multi-national corporations, diasporas, epistemic communities, global norms, and the democratic peace. We then move to the state level to investigate the influence of domestic factors such as regime type, government veto players, bureaucratic and organizational politics, sub-state interest groups, public opinion and media, as well as cultural factors. Finally, we move to individual-level factors that influence foreign policy decision-making, including cognitive maps, leadership traits, psychological factors, perceptions, and beliefs.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • Distinguish the causal logics of competing theories of foreign policy
  • Explain foreign policy formation in concrete cases
  • Assess the relative explanatory value of competing theories using empirical analysis
  • Undertake foreign policy analysis using the tools of process-tracing
  • Identify the policy implications of competing theories of foreign policy
  • Develop, present and defend policy proposals and negotiate good outcomes

Policy Paper (30%)

Presentation (15%)

Final Exam (essay) (45%)

Class Participation (10%)



File attachments
syllabusfpa2023.pdf (270.25 KB)
Course Level
Academic Year
US Credits
ECTS Credits
Course Code
INTR 5109