UPCES International Relations Courses

Here you'll find the full list of UPCES courses related to International Relations. Please note that course offerings are subject to change or cancelation based on faculty availability and student enrollment. All course subjects must be approved by your home institution for departmental credit.

Each course includes a detailed description, any cross-listed subjects, and a downloadable syllabus.

Meet the Europeans: Politics and Society in The European Union
(originally: European Integration: Politics of Belonging in Europe)


Who are the Europeans and how did they create the European Union, a unique partnership of 27 states and an ever more important international actor? This course covers the main political, social and economic developments in Europe since the middle of the 20th century until the present day. We will study promises and achievements of European integration, including peace, democracy, economic prosperity and protection of human rights. Gender, migration and environment will be important cross-cutting themes. Our journey will start in 1945, when the post-WW2 destruction recasted debates about independence and interdependence of states and people. We will discuss how East and West Europeans, separated until 1989 by an almost impermeable Iron Curtain, created supranational institutions, of which those that emerged in the West proved more viable. The 1989 opened a new chapter in European politics. Demise of authoritarian structures in the East paved way towards deeper integration with the West and brought fascinating debates about catching up, belonging (identity) and possible futures. Our journey will take us through post-socialist transformations all the way to the themes shaping the most recent decade, including presence of women in public life, environmental degradation and new questions opened by refugee crises.  The course covers current events in European politics and EU’s role in the world and offers analytical lenses for thinking about them in historical perspective. Current affairs sections pay particular attention to gender, migration, climate change, as well as changing patterns of work and economic inequalities. Course reader consists of interdisciplinary literature in European Studies, including IR, Political Theory, Economics, History and Anthropology. After taking the course students should have an advanced understanding of key ideas and interests shaping European integration and the many ways in which Europeans and their neighbors negotiate their belonging and identity.  Classes are interactive, students are expected to be familiar with required reading and encouraged to critically engaged with the studied material.

European-American Relations in the 21st Century


This course explores the history and the current state of political, economic and cultural relations between the United States and Europe. Ever since the end of World War II, the cooperative relationship between these two parts of the world, often described as "the West“, has been a bedrock of international stability, security and prosperity. After the end of the Cold War, this relationship has undergone changes, along with the whole system of international relations. Recently, on both sides of the Atlantic, the talk has been about a crisis of the Euro-American relationship. We will examine the validity of these claims, the causes of the current problems and possible ways of overcoming them. Throughout, we will emphasize the overwhelming nature of common values and interests on both sides of the ocean as well as the risks stemming from a potential rift for both Europe and America. We will examine the compatibility of current European and U.S. policies with respect to third countries or regions, such as Russia, China and the Middle East. We will also analyze the specific role played in this relationship by countries of Central and Eastern Europe as relative newcomers to democracy, to the Atlantic Alliance and to European Union.

Human Rights in Central and Eastern Europe


The course aims to provide an interdisciplinary understanding of the international human rights framework in Central and Eastern Europe, where the human rights system mirrors the historical developments of the countries within the globalizing world. This course invites students from all disciplines to explore and make sense of the current human rights issues, cases and problems in the region. By the end of the course students will be familiar with the core principles of human rights and have a sound understanding of the issues and recurring themes of human rights violations in the region. Rather than offering simple answers, the aim of the course is to allow for critical thinking and discussions. This course offers an immersion into the human rights system not only through the academic prism but also through active engagement with human rights practitioners and activists.