U.S. Foreign Policy

Course Number: PS 220
Transcript Title: U.S. Foreign Policy
Created: September 1, 2012
Updated: August 15, 2019
Total Credits: 4
Lecture Hours: 40
Lecture / Lab Hours: 0
Lab Hours: 0
Satisfies Cultural Literacy requirement: No
Satisfies General Education requirement: Yes
Grading options: A-F (default), P-NP, audit
Repeats available for credit: 0


MTH 20 or equivalent placement test scores. Prerequisite/concurrent: WR 121.

Course Description

Covers historical analytical treatment of select foreign policy themes. Examines the United States' attempt to create world order through use of economic, military and diplomatic power, the roles of democratic institutions and decision-making elites in creating foreign policy, and the interdependent basis of the contemporary international system. Prerequisites: MTH 20 or equivalent placement test scores. Prerequisite/concurrent: WR 121.Audit available.

Intended Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Recognizeand evaluate the major theories of American foreign policy.
  2. Describe the history of American foreign relations and the foreign policy process and players in the American system.
  3. Think and writecritically about the role of the United States in the world today.
  4. Analyze the strategic interests of the United States in different regions of the world.
  5. Develop and articulate personal value judgments, respecting points of view, while practicing ethical and social requirements of responsible global citizenship by participating in opportunities to shape U.S. foreign policy decisions.
  6. Evaluate major foreign policy made by US policy makers.

Alignment with Institutional Core Learning Outcomes

Major 1. Communicate effectively using appropriate reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills. (Communication)


2. Creatively solve problems by using relevant methods of research, personal reflection, reasoning, and evaluation of information. (Critical thinking and Problem-Solving)

Not addressed

3. Extract, interpret, evaluate, communicate, and apply quantitative information and methods to solve problems, evaluate claims, and support decisions in their academic, professional and private lives. (Quantitative Literacy)


4. Use an understanding of cultural differences to constructively address issues that arise in the workplace and community. (Cultural Awareness)


5. Recognize the consequences of human activity upon our social and natural world. (Community and Environmental Responsibility)

To establish an intentional learning environment, Core Learning Outcomes (CLOs) require a clear definition of instructional strategies, evidence of recurrent instruction, and employment of several assessment modes.

Major Designation

  1. The outcome is addressed recurrently in the curriculum, regularly enough to establish a thorough understanding.
  2. Students can demonstrate and are assessed on a thorough understanding of the outcome.
    • The course includes at least one assignment that can be assessed by applying the appropriate CLO rubric.

Minor Designation

  1. The outcome is addressed adequately in the curriculum, establishing fundamental understanding.
  2. Students can demonstrate and are assessed on a fundamental understanding of the outcome.
    • The course includes at least one assignment that can be assessed by applying the appropriate CLO rubric.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

Tests, research papers, discussion, quizzes, homework, group projects, and other forms of assessment all may be used for this course at the instructor's discretion

Course Activities and Design

The determination of teaching strategies used in the delivery of outcomes is generally left to the discretion of the instructor. Here are some strategies that you might consider when designing your course: lecture, small group/forum discussion, flipped classroom, dyads, oral presentation, role play, simulation scenarios, group projects, service learning projects, hands-on lab, peer review/workshops, cooperative learning (jigsaw, fishbowl), inquiry based instruction, differentiated instruction (learning centers), graphic organizers, etc.

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

  • The political culture of the US and how it affects US foreign policy decisions.
  • Competing theories of foreign policy, including idealism, realism, and others.
  • The role and powers of the President and Congress in the foreign policy making process.
  • The role of non-governmental organizations in policy-making process.
  • The influences of public opinion on foreign policy.
  • The politics of foreign economic policy, including the use of trade, aid and monetary policy as tools in applying foreign policies.
  • The instruments of violence, coercion, covert activity and diplomacy as tools in carrying out US foreign interests.

Students should develop the following skills:

  • Support generalizations/arguments with examples or evidence.
  • Accurately articulate ideas in written and oral presentation.
  • Articulate original applications and synthesis of academic theories/frameworks, supporting them by citing valid sources.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of political system in written and oral work.
  • Critique own assumptions and those of others, validating them with substantial thinking and application of appropriate arguments.
  • Use of standard research techniques and acceptable formats in written work and oral presentations.