POLI 4350
International Law
3 Credit Hours

Course Information
Course Description: This course introduces the student to the basic legal concepts and principles governing state behavior in the international order, the nature and sources of international law, international agreements, sovereignty of states, and recognition of statehood, jurisdiction, immunities, and responsibility. Current events in the international system are also examined with an international law perspective.
Course Objectives: Upon completion of this course students should have completed the following learning goals: An understanding of the influences on the development of international law and their significance over time; knowledge on the evolution and structure of the international system; the ability to analyze international agreements and awareness on the development of international law; an awareness of the economic, political, social, and strategic implications of state sovereignty; and the development of an understanding of contemporary international events utilizing international law as a background.
Prerequisites and Corequisites: There are no prerequisites for this course. It would be beneficial if students had some background in international relations but this is not a requirement for enrolling in the class. Those students who have not taken any international relations classes should inform the instructor and will receive a short list of supplemental reading materials.
Course Topics: Below is a schedule of course topics and readings.
  1. What is International Law: Slomanson, Chapter 1
  2.  States in International Law: Slomanson, Chapter 2
  3.  International Organizations: Slomanson, Chapter 3
  4. Individuals and Corporations: Slomanson, Chapter 4
  5. Extraterritorial Jurisdiction: Slomanson, Chapter 5
  6. Sovereignty: Slomanson, Chapter 6
  7. Diplomacy and International Relations: Slomanson, Chapter 7
  8. Treaties and the Implications for International Relations: Slomanson, Chapter 8
  9. Arbitration and Adjudication: Slomanson, Chapter 9
  10. The Use of Force in International Relations: Slomanson, Chapter 10
  11. Human Rights: Slomanson, Chapter 11
  12. International Law: The Environment and International Political Economy: Slomanson, Chapters 12-13 
Specific Course Requirements: Students must have computer hardware and software which allows them to access the internet and the WebCT website. Students should complete the WebCT Browser Tune-Up to better assess their hardware capabilities. This can be found at www.webct.com/exchange/viewpage?name=exchange_browser_tuneup. Students must also be able to utilize either Word or WordPerfect software for their writing assignments. It would also be beneficial for students to be able to utilize PowerPoint to view some course materials. For further information on hardware and software requirements consult the Tennessee Board of Regents website. http://www.rodp.org/rodp_orientation
Textbooks, Supplementary Materials, Hardware and Software Requirements
Required Textbooks:

Please visit the Virtual Bookstore to obtain textbook information for this course:


Students should consult the textbook homepage for further elaboration on the chapters. 

Supplementary Materials: Additional articles may be assigned for specific topics.  Students should consult the course homepage frequently for updates on readings for specific topics.
Hardware Requirements: See RODP Minimum Requirements
Software Requirements: See RODP Minimum Requirements
Assessment and Grading
Testing Procedures: The midterm and final exam will consist of short answers and essays. These are in part drawn from the required readings. Some outside research will be required in particular the incorporation of case studies to answer the essay questions. Students are allowed to use their textbooks. Students will be given the exam two weeks before the due date. Failure to submit the exams by the due date will result in a reduction in grade. If assignments are more than a week late the assignment will be given a grade of "F" unless the student receives prior approval from the instructor. The exception to this is the final exam which must be submitted no later than 4/29. There will also be several quizzes given during the semester. These will be given on-line and students will have a limited period of time to take each quiz. A schedule of quizzes is on this syllabus. If there are any problems with scheduling please contact the instructor.
Writing Assignments and Discussion Questions:


    For the current events paper students should pick a contemporary issue in international law and follow it over the course of the semester. Examples would include ballistic missile proliferation, international aid and development, the Middle East Peace Process etc. and their impact on international law. Students should follow this issue during the course of the semester gathering 8-10 newspaper/magazine articles when they see them. Students can and should utilize on line versions of periodicals. Once the articles have been compiled students should write a 6-7 page paper discussing the articles, the connections between them, and the impact that this issue has/had on the formulation and interpretation of international law. Students should use endnotes and list their sources in a bibliography.

    There will be three essay assignments on issues of International Law. Essay papers should be 5-6 pages typed conforming to the format for writing assignments provided by the instructor. Topics and additional information will be provided by the instructor. The topics will be centered around the required readings with some outside research required. Topics will be provided at the beginning of the semester.

    The ground rules for all writing assignments are as follows. Student should utilize a recognized style format such as MLA or the Chicago Manual of Style. They should be done in a 12 point font, preferably in Arial. All papers must be submitted by the due date or students will receive a failing grade for the assignment. If students are experiencing problems with the assignment they should contact the instructor as soon as possible. Assignments should be done in Microsoft Word or WordPerfect. 

    Each week during the semester students are expected to participate in commenting on a discussion question pertaining to that week's readings. Students will contribute to the discussion asynchronously on-line in a timely manner once the issue has been posted. In order to participate in the discussion students will have to do the required readings. It is hoped that this will stimulate discussion between members of the class and the instructor. Each discussion question carries a value of up to 10 points depending on the quality of participation. Failure to participate in a meaningful way in the discussion will result in no points awarded for that question. 

    Each week there will be a weekly assignment pertaining to that week's readings. The assignment should be done by the following Monday and be a 1-2 page submission via email on the question asked. Students are encouraged to critically evaluate the issue and give examples to illustrate their points. Each weekly assignment is worth up to 10 points. Failure to submit the assignment by the due date will result in no points being awarded. 

Note: All due dates for major papers/exams, as well as weekly assignments, discussion postings, and quizzes are listed on the course calendar as well as on the assignment itself. If you are unsure about a due date or have a question about the assignment please contact the instructor as soon as possible before the assignment is due.

Grading Scale: In all of the assignments students are graded on their incorporation of factual information as well as they ability to interpret and draw logical conclusions on issues. Students should demonstrate that they have done the assigned readings and can interpret them utilizing both historical and contemporary examples to illustrate their points. Students should also try to challenge popular assumptions on the issues and be able to critique the assigned readings. Organization, grammar, and spelling will also be a factor in grading assignments.

Grading Scale:

A: 900-1000 points

B: 800-899 points

C: 700-799 points

D: 600-699 points

F: below 600 points

Assignments and Participation
Assignments and Projects: All assignments must be e-mailed no later than the date indicated on the course schedule, with regard to the quizzes the last day indicated. All assignments are due 11:55 PM U.S. Eastern Time on the dates indicated. Failure to hand in assignments on time will result in the assignment being downgraded. If assignments are more than a week late the assignment will be given a grade of "F" unless the student receives prior approval from the instructor. 

Quizzes (5) : These consist of matching, short answers, and multiple choice questions. Each should take between about 30 minutes and should be done over the course of the dates listed on the course calendar.

Exams (2) Exams consist of short answer and essays and will be made available two weeks prior to the due date.

Essay Assignments (3)

Current Events Paper:

Class Participation: Students are expected to consult with the instructor frequently during the semester.

Students must check the course homepage and discussion board frequently for announcements and course updates

Students must actively participate in threaded discussion events.

Students are expected to hand in all assignments on time. If there are any problems with meeting deadlines they must contact the instructor prior to the due date.

Students are expected to take quizzes in the time frame given.
Punctuality: While this course is delivered in an asynchronous environment and students can proceed at their own pace all deadlines must be adhered to. Therefore students should complete at least one module per week in order to keep from falling behind.
Course Ground Rules
Participation is required.

Communication with other students on discussion questions is expected.

Learn how to navigate in WebCT.

Keep abreast of course announcements.

Use the assigned college or university email address as opposed to a personal email address.

Address technical problems immediately.

Observe course netiquette at all times.
Guidelines for Communications
Email: Always include a subject line.

Be careful to observe netiquette in the wording of your e-mails.

Use standard fonts.

Do not send large attachments to the instructor or to other students without permission.

Special formatting such as centering, audio messages, tables, html, etc. should be avoided unless necessary to complete an assignment or other communication.

Respect the privacy of other class members.
Discussion Groups: It is very important to participate in the on line discussion questions. Check the course home page frequently.

Review the discussion threads thoroughly before entering the conversation. Be a reader, then a talker.

Try to maintain threads by using the "Reply" button rather starting a new topic.

Do not make insulting or inflammatory statements to other members of the discussion group. Be respectful of other's ideas.

Be positive and constructive in group discussions.

Respond in a thoughtful and timely manner.
Chat: N/A
Web Resources: Columbia Guide to Online Style by Janice R. Walker and Todd Taylor


The Tennessee Board of Regents Virtual Library is available to all students enrolled in the Regents Degree Program. Links to library materials (such as electronic journals, databases, interlibrary loans, digital reserves, dictionaries, encyclopedias, maps, and librarian support) and Internet resources needed by learners to complete online assignments and as background reading must be included in all courses. 

Students With Disabilities

Qualified students with disabilities will be provided reasonable and necessary academic accommodations if determined eligible by the appropriate disability services staff at their home institution. Prior to granting disability accommodations in this course, the instructor must receive written verification of a student's eligibility for specific accommodations from the disability services staff at the home institution. It is the student's responsibility to initiate contact with their home institution's disability services staff and to follow the established procedures for having the accommodation notice sent to the instructor.

Syllabus Changes

The instructor reserves the right to make changes as necessary to this syllabus. If changes are necessitated during the term of the course, the instructor will immediately notify students of such changes both by individual email communication and posting both notification and nature of change(s) on the course bulletin board.