Summer 2019 - IS 101 D100

Global Challenges of the 21st Century: An Introduction to International Studies (3)

Class Number: 5383

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    May 6 – Aug 2, 2019: Tue, 10:30 a.m.–12:20 p.m.

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Aug 10, 2019
    Sat, 12:00–3:00 p.m.



Introduces the interdisciplinary field of International Studies to all undergraduates and IS majors. Examines the major global challenges of our time, including poverty and inequality, environmental degradation, nationalism, civil war, and armed conflict. Explores the challenge of global governance and global citizenship. Breadth-Humanities/Social Sciences.


This course provides an introduction to International Studies, an interdisciplinary field focused on the global challenges of the 21st century. The course is structured around the three interrelated streams of the undergraduate major at SFU: 1) International Security and Conflict, which examines the causes and consequences of wars, both within and between states, and of the possible ways of resolving conflicts, and building peace and security. 2) Comparative World Politics, Culture and Society, which examines issues such as religion and politics, nationalism, and patterns of democratization and authoritarian rule around the world; and 3) International Development, Economic and Environmental Issues, which examines the problems of poverty and inequality, development strategies and policies, and issues around sustainable development.


The course introduces some of the questions, debates, and approaches for understanding and addressing important global challenges in each of the three streams. This course will be of general interest to students in all disciplines. It is also a gateway to the major in International Studies. It provides knowledge valuable for careers in: international development, international law, diplomacy, human rights, humanitarianism, journalism, and environmental sustainability. In addition to developing your knowledge of global affairs and your critical thinking skills, the course requirements are designed to help you develop the kind of practical writing skills needed to work in many jobs in government and nongovernmental organizations, as well as in a range of professions beyond academia.


  • Tutorial attendance and participation 15%
  • Midterm quiz 20%
  • Briefing paper 30%
  • Final Exam 35%


Students are required to complete all assigned readings, attend lecture, and participate actively in tutorials.  Final grades are based on the above mix of assignments.

Students will be required to submit their written assignments to in order to receive credit for the assignments and for the course.

The School for International Studies strictly enforces the University's policies regarding plagiarism and other forms of academic dishonesty. Information about these policies can be found at:



Scott Straus and Barry Driscoll, International Studies: Global Forces, Interactions, and Tensions (CQ Press, 2019). (Available at the SFU Bookstore; a hard copy is on short-term reserve at the library)

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University.