Fall 2022 - IS 800 G100

Problems of International Policy and Practice (4)

Class Number: 5141

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Sep 7 – Dec 6, 2022: Thu, 9:30 a.m.–12:20 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    Graduate students enrolled in the MA in International Studies, or permission of the instructor.



An inter-disciplinary course which aims to bring to bear different perspectives on problems of International policy and practice. The particular problems taken up will change over time in light of global developments and current events.


This course is designed to focus on the skills and applications of research and writing that are relevant beyond academia, and which IS students will likely encounter across governmental, nongovernmental, and private sectors. Much of this work involves researching, over a relatively short period of time, what has been written about a specific topic or problem and organizing key arguments about it, often going so far as to think through and develop arguments in favour of a particular course of action. This kind of work requires clarity of purpose, the capacity to identify and synthesize key ideas, and economical and authoritative writing.

Students will develop a diverse set of research and writing skills through four assignments. These assignments are of the type that students of International Studies may expect to be asked to take up in their professional careers. Two of the assignments will address assigned topics and questions, while two of the assignments provide opportunities for students to begin pursuing their own research and professional interests.

There are no assigned readings. Recommendations for initial readings and other resources will be provided during the lectures. Students will be expected, with guidance, to identify relevant research sources, and to draw extensively on web-based materials, including ‘grey literature’ (e.g. the literature produced by international organizations, research institutions, policy think-tanks, etc.) and, when relevant, news media.

This course incorporates MAIS professional development components.


In completing this course, students will refine their ability to research, structure, and write various different kinds of written deliverables: essays, policy paper, opinion pieces, and literature reviews.


  • Literature Review (between 3500 and 4000 words) 25%
  • Op-Ed Essay suitable for publication in a major newspaper (maximum 1000 words) 25%
  • Policy Paper (maximum 2000 words) 25%
  • Practitioner Interview report and presentation (maximum 1,200 words, and 12 minute oral presentation) 25%


Students will be required to submit their written assignments to Turnitin.com 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: http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/teaching.html.



Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at: shop.sfu.ca/course-materials/my-personalized-course-materials.

Graduate Studies Notes:

Important dates and deadlines for graduate students are found here: http://www.sfu.ca/dean-gradstudies/current/important_dates/guidelines.html. The deadline to drop a course with a 100% refund is the end of week 2. The deadline to drop with no notation on your transcript is the end of week 3.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html 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. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html