Assignments & Grading for Spring 2013


Coursework will be weighted as follows:
1. Classroom Engagement, including Blog Posts (15 pts)
2. Midterm (25 pts)
3. Final Exam (30 pts)
4. Research Paper (30 pts)
Total: 100 pts

The Grading Scale
I will be using the following grading scale in this course:

98-100 A+
94-97 A
90-93 A-
87-89 B+
84-86 B
80-83 B-
77-79 C+
74-76 C
70 – 73 C-
69/below D
59/below F

Note on Late Assignments:
Late assignments will be graded down 5 points for each day late, to a maximum of 50% off the credit for the assignment. No matter how late an assignment is, it will always be worth submitting (you can always get up to 50% credit).

1. Classroom Engagement: Participation, Attendance, Blog (15%)

This course requires not only attendance but also active participation. This entails doing the readings before class, thinking critically about them and the topics we are discussing. Active participation can significantly help your grade in the course, non-participation can significantly lower your grade, and non-attendance WILL significantly lower your grade.

Attendance and active participation

  • You must attend class. Think of it as if you are a pilot learning to fly. You have to put in a number of hours in the cockpit to qualify.
  • You must be active in class. This can take a variety of forms, including: speaking in class, asking questions, emailing me questions, and participating on the course blog.
  • You can miss two classes without any serious consequence. If you miss more than 5 classes you will receive no credit for classroom engagement.
  • You must visit my office hours at least once during the term.

Course Blog Reading Reactions

You are responsible for 5 blog posts over the course of the term.

Each blog post should contain a reaction to one or more of the assigned readings.  There is no minimum or maximum for the length of the post.  It can be very short (a sentence or two, a poignant question raised from the material) as long as it demonstrates that you did more than skim the introduction.  These are merely graded on whether you made a meaningful attempt to blog (credit) or did not (no credit). There is no extra credit for writing extensively long posts.  I do not want this to become a burden!

These posts must be entered PRIOR to the class for that day’s readings.

You may want to see this as an opportunity to prep for the exams and stay on top of the extensive material.

I also encourage you to read the blog prior to class, as it may have information that is useful for that day’s lecture and discussion.

You may post extra blog posts (but the quality should be high) for extra participation credit.

2. Midterm Exam (25%)

February 28th, in-class.

Open book. Open note. No computer.

3. Final Exam (30%)

Day/Time: May 15, Wednesday, 2 – 5 pm

Closed Book. Study Guide Provided.

4. Paper (30%)

Your  paper grade includes performance on the following assignments:

  • Paper Proposal
  • Paper Rough Draft
  • Paper Peer Review
  • Paper Final Draft

Paper Proposal

You will prepare a one-page description of your proposed research question.  The question should be substantively interesting and relevant.  Moreover, it should be a question that can be answered using evidence, given the time and resource constraints of the course.  You should be prepared to discuss your question during the class session.

1. Length: 300 words (include word count)
2. Include the following information:

  • State the main question you plan to answer. State it as a question!
  • Briefly explain why it is important.
  • Suggest possible answers to your question.
  • List 2 sources you might use

3. Submit to professor using “dropitTome”:  (I will provide the upload password in class).
4. Due Tuesday, February 12 @ class time

Paper Rough Draft & Peer Review

1. Submit to the professor one copy using
2. Bring 1 copy to class for peer editing.
3. Should be about 75% complete.
4. Due April 2.

Paper Final Draft

1. Submit to
2. Due April 22.
3. Length: 4500 words (include word count on the last page), not including bibliography

In writing the paper, you must do the following things:

  • Your research question must be either the title or the first sentence of the paper.
  • Clearly articulate your answer to the question. These are argumentative papers.
  • Explain the significance of the question.
  • Support your answer.
  • Evaluate alternative answers.
  • Use at least 8 outside sources (see note on sources below)
  • Use at least 1 source from class readings.
  • Use concepts from the course. For example: norms, terra nullius, natural law…
  • Include a bibliography (Does not count as part of your word count.)


I strongly encourage you to use at least one of each of the following sources:
1.    Books
2.    Academic Journals (articles from political science or public policy journals are likely to be most relevant)
3.    Law Review Article
4.    Newspapers (it is suggested that you stick to major national papers such as the New York Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal) or Magazines (again, use major magazines, such as Newsweek or The Economist)
5.    Primary sources:  Government documents, for instance.

Don’t rely on Wikipedia.

If you have a question about a source, just ask!

How to cite your sources:
Citations should be short-format footnotes. The guidelines I want you to follow are those used by the journal International Organization. They can be found here: Articles from that journal are useful examples.