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LSTD306 - International Law

Course Details

Course Code: LSTD306 Course ID: 3747 Credit Hours: 3 Level: Undergraduate

This course introduces students to the nature, development, principles, and processes of the law that applies among nations. Students will evaluate the various implications of state sovereignty as viewed through the prism of public international law. Specific topics include the sources of international law such as custom and treaty, the role of international organizations such as the United Nations, the bases of international jurisdiction, and international norms governing recognition, nationality, the global environment, protection of human rights, and the use of force. This course introduces the student to the basic principles and practices of international law and legal regimes and examines traditional and emerging topics in the field: human rights, the Law of the Sea, the Law of Armed Conflict, War Crime Tribunals, and the International Criminal Court.

Course Schedule

Registration Dates Course Dates Session Weeks
01/27/20 - 07/03/20 07/06/20 - 08/30/20 Summer 2020 Session B 8 Week session

Current Syllabi

Upon successfully completing this course, students will be able meet the following learning objectives:

  • Describe the nature, development, and sources of international law
  • Evaluate the legal, economic, political, social, and strategic implications of state sovereignty
  • Recognize the meaning and significance of nationality
  • Apply the principles of international jurisdiction in a variety of factual contexts
  • Identify the legal principles of maritime jurisdiction, boundaries, and navigational regimes.
  • Explain the legal principles governing the resort to armed force and the conduct of states and individuals during armed conflict
  • Summarize the role and limitations of international law in protecting the global environment
  • Articulate the significance of the emergence of the individual as a subject of international law
  • Critique the development of the concept of international criminal responsibility
  • Analyze contemporary global events utilizing international law as a background

The grading will be based on seven graded forum assignments, a research paper, as well as an open book midterm and final examination.

1. Assignments & Forum Participation: There will be various forums and a research assignment during the course. They are selected to provide the student with hands on experience in applying the law and theories being discussed.

Questions and topics posed in the Forums are designed to promote thought and insight. Students must provide a critical review of the questions, topics and issues posed and substantively reply to the contributions of at least three peers. Individual postings should include a full discussion of the content of the question posed and explain how it relates to the concepts in the weekly text readings and other resources. The postings should be analytic in nature and include comparisons/contrasts, and examples that can bolster your point. The Forum is for your benefit and it is important to respond to the discussion topic and to engage others in a running dialogue.

Your initial post should be made by Thursday each week. You should then respond to 3 or more posts. Note that at least one response to your classmates must be made before Sunday. If you make all of your responsive posts on Sunday, you will not earn full points for timeliness.

This can be accomplished by

· Validating with additional evidence from the literature.

· Posing a thoughtful question with commentary which generates further discussion.

· Providing an alternative point-of-view, with evidence and examples.

· Offering additional insight into how the concept might be understood, with evidence provided with real world examples.

You should be active in the classroom throughout the week and actively engaged in the back-and-forth discussion between your colleagues and the professor.

The forum grading rubric can be found in gradebook by clicking on the forum entry.

Please see the Forums tab and Assignments tab for more information.

2. Exams: The midterm and final exams will be taken open book. The exams will be posted in the electronic classroom under "Tests and Quizzes” during the week in which they are due. These examinations will cover selected sections of the textbook and assigned reading. They will consist of True/False, multiple choice, fill in the blank, and essays.

3. Grades: See Syllabus link in the classroom. Under “APUS Policies,” click on “Grading Policy” for detailed information.


Thomas Buergenthal and Sean D. Murphy, Public International Law In a Nutshell (5th ed. 2013).

All assigned chapter readings in the textbook may be found within the Lessons tab of the classroom or via the above link for free. You may also purchase the textbook at your own expense via multiple book sellers.

Recommended Reading for Week 1:

Harlan Grant Cohen, Finding International Law: Rethinking the Doctrine of Sources, 93 Iowa L. Rev. 65 (2007-2008).

  • Available in Nexis Uni in the APUS Library.

Harold Hongju Koh, Why Do Nations Obey International Law? (1997).

  • Available at the above link.

Recommended Reading for Week 2:

Robert Weston Ash, Is Palestine A "State"? A Response to Professor John Quigley's Article, "The Palestine Declaration To The International Criminal Court: The Statehood Issue," 36 Rutgers L. Rec. 186 (2009).

  • Available in Nexis Uni in the APUS Library.
  • You will find this of value when writing your Week 2 forum post.

Recommended Reading for Week 3:

Frederic L. Kurgis, Enforcing International Law (1996), available at:

  • Available at the above link.

Recommended Reading for Week 4:

A Summary of United Nations Agreements on Human Rights, available at:

  • Available at the above link.

United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner, International Human Rights Law, available at:

  • Available at the above link.

Recommended Reading for Week 5:

John G. McCarthy, The Passive Personality Principle and Its Use in Combatting International Terrorism, 13 Fordham Int’l. L. J. 298 (1989).

  • Available in Nexis Uni in the APUS Library and at the above link.

Recommended Reading for Week 6:

Mark Weston Janis, The Interpretation of International Maritime Conventions in United States Law (1990).

  • Available at the above link.

Recommended Reading for Week 7:

Joseph DiMento, International Environmental Law: A Global Assessment, 33 ELR 10387 (2003).

  • Available in Nexis Uni in the APUS Library.

Recommended Reading for Week 8:

Muna Ndulo, International Law and the Use of Force: America’s Response to September 11, Cornell Law Faculty Publications, Paper 56 (2002).

  • Available in Nexis Uni in the APUS Library and at the above link.

Beth Van Schaack, The Killing of Osama Bin Laden & Anwar Al-Aulaqi: Uncharted Legal Territory (2012).

  • Available at the above link.

Additional Resources: The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation (Columbia Law Review Ass'n et. al. eds., 20th ed. 2015). You may access it for free at

This may also be purchased at your own expense in hard copy or online at: It is a recommended resource, but not required.

Web Sites: In addition to the required course texts, the following public domain web sites are useful. Please abide by the university’s academic honesty policy when using Internet sources as well. Note web site addresses are subject to change.

Site Name

Web Site URL/Address

United Nations

Electronic Information System for International Law

U.S. Department of State

American Society of International Law

European Union

North Atlantic Treaty Organization

International Court of Justice

International Criminal Court

International Monetary Fund

World Bank

Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

Book Title:Public International Law in a Nutshell, 5th ed. - e-book available in the APUS Online Library; Please visit to locate the course eReserve.
Publication Info:West Academic
Author:Buergenthal, Thomas
Unit Cost:$35.12
Book Title:Bluebook: Uniform System of Citation, 20th ed. - - e-book available online, please visit to locate the course eReserve.
Publication Info:Harvard, Columbia Law Review
Author:Harvard, Columbia Law Review
Unit Cost:$41.30

Previous Syllabi

Not current for future courses.