The Specialized Program in International Law and Politics is a 12-week course offered exclusively at the Bader International Study Centre (BISC) that provides 9.0 units in Political Science.
These 9.0 units are combined into one course, POLS 398 Introduction to International Law and Politics, available in Winter 2018 and Winter 2019. View the program at a glance.
A Unique Undergraduate Program
The Specialized Program in International Law and Politics is specifically designed for upper-year undergraduate students (ideally in their third or fourth year), and offers foundational knowledge about the relationships between international politics and international law. It explores specific aspects of international law, including international criminal law and the law of armed conflict, examines the phenomenon of genocide and other forms of mass violence in historical and contemporary contexts, and situates the central statutes, customs, and institutions of international law within the broader context of global governance.
This unique team-taught program is divided into three modules and offers three three-hour classes each week.
- Module 1 - International Law and Politics (weeks 1 to 4);
- Module 2 - Genocide, Crimes against Humanity and War Crimes (weeks 5-8);
- Module 3 - The Law and Politics of Armed Conflict (weeks 9-12).
In Week 7, students take part in an exclusive seven-day journey (included in your fees) through key sites of interest in the field of international criminal law located in Continental Europe. See the section below, “An Exclusive Midterm Trip”, for more details.
A Focused International Experience
Whether you are considering a career in politics, international relations, journalism, global development, human rights or plan to pursue further education in law or graduate school, you will be differentiating yourself from your peers when you enroll in the Specialized Program in International Law and Politics. This program will allow you to acquire a combination of knowledge, analytical skills, and international experience – all sought-after assets for a variety of potential employers – that are simply not available in more traditional learning environments.
An Exceptional Learning Environment
Your learning will take place in a small-class seminar environment with fewer than 25 students. In fact, the average upper-year class size is 10 students. This means that your faculty will work with you closely to ensure that you are getting the most from your experience, whether delving deep into a topic of interest or spending extra time on a challenging concept.
You will begin your program by studying the key norms and players in international law and the role of law in limiting the use of force, governing environmental politics and trade, as well as in structuring international governance bodies. With this legal foundation, you will be ready to explore the field of comparative genocide studies and international criminal law, and to address more complex legal concepts in the areas of genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and the law of armed conflict.
Numerous historical and contemporary case studies will be used to illustrate the core course content and provide you with the basis for more robust discussion about complex legal and political topics. Case studies analyzed include Armenia, Cambodia, Myanmar, Syria, Iraq, Former Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Nazi Germany, USSR as well as the role of International Tribunals and the International Court of Justice.
An Exclusive Midterm Trip
Experiential Learning is a central tenet of the BISC's educational environment. It means that learning is expanded beyond traditional methods and includes opportunities for you to see how the content of your courses apply in practical settings and outside the classroom.
An exclusive midterm trip is planned for students enrolled in the Specialized Program in International Law and Politics to allow you to explore important institutions in the historical development of international criminal law. Formal and informal seminars will be conducted at each of the sites visited.
You will fly from London to Berlin where you will discover the Typography of Terror Exhibit, Sachsenhausen Concentration camp and the Jewish Museum, spending two nights with the Castle's full upper year cohort. From Berlin you will travel to Krakow, Poland, where you will experience the haunting Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camps operated by Nazi Germany. Next you will travel to Nuremberg where you will explore the Nazi Documentation Center and Nuremberg Trial Museum before flying back to London and returning to the BISC.
"Physically standing in the space meant that any distance between the topic of study and the present day instantly disappeared.”
Ryan, POLS 398 Student, February 2016
Please note that Midterm Trip itinerary may be subject to change, though we always work to provide the most robust learning and travel experience for students.
A Transformative Student Experience
A 21st-Century Learning Experience in a 15th-Century Castle
The BISC is located at Herstmonceux Castle, a 15th-century castle complete with moat, formal gardens, and a few ghost stories that pay tribute to the Castle’s former owners. The Castle is the oldest brick building of note in England.
A collegiate atmosphere defines the BISC's campus. Our campus houses up to 175 students. In this close-knit community, you will study alongside students in a variety of Arts and Science disciplines and Commerce. There are plenty of opportunities to become involved in campus clubs, participate in networking events, and enjoy guest lectures from a variety of engaging speakers. Campus services including a library, gym, and student resources are located onsite.
Upon acceptance to the Specialized Program in International Law and Politics, students will be enrolled in POLS 398/9.0 Introduction to International Law and Politics.
POLS 398 requirement: 12 units in POLS at the 200 level or above and a GPA of 2.0 on all units in POLS, or permission of the Program’s Director.
You will choose 6.0 units (generally two courses) of electives from our wide range of upper-level course offerings (Winter 2018 and Winter 2019). You may choose courses that complement your law and politics learning or further expand your perspectives in other areas.
Fits with your Academic Plan
Queen’s students may study at the Castle without a letter of permission and courses appear directly on your Queen’s transcript. For students whose academic plans involve Political Studies (majors, medials, and minors), you will be able to satisfy 9.0 credit units of your required 300-level POLS credits, plus 6.0 credit units from a range of other disciplines.
For students from universities other than Queen’s, your university will provide a Letter of Permission to confirm your academic standing and to recognize the courses. Please speak with your campus’ study abroad department for more information.
Engaging Expert Faculty
Phillip Drew CD, BA, JD, LL.M, Dr. iur.
Program Founder and First Director
Phillip Drew is currently Associate Professor at Australian National University College of Law, and since 2013 a Qualified Expert for the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, and a Senior Consultant for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
Visiting Professor, Module 1 – International Law and Politics
Andrew Murdoch is a Legal Director at the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). Before then he was a Legal Counsellor and Head of the FCO’s International Institutions and Security Policy team responsible for work including sanctions, security policy, United Nations and International Organisations, and maritime.
Visiting Professor, Module 2 – Genocide, Crimes against Humanity and War Crimes
Sonia Dussault is a polemologist and pedagogical expert with more than twenty years of teaching experience. She has been part of BISC’s Specialized Program of International Law and Politics teaching team since its creation.
Warren John Fensom, CD, J.D., BA
Visiting Professor, Module 3 – The Law and Politics or Armed Conflict
Warren Fensom currently works for the United Nations of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) as a Maritime Crimes Advisor to the Federal Ministry of Justice of Nigeria in Abuja.
Applications are now being accepted for next year.