POL 309-800, International Law
SUNY Oswego | Fall 2020
Dr. Craig Warkentin

"International law" refers to the rules and principles that collectively bind international actors in their relations with one another. POL 309 surveys the nature and purposes of international law; explores some of its central problems and political consequences; and covers a range of topics including treaties, international courts, jurisdiction, immunities, the law of the sea, human rights, the environment, and the use of force.

You'll be held accountable for all the information contained in this syllabus and attendant pages on this class website. I may modify the syllabus as the semester progresses, but I'll consult you before making any changes that could affect your grade and let you know about any notable revisions.


If you properly invest yourself in the course, by the end of the semester you should be able to:

Of course, we can only achieve such goals if we create a class environment conducive to learning. We'll discuss relevant issues at the start of the semester, then revisit them if needed as the semester progresses. Regardless of the particulars, you should make sure you're familiar with SUNY Oswego's non-discrimination policy.


I expect you to attend class meetings, participate actively in discussions, and make any needed arrangements if you're absent. Keep in mind that participation is one of your "graded assignments" for this course, that you can't participate if you don't attend class, and that you'll be held responsible for whatever happens in class (whether or not you attend).


Two books are required for this class:


Complete assigned reading before class on the indicated dates.


Your course grade will be determined by the number of points you accrue during the semester:

470-500 = A
450-469 = A-

435-449 = B+
420-434 = B
400-419 = B-

385-399 = C+
370-384 = C
350-369 = C-

335-349 = D+
320-334 = D
300-319 = D-

0-299 = E

To receive a grade of A or A- on an assignment, the quality of your work must be outstanding. Broadly speaking, outstanding ("A-range") assignments are demonstrably more well informed, thoughtfully considered, analytically sophisticated, and clearly presented than above average ("B-range") or average ("C-range") content. In the case of written assignments, outstanding work should contain no more than a handful of honest writing mistakes and meet relevant structural requirements (including fully proper citation formatting).

Evaluation standards for certain assignments may be less rigorous than this, in which case I'll let you know (and explain my rationale) before the assignment is due.

If your native language isn't English and you're concerned about meeting these standards, just let me know and we'll find a way to accommodate your circumstances.


Graded assignments and point values for POL 309 haven't yet been determined. Descriptions, requirements, and expectations for each assignment will be posted on the assignments page when available.

I'll be glad to read, discuss, or provide feedback on any assignment—before it's submitted or after it's graded. Simply contact me to schedule an appointment and make the necessary arrangements.


Written assignments must be typewritten and double-spaced (throughout), use a single standard font with 1-1.25" margins, and include a (typewritten) word count. Also required are parenthetical citations and a reference list, formatted in author-date style as detailed in Chs. 18-19 of Turabian's Manual for Writers. Unless otherwise stated, written assignments that don't include parenthetical citations and a reference list will receive a grade of zero.

Formatting standards for certain assignments may be less rigorous, in which case I'll let you know (and explain my rationale) before the assignment is due.


SUNY Oswego is committed to Intellectual Integrity. Any form of intellectual dishonesty is a serious concern and therefore prohibited. As a student here, you're expected to fully adhere to the College Policy on Intellectual Integrity, according to which you're personally responsible "to assist in protecting the integrity of the degrees which this College grants by (1) not participating, either directly or indirectly, in intellectual dishonesty in any form, (2) actively discouraging intellectual dishonesty by others, and (3) reporting to the course instructor in a timely manner any known incidents of intellectual dishonesty."

By submitting your first course assignment for grading, you formally acknowledge that you fully understand the college policy including relevant definitions, consequences, and procedures. If you cheat, plagiarize, or otherwise engage in proscribed behavior, I may take any punitive action allowed by the university. Incidents will be addressed on a case-by-case basis, but you should expect to receive a failing grade in POL 309 for any infraction.


SUNY Oswego is committed to enhancing the safety and security of the campus for all its members. In Tools of this, faculty may be required to report their knowledge of certain crimes or harassment. Reportable incidents include harassment on the basis of sex or gender prohibited by Title IX and crimes covered by the Clery Act. For more information about Title IX protections, go to or contact the Title IX Coordinator, 405 Culkin Hall, 315-312-5604, For more information about the Clery Act and campus reporting, go to the University Police annual report:


I'll assume you're doing as well as you'd like to in this class unless you tell me otherwise. If you need some extra help, just let me know and I'll do my best to assist you; I'll be glad to discuss with you any course-related questions or concerns you might have. You can catch me during my online office hours (below), schedule an appointment, or contact me via email.

My contact information and scheduled office hours are:

If you have a disabling condition that could interfere with your ability to successfully complete this class, please contact the Office of Accessibility Resources (155 Marano Campus Center, 315.312.3358,

Please let me know, as well, if you have technology issues that could hamper your ability to complete assignments or fully participate in this class.