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The Major

The International Security and Conflict Resolution (ISCOR) major at San Diego State University is an innovative, interdisciplinary program designed to provide students with a sophisticated understanding of the political, moral, socio-economic, and cultural dimensions of challenges to global and human security. ISCOR exposes students to a multiplicity of ideological, regional, and cultural perspectives. During the course of their studies, students will attain a comprehensive and multifaceted understanding of global affairs and the many challenges to building a more peaceful, just and ecologically sustainable global order. In addition, ISCOR students will develop a rich appreciation of both increased global interconnections and enduring diversity in cultural practices, political systems, and economic systems. Overall, students will sharpen their skills in research and critical reasoning and get set on the path of developing expertise on specific global issues. Upon graduation, ISCOR students tend to be well positioned for more advanced studies or for embarking upon careers in positions related to global affairs.

The ISCOR program features three areas of emphasis: (1) Justice in the Global System; (2) Cooperation, Conflict, and Conflict Resolution; and (3) Environment and Security. To complete the program, students must take courses listed below under preparation for the major and the major requirements, as well as fulfill the requirements under foreign language and study abroad. To graduate, students must complete a thesis, an internship, or a 500-level class pre-approved by the ISCOR director or adviser.


Dr. Allen Greb
Office: SH-223B
Phone: (619) 594-3768
Email: [email protected]


Dr. Latha Varadajaran
Office: NH 124
Phone: (619) 594-3255
Email:[email protected]

Preparation for the Major (27 units)

All ISCOR majors are required to take a series of undergraduate courses as a part of their general education curriculum in order to prepare them to take upper-division ISCOR classes. Some courses are mandatory, others are recommended. There are 27 pre-major units total. All ISCOR majors must meet their pre-major requirements in order to graduate. A majority of these units are attained through taking the six mandatory courses. Students can choose an additional three courses from three clusters outlined below.

Students must take the following classes (18 units):

ISCOR 200: International Security and Conflict Resolution
Comprehensive picture of multidisciplinary international security and conflict resolution (ISCOR) program.

Economics 101: Principles of Economics
Principles of economic analysis in the areas of national income analysis, money and banking, business cycles, and economic stabilization.

Economics 102: Principles of Economics
Principles of economic analysis with emphasis on direction of production, allocation of resources, and distribution of income.

History 101: World History
Modern history from a global perspective, 1500 to present.

Political Science 103: Introduction to Comparative Politics
Examination of problems of decision-making and control in various political systems, emphasizing political action in cultural contexts.

Religious Studies 101: World Religions
Broad historical development and philosophical overview of major world and selected tribal traditions from primal times to present.

Students must take a total of 9 units by selecting one 3-unit course from each group (A-C)

GROUP A (one of the following):

Anthropology 102: Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
Studies the relationship to the environment, preliterate society, systems of social organization, politics, economics, religion, and language.


Geography 102: Principles of Cultural Geography
Studies elements of culture such as language, political organization, settlement patterns and population, and more.


GROUP B (one of the following):

Comparative Literature 270B: World Literature
Study of major works from various cultures, with emphasis on the way literature deals with enduring human problems and values.


History 100: World History
Growth of civilizations and interrelationships of peoples of Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas to 1500.


Philosophy 101: Introduction to Philosophy
Values: Intro to philosophical inquiry with an emphasis on problems of value.


GROUP C (one of the following):

Economics 201: Statistical Methods
Introduction to descriptive statistics, statistical inference, regression and correlation.

Political Science 201: Elementary Statistics for Political Science
Quantitative methods in political science.

Psychology 280: Statistical Methods in Psychology
Quantitative methods in psychology.


Sociology 201: Elementary Social Statistics
Basic statistical techniques in sociology.

Statistics 119: Elementary Statistics for Business
Measures of central tendency and variability, frequency distributions, probability.


Statistics 250: Statistical Principles and Practices
Descriptive statistics, data displays, measures of central tendency, random variables, and sampling distribution.

Major Requirements (36 units)

Students must take the following five classes (15 units)

ISCOR 300: Global Systems
Prerequisite: Nine units of General Education requirements in Foundations of Learning, to include three units each in Natural Sciences and Quantitative Reasoning, in Social and Behavioral Sciences, and in Humanities.
Evolution and development of global systems, characteristics of contemporary and global systems and formulation of criteria for projecting the future of the systems.

ISCOR 301: Conflict and Conflict Resolution
Prerequisite: Nine units of General Education requirements in Foundations of Learning, to include three units each in Natural Sciences and Quantitative Reasoning, in Social and Behavioral Sciences, and in Humanities.
Conflict resolution as an emerging field; theories of conflict; methods and implications of conflict management including group, institutional, and international level analysis.

ISCOR 310: Our Global Future
Identifies resource and social crises toward which contemporary American values are leading, examines the nature of human action; contrasts other value systems with ours; considers origins of our values and the individual’s potential for changing them.

Political Science 375: International Relations: Theory and Practice
Prevailing and critical theories of international relations and application to historical developments and contemporary issues in global affairs.

ISCOR 495: Internship OR ISCOR 497: Senior Thesis OR a 500-level Capstone Course:

Students who participate in the ISCOR internship program (ISCOR 495) are expected to not only find a fulfilling internship off-campus, but also write a substantive research paper that directly connects their course of study to their internship experience.

It should also be noted that the only acceptable internships involve substantial responsibilities (no photocopying and picking up the CEO's dry-cleaning here!). The ISCOR Program has identified, and continues to identify, agencies that give our students a challenging, and learning experience.

A number of our students intern with the San Diego Chapter of the International Rescue Committee where they help refugees from countries like the Sudan, Iraq, Guatemala and Afghanistan adapt to American society. Students have also found interesting internships at places like the National Conflict Resolution Center, the San Diego Diplomacy Council, the San Diego World Affairs Council, the United Nations Association, the United States House of Representatives Armed Services Committee, and the United Nations.

Current students may view some current internship options by visting the ISCOR Homeroom in Blackboard.

Students who elect to do a thesis program are expected to write a substantive research paper pertaining to their specialization. The goal of the thesis is to engage in extensive, independent research on a theme of particular interest. Students are strongly encouraged to select a theme that was addressed in a prior upper division ISCOR-related class and to find a supervising professor from that class. 

For further information, see the sample syllabus.

Students may take an ISCOR-approved 500 level course. Please consult with the ISCOR advisor.

Students need to take two classes from the following three (6 units):

ISCOR 320: International Security in the Nuclear Age
Prerequisites: Upper division standing. Nine units of General Education requirements in Foundations of Learning, to include three units each in Natural Sciences and Quantitative Reasoning, in Social and Behavioral Sciences, and in Humanities.
International security issues from historical, ethical, economic and sociopsychological perspectives, including the security environment after the Cold War and current sources of conflict. The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons is discussed.

ISCOR 324: Politics of Global Resistance and Solidarity*
Global resistance movements that appreciate diversity in thought, experiences, and motivations. Theories of transnational activism, radical political thought, and international relations.

ISCOR 421: Alternative Dispute Resolution: Theory and International Applications
Prerequisite: Upper division standing.
Theory of collaborative negotiation and mediation, practice of negotiation and mediation skills and techniques, and focus on personal styles of mediation and collaborative negotiating. Emphasis on resolving conflicts on the international level.

*NOTE: Students specializing in Justice in the Global System must select ISCOR 324.

Students need to choose one of the following three specializations and take five courses in that field (15 units).

This specialization is concerned with exploring the causes, nature, consequences, management, and resolution of conflict. It will consider the psychology, sociology, economics, politics and history of cooperation, conflict and conflict resolution. It will address issues of war and peace, nationalism, civil war, terrorism, human rights, and ethnic hostility as they impact international security.

Requirements for specialization. A minimum of 15 units to include at least 6 units selected from ISCOR 421, Communication 371, Philosophy 340, Political Science 370; and 9 units selected from either courses listed above or from the following: Africana Studies 445, Anthropology 350, 523, 533, Chicana and Chicano Studies 355 [or Latin American Studies 355], Communication 555, Economics 360, 561, History 486, 516, 567, 574, Political Science 361, 363, 364, 380, 393, 430 [or Latin American Studies 430], 478, 479, 485, 555, 577, Religious Studies 379, Sociology 433, 457, Women’s Studies 310, 375. ISCOR 450 can be substituted for a maximum of one three unit course in this specialization with the approval and written consent of the undergraduate adviser.

Issues related to the environment and the utilization of energy and natural resources are important aspects of international security and often are related to cooperation and conflict between nations and groups within states. The purpose of this specialization is to provide the student with the necessary background to better understand this aspect of international security and the management and resolution of conflict.

Requirements for specialization: A minimum of 15 units to include 9 units selected from Biology 315; Economics 456; Environmental Science 301; Geography 370; Political Science 334 [or Sustainability 334]; Political Science 564; Public Health 362; Sociology 350; and 6 units selected from courses listed above or from Biology 324, 354; Economics 455, 489; Geography 570, 574; History 441; Philosophy 329, 332 [or Sustainability 332]; Public Health 304. ISCOR can be substituted for a maximum of one three unit course in this specialization with the approval and written consent of the undergraduate adviser.

This specialization explores political, economic, and social issues relating to global justice. It includes the study of international organizations and law, human rights, North-South relations, and controversies over distribution of resources. This specialization enables students to have a richer understanding of the dynamics concerning international security and conflict resolution. ts for specialization.

Requirements for specialization. A minimum of 15 units to include at least 9 units selected from History 440, Philosophy 340, 344, Political Science 302, 380, 485, Sociology 450; and an additional 6 units selected either from courses listed above or from the following: Africana Studies 472, Anthropology 523, Economics 360, 365, 561, Health and Human Services 350, History 515, 516, Political Science 334 [or Sustainability 334], 406, 430 [or Latin American Studies 430], 507, 565, 577, Public Health 362, Religious Studies 379, Sociology 433, 457, Women’s Studies 310, 530, 580, 581. ISCOR 450 can be substituted for a maximum of one three unit course in this specialization with the approval and written consent of the undergraduate adviser.

All ISCOR majors must meet a foreign language requirement in order to graduate. It is highly beneficial for ISCOR majors to add a foreign lanaguage as a minor or a second major. In addition, one may wish to obtain language certification in a foreign language. SDSU offers instruction in a number of foreign languages. Students can meet this requirement by studying the language abroad or through college courses in the United States. A minimum competency is required in one foreign language as part of the preparation for the major. The ISCOR Director and Adviser do not provide advising for the foreign language requirement. All students, including current speakers of a second language, must see the General Catalogue for minimum competency guidelines as well as further instructions.

All international security and conflict resolution minors are required to complete a study abroad experience. To meet this requirement, majors must complete one of the following with the preapproved and written consent of the undergraduate Advisor:

  1. A CSU Study Abroad Program;
  2. An SDSU Exchange Program;
  3. An SDSU Study Abroad Program;
  4. An SDSU Study Travel Program;
  5. International Security and Conflict Resolution 450.

See our Study Abroad page for more information.