US in the World

USSC2601

US in the World explores the dramatic political and economic changes taking place today in America that will shape lives in Australia and around the world for years to come. This dynamic unit focuses on US foreign policy in the 21st century and explores the policy challenges posed by the new diffusion of global power, the worst global economic downturn since the Great Depression, far-reaching changes in the Middle East, and the expanding struggle against violent Islamic extremism.

Joseph Edwards
“I’m a Government and International Relations student and there are a lot of subjects at the Centre that apply to the major — ‘US in the World’, ‘Americanism and Anti-Americanism’, ‘US Politics’ — these units allowed me to experience unique opinions on the United States. ‘US in the World’ was particularly interesting as it had a policy brief that presented a few students with the chance to visit the US Consulate. For anybody interested in studying politics or international relations, I’d definitely recommend these subjects.” Joseph Edwards (pictured centre) majoring in Government and International Relations

This highly interactive unit features guest lectures and conversations with leading American and Australian experts. In the past these included multiple Pulitzer Prize–winning author and New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, former Prime Minister of Australia John Howard, US Ambassador to Australia Jeffrey Bleich, and influential China-watcher at The Atlantic James Fallows. Students are given an experience of the practical and strategic aspects of US foreign policy.

US Consul General award

The major piece of assessment for this unit is a policy memo. The top policy memos will be sent to the US Consulate to be read by the US Consul General who will select the winner of the US-Australia Partnership Policy Memorandum Award. The Consul General will then invite the writers of the top three memos to dine at their official residence. The topic of each year's memo is provided by the US Consulate on a topic on which they might actually require a briefing.

Learning outcomes

Students in this unit will learn using the Socratic Method, a crucial analytical tool in political science and is fundamental to the development of views that can be clearly expressed and reasonably defended.

The focus will be on role of the United States amid the challenges posed by the key global transformations of the contemporary era. Both lectures and tutorials will be designed to engage students fully, in order to increase their knowledge and develop their skills: analysing situations, forming opinions, solving problems and defending positions.

By the end of this Unit of Study students will be able to:

  • Access a body of knowledge about the role of the United States in the world
  • Acquire and evaluate new knowledge through independent research
  • Identify, investigate, and solve problems
  • Access diverse resources to build and defend a reasoned position
  • Think analytically
  • Defend their opinions in public in a robust manner.

The fine print

Classes
Taught in Semester 2, 2018
1 x 1.5 hour lecture per week
1 x 1 hour tutorial per week
View timetable

Assessment
15% reaction paper (500 words)
30% midterm exam
40% policy report (2500 words)
15% participation

Prerequisites
18 junior credit points (this means it is a senior unit for students in their 2nd year or above)

More details
Visit the University of Sydney website for information about fees, cross-institutional and non-award study, and more.

Unit coordinator