U.S. Foreign Policy: Past, Present, and Future

« Return to Course Catalog

Two Sections Available to Choose From:

Course DatesLengthMeeting TimesStatusFormatInstructor(s)CRN
July 12, 2021 - July 30, 20217/12 - 7/303 WeeksM-F 12:15P-3:05PWaitlistedOn-CampusRichard Maher
July 12, 2021 - July 30, 20217/12 - 7/303 WeeksM-F 3:30P-6:20PWaitlistedOn-CampusRichard Maher

Course Description

This course provides an introduction to the study of U.S. foreign policy. It focuses on the United States’ emergence as a global economic power in the late nineteenth century, its rise to global superpower status after World War II, and its unique status today as the world’s sole superpower. Combining history, theory, and analysis, this course examines some of the key decisions, themes, and debates that have defined and shaped U.S. foreign policy throughout its history, in particular the long-standing debate between the “realist” and “idealist” traditions.

The course first puts U.S. foreign policy into theoretical and historical context. It examines the strategic and domestic environments that shape the creation and implementation of U.S. foreign policy and then traces its evolution from the country’s founding up to the end of the Cold War. It then examines more closely contemporary U.S. foreign policy toward major countries and regions, including China and the Asia Pacific, the Middle East, and Europe and Russia. It also analyzes U.S. foreign policy in several issue areas, such as deterrence and the use of military force, economic statecraft, human rights, and the provision of global public goods.

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

• Understand the strategic and domestic contexts that shape the creation and implementation of U.S. foreign policy • Evaluate the premises that have driven past and present U.S. foreign policy behavior and determine whether they were valid or false • Apply theory and other analytical tools to understand and explain U.S. foreign policy in specific situations and contexts

Prerequisites: The only prerequisite is a basic curiosity about U.S. foreign policy and international politics.

Course Information

  • Course Code: CEPS0902

Program Information


Brown’s Pre-College Program in the liberal arts and sciences for students completing grades 9-12 by June 2021.

Visit Program Page View Course Pricing Information Sessions Learn How to Apply