Model United Nations is a rather unusual class, in part because it is often a faculty advised, student directed educational activity. Model UN provides an academic learning experience through the simulation of the structures, processes, and issues of the member nations of the United Nations Organization. The Model UN class offers students a unique opportunity to learn about international relations while role–playing United Nations delegates.

Meeting Times

Meeting times will vary depending on the number of units (if any) available for the class. One hour per week per unit of credit is the general rule of thumb. If the Model UN Program is also a campus club, the club may also meet for an hour or more each week. If the program is only a campus club, the meeting times should follow the general class structure.

Course Length

The duration of a Model UN class also varies depending on a school’s calendar. For quarter schools, the program often runs during the winter quarter for 10 or 12 weeks. At semester schools it may only run for one–half of the spring semester. On those campuses with MUN clubs, the club often functions during the fall only with a class in the winter or spring.

Every campus has time and schedule limitations which restrain the organization and presentation of any program. The optimal approach to the Model UN program would be to utilize both club and class vehicles. The club should operate throughout the school year and function as the non–academic vehicle for participating students. Club activities should focus on fundraising, recruitment, building social cohesion, planning, campus and community relations, and for informal debates of political issues. The class could be run in the fall as a 1 or 2–unit credit course and again in the winter or spring as a 1 or 2–unit credit course. Class activities should focus on the study of the UN, research on selected country(s) and the issues.

Course Objectives

The Model UN course is designed to acquaint students with the operations of the United Nations through the study of political positions of member nations. Additionally, students should achieve a level of understanding in the use of simulation activities as a means for teaching and learning about the political perspectives of different nationalities on contemporary world issues. Upon successful completion of the course, students should be able to:

  • Articulate the foreign policy of the selected country,
  • Define the structures and general procedures of the United Nations,
  • Describe important historical issues affecting the UN and evaluate the organization’s effectiveness,
  • Analyze an issue currently before the United Nations from the selected member nation’s perspective,
  • Understand and competently use the rules of procedure, diplomatic protocol, and negotiating techniques common to UN delegates.
  • Explain the rationale, format, and instructional methods of the Model United Nations simulation.

Course Scope and Content

The scope of the course is necessarily limited by the time constraints of the institution, the instructor and the students. It should encompass, as broad and deep as possible, the study of the United Nations and related organizations, background research on a selected member nation, topical research on two or three issues currently before the UN. Time must also be allotted for learning the rules of procedure, the art of diplomacy, negotiating skills, and public speaking.


Course Description

During this session we will explore the purpose and functions of international organizations. The United Nations will be covered in detail. Students will be afforded the opportunity to simulate UN functions and debate major issues of the United Nations. Students who successfully complete the requirements may attend the MUNFW conference in April. Students who fail to meet the requirements for conference attendance or who choose not to attend the conference will be required to present a 35 minute lecture on another international organization (NATO, OAS, EU, etc) to the class.

Required Texts:
– Issues Before the 53rd Session of MUNFW
– Delegate Handbook – Books 1, 2 & 3
Both texts are available as downloads from the MUNFW web site

Requirements for Conference Attendance

All work must be submitted on the date requested. No late work will be accepted (except in cases of serious illness). Students who submit late work will be excluded from conference attendance.

Research work appropriate for understanding of the Model United Nations and assigned committee,

One page paper describing your assigned country’s political system, economic system, military structure, social & cultural system, or foreign policy (select aspect most interesting to you). Due on ______

Three, half page policy statements on the assigned topics. These must be perfectly typed. A cover page must be attached which indicates that your policy statements have been read and accepted by other members of your country, each signature must appear on a cover page (paper clip only, please). Due on _______

One resolution on an agenda item. Due on _______

General Debate speech to be given on _____

Substantive Debate speech to be given on _______

Passage of Rules Test to be given on _______

Class Notebook – Contaning all class handouts, all research work, and a Journal with entries for all meetings, research, and classes, etc. (in other words: a detailed dairy of everything you do in and out of class related to class). This notebook will be due prior to conference for grading and returned. You are expected to maintain the notebook during conference and hand it in at the end of the term as your class project.

Additional Course Responsibilities

First Year Students
Evaluation of assigned tutor. Due with notebook on _______
Ability to demonstrate the lessons of diplomacy discussed in class and learned during simulations.

Second Year Students
Performance of Chair duties as needed during class Rules Practice.
Library and tutoring assistance for those students assigned to you (generally first year students assigned to your country).

A Final Exam – The Final Exam will cover various international organizations including, but not limited to those which are part of the United Nations. Those students who wish  may opt to complete a paper and presentation on one of the International organizations to be discussed in class. An intent to do a paper and presentation should be filed with the teacher by ______. Three preferences in order of preference should be turned in. Tentative assignments will be made by the end of class on _______.

Notebook Outline

Course Packet
Additional Class handouts
All additional research materials collected by you
All policy statements for your country
All resolutions ( for your country from class and for your committee from conference)

Grading Scale
Policy Statements                        30
Resolutions                                     10
Rules Test                                       20
Speeches                                         20
Notebook                                        30
Conference attendance*           30
(or presentation)
Class Preparation**                    20
(debate, rules, diplomacy, etc)
Class Attendance                          20
Final Exam or Presentation   200

* Points are given for going to conference not for performance at conference
** Second & third year students are held to a higher standard.

191 – 200     =    A
181 – 190     =    B
171 – 180     =    C
161 – 170     =    D

Tentative Class Schedule

Week 1
Introduction to the Course
Country & Topic Assignments
Introduction to International Organizations
Why the UN was Formed
Organizational Structure

Week 2
Lecture & Discussion of Organizations
(Regional, Economic, Political, NGOs, etc)

Week 3
Lecture on how to Prepare Policy Statements & Resolutions
Introduction to the Rules of MUNFW

Week 4
Topic Presentations – Economic Orgainzations

Week 5
Rules Practice
Discussion of General Debate Speeches
Papers on Assigned Country Due

Week 6
Topic Presentations – Regional Organizations

Policy Papers Due
2nd Year Students give Presentation on Country

Week 8
Notebooks Due for Review
Topic Presentations – NGOs

Week 9
General Debate Speeches – Everyone
Resolutions Due

Week 10
Rules Practice

Week 11
Substantive Debate Speeches – Everyone

Week 12
Rules Test
General Review & Discussion

Week 13
Notebooks Due for Review

Week 14
Final Exam for students not attending Conference

The above schedule is based on an ideal situation with a class start date in early January and conference dates in mid to late April. The 14 week format fits perfectly. Faculty are free to use the entire syllabus or any portion thereof for use in their own MUN courses.