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University of Houston Student Course Catalog

The BTI Institute and the College of Technology at the University of Houston are partnering, under the guidance of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Training and Development, to develop and offer University of Houston students an opportunity to engage in course work designed to build the foundation for a career in international trade, security, and border management. Careers in this field range from becoming a U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agriculture Specialist to Supply Chain Manager to a Fortune 500 company. 

These courses have been developed from the ground up and are offered currently as part of any degree program as elective courses. These courses are facilitated and fully online. 

BTIS 4320  Border Trade Policy [3 Credit Hours]

This course offers students an in-depth understanding of the global trade facilitation from the GATT to the WTO. They will evaluate different types of trade agreements implemented by the U.S. government, and the rest of the world. A comparison is provided between free trade (open borders) and protectionism with trade barriers (closed borders). Students will become familiar with the basic concepts of tariffs, and the key principles of strategic thinking, design, and negotiations. They will also be better prepared to apply in their career path the principles of protectionism vs. free trade, taxation, but also barriers to trade (both tariff-barriers and non-tariff-barriers). Upon completion of this course, students will be better prepared to work with the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the U.S. (HTSUS) and the Export Schedule B, based on the International Harmonized System. The crucial topic of export control will also be covered, with an array of examples of corporate violations, and homeland security risks.

BTIS 3300   Introduction to Homeland Security [3 Credit Hours]

Introduction to Homeland Security  

This course introduces participants to a comprehensive study of the homeland security system at the federal, state, and local levels. It will analyze the structure of the U.S. homeland security system and operational areas as well as programs aimed at minimizing the nation's vulnerability to attacks. It is designed as an intensive technical writing course aimed at developing critical thinking skills and mastering technical writing in the discipline. 

BTIS 3320   U.S. Border Management Policy  [3 Credit Hours]

This course introduces participants to the history, purpose, and benefits of borders and boundaries, while various case studies demonstrate the sovereignty of nations, trade agreements, and the geopolitical and socioeconomic implications. 
The roles of borders change over time, depending on the challenges and opportunities each nation faces. This course discusses the management of borders following the nation-specific challenges and opportunities presented at various historical times and the government measures in monitoring and controlling the inbound and outbound flows of passengers and cargo. 

BTIS 4300 Customs Regulations and Procedures [3 Credit Hours]

customs regulations
[COMING SOON] A thorough analysis of the Customs regulations, laws, and procedures, and the principles of cargo classification, valuation, and rules of origin. The World Customs Organization, global harmonization, and customs reform. The U.S. Customs and Borders Protection (CBP) Agency. The customs modernization act (MOD ACT) and the changing trade environment. The concepts of reasonable care and informed compliance. Customs management and the entry process for travelers and cargoes. CBP initiatives on security, pre-clearance, and joint inspections. CBP synergies at a Federal, and cross-border level. The entry process: CBP Inspections and cargo scanning processes through the sea, land, and air ports of entry. E-commerce, customs clearance documentation, and the ACE single-window entry system. Key players and career specializations in the process of customs clearance.

BTIS 3330 Fundamentals of Transportation Law and Border Regulation [3 Credit Hours]

tranportation law
[COMING SOON] The course explores the legal and regulatory framework of cross-border multimodal transportation while addressing modern trends, and challenges. It illustrates how International, and Federal lawmakers keep our borders secure, while enabling the flow of legitimate trade and travel. Through a number of case studies and video tutorials, students will evaluate the role of International and U.S. laws and Conventions; Lex Mercatoria; CISG and the UCC, Contracts of Carriage of Goods, etc. The American Federal and State system will be presented, and the distinct role of key players will be explored. Elements of Common law; Admiralty law; Transportation law; the commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution. The course encompasses all transport domains, i.e. sea (ports and ships), land (trains and trucks), air (aircraft), and pipelines.

BTIS 3323 Border Security and Cross-Border Challenges [3 Credit Hours]

Border Security
[COMING SOON] Border security is fraught with myriad challenges but many solutions. Governmental and agency policies, human and technological resources, political and public support, and physical environment along the border can impact mission effectiveness. This course emphasizes the critical analysis of many of these challenges through readings, videos, discussions, and, most importantly, student observations/experiences that impact mission effectiveness. Students will identify real-world mission challenges and effectively articulate remedies in an agency-like format through the development of white papers, PowerPoint presentations, and open discussions. This class emphasizes objective issue analysis and constructive self/classmate critique to obtain tangible and realistic challenge solutions. 

BTIS 4325  Border Interagency Coordination [3 Credit Hours]

[COMING SOON] This course examines the notion of Border Management strategy, which is coordinated, integrated, unified, while spans across national and global partnerships. Fundamental principles to be analyzed lead to organizational excellence at a strategic, operational, and tactical level, aligned with the unique mission and vision of the DHS and its Agencies pertinent to the borders. Methods for ensuring the safety and security of the homeland and the society, while impeding the activities of transnational criminal organizations. Strategic synergies with selected public and private entities to enhance intelligence and investigative capabilities. Optimization of resources through a risk-based, layered defense of our borders. The Border Patrol’s Operational Control (OPCON) strategy, and the principles of situational awareness, response, and resolution, as well as impedance and denial. The use of state-of-the-art technologies and communication techniques to ensure stakeholder engagement.

TLIM 4397  Ethics and Governance in Border Management [3 Credit Hours]

[COMING SOON] This course provides a global, multi-faceted approach, investigating the ethical perspectives of moving travelers and cargoes across national borders. The course seeks to evaluate the best practices across numerous countries by analyzing policy and legal framework; identifying nation-specific challenges and opportunities which strengthen ethics and governance practices while strengthening the sense of social justice. Case studies from several nations demonstrate the consequences of ethics or lack of ethics in governance. Comparison and conceptual analysis of what is considered legitimate versus illegitimate. A vigorous empirical analysis of the ethical considerations on safeguarding national security, while honoring and protecting human rights.

BTIS 4334  Border Security Technology [3 Credit Hours]

security technology
The course will examine the dynamic nature of the border security technology as shaped and informed by institutional history, the environmental/political/budgetary contexts/constraints, and currently available/emerging technology. The technical elements of deterrence, detection, interdiction/apprehension, and support (communications, logistics, and information) will be examined against the standards and metrics of operational effectiveness, return on institutional investment, and the decision process. Instruction will include the critical evaluation of requests for information/proposals (RFI/P), technical standards, and technical sales material.

BTIS 4335  Cybersecurity Strategies and Policies [3 Credit Hours]

cyber security

[COMING SOON] This course examines the relatively new and rapidly evolving issues surrounding cybersecurity or just cyber policy. In it, students will learn the process of public policymaking, the concept of security, and how the medium of cyberspace interacts with them. We will examine law, standards, regulations, and other instruments of governance of importance to understanding the operation of cyber-infrastructure – a system of networked computer systems spanning the globe. Case studies will consider different areas for policy – cyber defense, privacy, data protection, international conflict, and influence operations. Considerable reading, as well as writing, will be required.

TLIM 4397  Trade Treaties and Conventions [3 Credit Hours]

trade treaties
[Coming Soon] This course analyzes the principles of commercial law and follows the evolution of global treaties and conventions at a global and regional level. It evaluates the status of the U.S. as a leading world investment destination. It explains the role of institutions and the strategic formation of agreements in enhancing a nation’s competitiveness. Best practices of promoting trade and investment are duly analyzed: The United Nations and many of its instruments. World Bank, International Monetary Fund, World Trade Organization, and numerous of its Agreements, World Customs Organization, etc. Critical evaluation and lessons learned from numerous Trade Agreements beyond USMCA, include TAFTA, CAFTA, SICA, MERCOSUR, BRICS, MINTS, etc. The U.S. International Trade Administration. Bilateral Investment Treaties, etc. Case studies of numerous nations reflect the impact of different treaties, conventions, and practices.   

TLIM 4397  History of Migration and U.S. Migration Patterns [3 Credit Hours]

Migration History
[COMING SOON] This course seeks to explain the root cause of modern migration patterns and trends. Evaluating the history of migration, both at a global level and in the U.S. It explains that migration and its fundamental causes, like extreme weather, poverty, and warfare, have remained the same throughout the history of humankind. From the middle-ages, to the trans-oceanic colonies, from human slavery to WWI and WWII. From the era of civil rights through contemporary migration. The evolution of trends in modern societies, aligned with the complex human needs. How, over the centuries, settlers have risked their lives to escape political oppression, but also social, religious, race, and gender-related inequalities. A comparison between cross-border and internal migration identifies the expectations of migrants for better social, working, housing, educational, and economic conditions: challenges and opportunities of migration.

TLIM 4397  Global Landscape of Forced Migration [3 Credit Hours]

Forced Migration
[COMING SOON] A thorough evaluation of forced migration, and reasons that population segments are involuntarily displaced from their homes and homelands. The many faces of migration, and the modern geography of mass migration. Analysis of the main categories: Migration, Emigration, and Immigration. Refugees, in fear of persecution. Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in search of a safe haven. Asylum seekers and the process of acquiring refugee status.  Acute versus chronic, and push versus pull forced migration.  Refugees being violently pushed out of the homeland, due to demographic factors (race, religion, gender, overpopulation), scarcity of resources, or geopolitical conflicts for resources. Sociopolitical factors (terrorism, dictatorship, civil war, violation of human rights, minority oppression). Population segments dislocated due to famine, environmental, or geological catastrophes.

TLIM 4397  U.S. Immigration Law and Policies [3 Credit Hours]

Immigration Law
[COMING SOON] This course provides a robust analysis of the U.S. Immigration Policy from the 1800s to date. A thought-provoking timeline covers immigration laws and goals, such as the Naturalization Act and the laissez-faire notion (the 1790s to 1870s); Selective admittance through the Chinese Exclusion Act (1882); Alien Contract Labor legislation (1885-7); The U.S. Immigration Act (1907). New Immigration Stations, and new processing protocols for inspection, rejection, admittance (the 1870s to 1920s); The Alien Registration Act (1940); Internal Security Act (1950); Immigration Acts of 1952 and 1968. Quotas based on country of origin (the 1920s to 1960s); Family unification and country of origin through the 1976 Act, 1980 Act, 1986, and 1990 Act.  (the 1960s to 2001). An in-depth analysis of the current immigration policy, which is more complex and all-encompassing: The USA Patriot Act of 2001, and how the 9/11/2001 terrorist attack strongly influenced it. Establishment of the USCIS, under the DHS (2003), in charge of immigration services (visas, green cards, asylum, and refugee protection systems. ICE as the law enforcement agency under the DHS. Modern immigration factors include education and skill-based admission, family unification admission, country of origin, background-check-based admission, etc.

TLIM 4397 Capstone Project [3 Credit Hours]

[COMING SOON] This is the culmination and synthesis of all disciplines and knowledge that students have acquired during the program. Students will create a Capstone project which addresses a specific problem relevant to the homeland security enterprise. They will select a topic of professional interest while implementing theories, policies, practices, and cases covered during their academic career. The capstone project enables students to specialize in a discipline through a problem-solving project. Students must solve a problem or improve a process, by selecting one of these options: a) an internship in a homeland security-related entity (public or private sector; b) a research thesis seeking to apply new knowledge. The successful completion of this course involves the students’ presentation. This is a significant milestone in the student’s careers, as it demonstrates their problem-solving skills, scholarly capacity, and narrows down their area of interest in the homeland security enterprise.