INRL10010 Foundation of Political Theory & International Relations

Academic Year 2022/2023

This module has two parts: an Introduction to Political Theory and an Introduction to International Relations. The first part of the course provides an introduction to political theory, focusing on changing conceptions and models of democracy, mainly through the thought of three challenging and influential political thinkers, Aristotle, Mill and Marx. This part of the module focuses in particular on four key themes: the meaning and relative importance of the political principles of liberty, equality and community; how much political participation there should be; the social pre-conditions for democracy; and to what extent the kind of democracy possible depends on how we think of human nature.

The second part of the course offers an introduction to the main issues in contemporary international politics. It first looks at the development of the modern international system, focusing especially on the post-Cold War era. It then examines a range of substantive issues that occupy students of contemporary international politics: war and other forms of inter-state conflict, global trade and communication, migration, economic inequality, global environmental issues, international integration, terrorism, human rights, and the role of multinational corporations and transnational pressure groups.

This module is required for any student wishing to take Politics as a major at Stage Two. In addition to the lectures, an essential part of this module are tutorials in which students learn through writing essays and exercises and through participating in discussions.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On successful completion of this module, students will:
- have a clear grasp of what is at stake in some of the fundamental issues of political theory;
- be familiar with, and able to evaluate and apply, the normative arguments advanced by major political theorists;
- have developed skills in written and oral argument.
- understand the evolution of the international system;
- understand key features of that system including state sovereignty, diplomacy, war, international institutions and international trade.

Indicative Module Content:

Political Theory: Human Nature and Democracy, Political Participation, Democratic Institutions, Understandings of Liberty, Equality and Community as seen through Aristotle, Mill and Marx.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours




Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
The module will consist of lectures and small group teaching/tutorials. Students will be encouraged to participate in discussion in both lectures and tutorials. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Examination: 2 hour End of Trimester Exam - Political Theory Question 1 Unspecified No Graded No


Examination: 2 hour End of Trimester Exam - International Relations MCQ 2 hour End of Trimester Exam No Graded No


Examination: 2 hour End of Trimester Exam - Political Theory Question 2 Unspecified No Graded No


Essay: International Relations Essay Unspecified n/a Graded No


Essay: Political Theory Essay Unspecified n/a Graded No


Attendance: Active Tutorial Participation Throughout the Trimester n/a Graded No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Spring Yes - 2 Hour
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Feedback will be provided to students within 20 working days of the deadline for the assignment in according with university policy’.

Name Role
Dr Marta Bustillo Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dr Tobias Theiler Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dave Banks Tutor
Austin Bicknell Tutor
Marcus Dupuy Tutor
Sarah King Tutor
Gina Paula Montano Parrales Tutor
Emma Murphy Tutor
Coral Richardson Tutor
Cian Saunders Tutor
Mr Redmond Scales Tutor
Carl Smith Tutor
Ms Ella Switzer Tutor