POL41800 Theories of International Relations – Stream 2

Academic Year 2021/2022

This course offers an introduction to the field of International Relations theory. It seeks to provide students with a robust understanding of diverse theories of international relations, such as: realism, neorealism, constructivism and pluralism. The second part of the course will address more critical approaches to international relations, including: marxism, post-structuralism, and feminist international relations. Throughout the course, the emphasis will be on providing students with methodological tools and theoretical concepts that have relevance beyond the topics dealt with, and also to develop grounded understandings of the ‘real world’ relevance of international relations theory, taking account of contemporary global shifts and challenges. Some of the more general questions to be answered are: How should a fully-specified theory look like? And how can theories be examined convincingly? In-depth discussions of the assignments will revolve around these questions.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this module students should- have a good understanding of the various debates in the field of International Relations;- be able to critically engage with the scholarly literature on international relations;- have a basic understanding of the sub-discipline of International Political Economy.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Seminar (or Webinar)


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
This course will familiarize you with some of the most important theories in the contemporary study of international relations. The first part of the course is centred on what is commonly described as ‘mainstream’ international relations theory; theories such as realism,neorealism, liberalism and constructivism. In the second part of the module we delve into some of the more critical approaches to international relations theory, covering: Marxism, postcolonialism, feminism and empire and race. We apply these approaches to a variety of substantive issues in international politics, such as inter-state and intra-state conflict, international cooperation, globalization, migration, human rights, terrorism and current challenges to multilateralism and the contemporary states system. The module will be taught through in-depth analysis of the various theoretical approaches. Close attention will be paid to how these theories can be applied to real-world international politics by examining a diversity of examples and case studies. 
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
Essay: Essay 1 - 3000 words Unspecified n/a Graded No


Essay: Essay 2 - 3000 words Unspecified n/a Graded No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Spring No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Group/class feedback, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Not yet recorded.

Timetabling information is displayed only for guidance purposes, relates to the current Academic Year only and is subject to change.
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - Autumn: All Weeks Fri 13:00 - 14:50