Gwybodaeth Modiwlau

Module Identifier
Module Title
Theorizing International Relations
Academic Year
Semester 2
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 22 x 1 Hour Lectures
Workshop 3 x 2 Hour Workshops
Seminar 10 x 1 Hour Seminars


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 1 x 500 word Concept paper  10%
Semester Assessment 1 x 3,000 word essay  50%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   Exam (1 x 2 hour)  40%
Supplementary Assessment 1 x 3,000 word essay, if essay element failed  50%
Supplementary Assessment 1 x 500 word Concept paper  10%
Supplementary Exam 2 Hours   (1 x 2 hour exam)  40%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

1. Display a critical awareness of the key debates in IR theory.
2. Show a general understanding of the historiography of IR theory.
3. Critically reflect on key theories and concepts in the context of contemporary international relations.
4. Demonstrate a general knowledge of leading authors and their main works.
5. Demonstrate an awareness of IR theory and relevant debates in the philosophy of social science.
6. Identify a wide range of theoretical positions and the differences that distinguish them.
7. Articulate in seminars and in written work the key elements of different theories when considered in the context of contemporary world events.

Brief description

This module will offer students a range of different perspectives on theorizing the international. We will explore the origins of the discipline of International Relations, the development of theoretical schools of thought, the role of theoretical lenses in shaping our understandings of the world, and a variety of different theoretical approaches through which to read the processes of international politics, such as realism (classical and neorealism), liberalism, English School, constructivism, feminism, Marxism, Critical Theory, postcolonialism, poststructuralism, and normative theory.


The aims of this module are twofold. First, it introduces students to core theoretical traditions. Particular attention is paid to the assumptions, claims, and modes of reasoning that distinguish these traditions of thought. Second, the insights afforded by these traditions are considered in several contemporary contexts. Overall, then, the module provides students an opportunity to engage in these debates and to explore the controversies to which they give rise.


Please give an outline of content, week by week, indicating lectures, seminars and/or other forms of delivery
The course will consist of fifteen 1-hr lectures, nine 1-hr seminars and three 2-hr 'theory workshops'.

1. Introduction to 'theory'
2. History of the discipline and debates on 'idealism'
3. Classical realist thought
4. Structural Realism
5. The English School
6. Post Second World War liberalism in IR
7. Construction of international politics
8. Marxism in IR
9. Critical Theory
10. Poststructuralism
11. Feminism
12. Postcolonial critiques
13. Normative approaches
14. Concluding reflections on IR theory and the practice of international politics
15. Revisions Lecture

1. 'Theorizing' in 'IR'
2. Realisms
3. Liberalism
4. Constructivism
5. Marxism
6. Critical theory and poststructuralism
7. Feminism and Postcolonialism
8. Normative theory
9. Conclusions and revision
Theory workshops
1. Theorizing in the era of globalization – week 5
2. Contemporary IR theory: staff-led seminar on theory research conducted in the department – week 8
3. End of IR theory? Future of the study of international politics – week 11

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number N/A
Communication Students will learn how to present their ideas both verbally and in writing and how to how to present their arguments most effectively. They will learn the importance of information and clear communication and how to exploit these. They will know how to use the many sources of information available and how to use the most appropriate form of communication to best advantage. They will learn to be clear in their writing and speaking and to be direct about aims and objectives. They will learn to consider only that which is relevant to the topic, focus and objectives of their argument or discussion. Students will also be required to submit their written assessments in word-processed format and the presentation of work should reflect effective expression of ideas and good use of language skills in order to ensure clarity, coherence and effective communication.
Improving own Learning and Performance The module aims to promote self-management but within a context in which support and assistance is available from both the module convenor and fellow students alike. Students will be expected to improve their own learning and performance by undertaking their own research and exercising their own initiative, including searching for sources and deciding (under guidance) the direction of their coursework and presentation topics.
Information Technology Students will be expected to submit their work in word-processed format, via the on-line platform Blackboard. Also, students will be encouraged to search for sources of information on the web, as well as seeking sources through electronic information sources.
Personal Development and Career planning This module is designed to hone and test skills of use to students in their working lives, particularly in speaking to small groups, listening, thinking and responding to the statement of others. Moreover, the written work includes writing clearly and concisely, which is a common task in the workplace. Students will be encouraged throughout to reflect on their performance and to consider lessons for future application.
Problem solving Independent work and problem solving will be one central goal of the module; the submission of a range of study skills assessments will require that students develop independent research skills as well as problem solving skills. The ability of students to solve problems will be developed and assessed by asking them to: adopt differing points of view; organize data and formulate an answer to the problem; reason logically; construct theoretical arguments; divide issues into smaller problems.
Research skills Students will be required to undertake independent research for elements of the assessed work. This will involve utilizing a range of information sources, including core academic texts.
Subject Specific Skills Students have the opportunity to develop, practice and test a wide range of subject specific skills that help them to understand, conceptualise and evaluate examples and ideas on the module. These subject specific skills include: • Collect and understand a wide range of data relating to the module • Evaluate competing perspectives • Apply a range of methodologies to complex historical and contemporary political problems.
Team work Students will undertake team exercises in the seminars. For many of the topics of this module, seminars will consist of small-group discussions where students will be asked to discuss as a group the core issues related to the seminar topic. These class discussions and debates form a significant part of the module, and will allow students to approach and examine a given topic through team work.


This module is at CQFW Level 6