Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Semester 1
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Seminars / Tutorials 22 Hours. 1 x 2 hour seminars per week


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Seminar performance  10%
Semester Assessment Essay  Presentations are likely to take all day and all students on the module are expected to attend.  1 x 3,000 word essay  30%
Semester Assessment Extended Essay  1 x 5,000 word essay  60%
Supplementary Assessment Supplementary assessment essays  Students may, subject to Faculty approval, have the opportunity to resit this module, normally during the supplementary examination period. For further clarification please contact the Teaching Programme Administrator in the Department of International Politics.  100%

Learning Outcomes

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

By the end of the course we expect that students will have developed the skills necessary to do the following:

1. Critically engage with key questions and arguments in International Relations Theory;
2. Critically reflect upon the contribution of political, social and legal theory to the study of International Relations;
3. Demonstrate an awareness of the relationship between International Relations Theory and debates in the philosophy of social science/history;
4. Identify and discuss the methodological, epistemological and political implications of a wide range of theoretical positions in International Relations.


The core module of the MScEcon International Politics programme provides an in depth specialization in International Relations Theory. In addition to providing a detailed understanding of rival perspectives and the concepts that distinguish them, it poses the question of whether it is possible to overcome the main disagreements between these perspectives. Students are expected to reflect on epistemological, political, and moral implications of studying contemporary world politics from various theoretical perspectives.

The module is taught by two hour seminars. During the course of the module, students are expected to take part in both large and small group discussions, present and defend their ideas within an academic setting, and participate in group projects. Those pursuing the Research Training (RT) stream will find that there is plenty of discussion in this module of methodological and epistemological issues that link to their wider research training programme. All students will find that discussion of these issues will be relevant to research towards the dissertation.


The module opens with an examination of five key concepts in international relations theory: history, sovereignty, power , law, and commerce/globalisation. Particular attention will be paid to the different ways in which these concepts are understood. Moreover, the module will consider how these concepts cut across different theoretical traditions. The module will then proceed to consider the major theoretical traditions in the academic study of international relations in the context of these key concepts. These theoretical traditions will be examined for the similarities and differences that distinguish them; and questions related to core normative problems, ontological and epistemological outlooks, and methodological approach will be addressed. It is hoped that the module will shine new light on a subject that is often portrayed as a series of rival schools of thought or incommensurable 'isms' by breaking down some of the disciplinary boundaries around which the stuff of international relations has been organised.

Transferable skills

Throughout the teaching and the assessment of the module the students will develop a range of transferable skills. The module will require the use of IT skills and general research skills in order to identify and search for appropriate data and sources. Students will also develop: critical thinking; rational argumentation strategies; logical thinking; writing skills; reading strategies; note-taking; report writing; presentational skills; and skills related to working in groups.

15 ECTS credits

Reading List

Recommended Text
Carr, E. H. (1970) The Twenty Year Crisis London:Macmillan Primo search Carr, E. H. (1964) What is History? Harmondsworth: Penguin Primo search Clark, I. (1999) Globalization and International Relations Theory Oxford: OUP Primo search Edkins, J. (2003) Trauma and the Memory of Politics Cambridge University Press Primo search Enloe, C. (1990) Bananas, Beaches and Bases: Making Feminist Sense of International Politics Berkeley: University of California Press Primo search Foucault, M. (Gordon, C. ed) 'The Juridical Apparatus', Power/Knowledge New York: Pantheon Books Primo search Gordon, C. Morganthau, Hans Politics Among Nations New York: Alfred Knopf Primo search Walker, R. B. J. (1992) Inside/Outside:International Relations as Political Theory Cambridge University Press Primo search

Bull, Hedley (2002.) The anarchical society :a study of order in world politics /Hedley Bull ; forewords by Stanley Hoffmann and Andrew Hurrell. Primo search Campbell, David (1998.) National deconstruction :violence, identity, and justice in Bosnia /David Campbell. Primo search Collingwood, R. G. (1993.) The idea of history : with lectures 1926-1928 /R.G. Collingwood. Primo search Connor, James E. (1968) Lenin on Politics and Revolution:Selected Writings Primo search Horkheimer, Max (1982.) Critical theory :selected essays /Max Horkheimer ; translated by Matthew J. O'Connell and others. Primo search Kelsen, Hans (1961 [c1945]) General theory of law and state /Translated by Anders Wedberg. Primo search Keohane, Robert O. (1989.) International institutions and state power :essays in international relations theory /Robert O. Keohane. Primo search Linklater, Andrew. (1990.) Beyond realism and Marxism :critical theory and international relations /Andrew Linklater. Primo search Lukes, Steven. (1974.) Power :a radical view /Steven Lukes. Primo search Lukes, Steven. (2005.) Power :a radical view /Steven Lukes. Primo search Nardin, Terry (1983.) Law, morality, and the relations of states /[by] Terry Nardin. Primo search Schmitt, Carl (c1985.) Political theology :four chapters on the concept of sovereignty /Carl Schmitt ; translated by George Schwab. Primo search Smith, Adam (1881.) An abridgement of Adam Smith's Inquiry into the nature and causes of the wealth of nations /by Wolseley P. Emerton. Primo search Smith, Adam (1921.) An inquiry into the nature and causes of the wealth of nations /By Adam Smith. Primo search Smith, Adam (1904.) An inquiry into the nature and causes of the wealth of nations. Primo search Waltz, Kenneth Neal (c1979.) Theory of international politics /Kenneth N. Waltz. Primo search Wendt, Alexander (1999 (various p) Social theory of international politics /Alexander Wendt. Primo search Zimmern, Alfred Eckhard (1939.) The League of Nations and the rule of law, 1918-1935 /by Alfred Zimmern. Primo search


This module is at CQFW Level 7