Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
International Relations: Perspectives and Debates
Academic Year
Semester 2
Reading List
Other Staff

Course Delivery



Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 1 x 2,000 Word Essay  50%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   (1 x 2 Hour Exam)  50%
Supplementary Assessment 1 x 2,000 Word Essay  50%
Supplementary Exam 2 Hours   (1 x 2 Hour Exam)  50%

Learning Outcomes

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

• Appreciate a variety of theoretical traditions in IR and to identify and discuss in detail key contemporary debates in IR.

• Identify and understand the key assumptions, claims, and modes of reasoning that distinguish these traditions of thought.

• Demonstrate an understanding of key authors and texts in the history of IR theory.

• Identify the strengths and weaknesses of individual approaches, this both theoretically as when applied to particular contexts in international politics.

• Evaluate the importance and relevance of theory for the study of international relations.

Brief description

This module offers students a range of different perspectives on theorizing the international. Students 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.


The module consists of 16 one-hour lectures and nine one-hour seminars. These sessions cover the broad range of theorising that has historically constituted and is currently active in the discipline of International Relations and also look towards emerging trends in IR theory. Topics include both central traditions of IR theory such as Realism, Liberalism, Constructivism and the English School and also an array of ‘critical’ positions such as Marxism, Feminism, Postcolonialism and post-positivist theories. The module is intended to provide students with a thorough survey of the field of IR theory, to ground their further study at Part Two.

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 preparation of two assessed pieces of written work 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 5