Module Identifier IPM5630  
Academic Year 2003/2004  
Co-ordinator Dr Mike Williams  
Semester Intended for use in future years  
Next year offered N/A  
Next semester offered N/A  
Course delivery Seminars / Tutorials   22 Hours 1 x 2 hour seminar per week  
Assessment TypeAssessment Length/DetailsProportion
Semester Exam3 Hours  30%
Semester Assessment Essay: 3,000 words  30%
Semester Assessment Presentation:  10%
Semester Assessment Essay: 750 words  20%
Semester Assessment major essay proposal Essay: 250 words  10%
Supplementary Exam 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. 

Learning outcomes

At the end of this module, students should be able to:

- discuss the core tenets associated with the theory of realism
- discuss the historical development of realism
- assess the differences that exist among the various versions of realism such as between realism and neo-realism
- demonstrate the connections that exist between classical thinkers such as Hobbes, and contemporary academic realists
- discuss the tensions and problems that exist within realism, the degree to which realism either does or does not constitute a singular theoretical position.

Brief description

This course examines critically what has been the dominant theoretical approach to the study of international relations - Realism


The course explores the various ways in which realism has been represented and characterized in the literature. The course will critically examine the notion that rather than there being one singular and coherent version of realism, there actually are a variety of realism, all of which are entwined with the politics of modernity.


The module's examination will be facilitated by close readings of both classical and contemporary representatives of the realist tradition. By engaging in careful reading of many of the classical realist texts, the course aims to develop students' understanding of realism. The teaching programme will cover the writings of classical political theorists, the academic realists who began to enter the field with the onset of World War Two, neo-realists, and the writings of some of the most recent realists.

Transferable skills

Students will have the opportunity to develop, practice and test a wide range of transferable skills which will help them to understand, conceptualise and evaluate examples and ideas. Throughout the course, students should practice and enhance their reading, comprehension and thinking skills. Ins lectures, students will develop listening and note-taking skills, as well as analytic skills. In seminars, case- and problem-based scenarios will allow students to develop their analytic and debating skills, as well as enhancing teamwork capacities and presentational abilities. Essay writing will encourage students to practice their independent research, writing, and IT skills, and the examination will test these skills under time constraint conditions.

15 ECTS credits

Reading Lists

John Hobson (2001) The State in International Relations Cambridge
Stefano Guzzini (1998) Realism in International Relations and International Political Economy Routledge
Fredreich Meinecke (1997) Machiavellism: The Doctrine of Raison d'Etat and Its Place in Modern History Routledge


This module is at CQFW Level 7