Module Identifier IP30120  
Academic Year 2006/2007  
Co-ordinator Dr William W Bain  
Semester Semester 2  
Course delivery Lecture   16 Hours. (16 x 1 hour)  
  Seminars / Tutorials   7 Hours. (7 x 1 hour)  
Assessment TypeAssessment Length/DetailsProportion
Semester Exam2 Hours  50%
Semester Assessment Essay: 1 x 3,000 words  50%
Supplementary Exam Students may, subject to Faculty approval, have the opportunity to resit this module. For further clarification please contact the Academic Administrator in the Department of International Politics. 

Learning outcomes

On completion of the module, students will be able to:

  1. Display a critical awareness of key debates surrounding IPTT
  2. Show a general understanding of the historiography of IR
  3. Demonstrate a general knowledge of leading authors and their main works
  4. Critically reflect upon key theories and concepts using a variety of case studies in contemporary international politics
  5. Demonstrate an awareness of IPTT and 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 the key elements of different theories when considered in the context of contemporary world events

Brief description

This module provides a core disciplinary training in international political theory. It does this by engaging with the main contending approaches to the subject.


This module aims to build on the international political theory taught at Part 1, while acting as a bridge to mode specialist options in Part 2. One of the central thematics framing the module is the importance of linking theory to practice: from the personal to the international, our lives are constituted by and shaped through an engagement with international political theory.


The course begins by recapitulating the main traditions of IR theorising, such as liberalism and classical realism. It quickly moves to focus on the debate triggered by Kenneth Waltz's Theory of International Politics. This text not only succeeded in reinvigorating realism, it also provoked a wide range of critical responses. The last of this type was Alexander Wendt's Social Theory of International Politics. Within this 20 year time frame, several important theoretical innovations have taken place, including the emergence of critical theory, feminist theory and post-structuralism. The module then moves on to consider the ' normative turn' this emphasises the study of ethics, especially through classical political theory.

Transferable skills

This module provides students with an opportunity to develop, practice and test a wide range of transferable skills which will help them to conceptualize and evaluate examples and ideas. Directed reading, in advance of weekly seminars, will enable students to practice and enhance their reading, comprehension and thinking skills. Theories like neorealism and liberal democratic peace theory require an engagement with positivism, including using models and the analysis of historical data. Lectures aid the development of comprehension skills, including note-taking: seminars help to enhance communicative skills as well as the ability to listen and participate actively in focused discussion. The module also involves one case study which is designed to show the relevance of theory to a particular context. Such an approach to learning requires that students immerse themselves in a particular role. The list of transferable skills culminates with the enhancement of independent research (essay) and the capacity to analyze and formulate arguments under time constraints (exam).

10 ECTS credits

Reading Lists

** Essential Reading
Scott Burchill & Andrew Linklater et al (2005) Theories of International Relations 2nd. London: Palgrave


This module is at CQFW Level 6