Module Identifier IPM2230  
Academic Year 2007/2008  
Co-ordinator Professor Nicholas J Wheeler  
Semester Semester 1  
Course delivery Seminars / Tutorials   11 x 2 hours  
Assessment TypeAssessment Length/DetailsProportion
Semester Exam3 Hours EXAM  50%
Semester Assessment ESSAY (4000 WORDS)  50%
Supplementary Exam Resit opportunities for this module will be available in the Supplementary examination period each year. Normally, Masters students are required to resit those elements of the module that they have not already passed. 

Learning outcomes

On completion of this module, students should be able to.
1. Display historical background knowledge of major international developments since 1945
2. Demonstrate detailed knowledge of main features of theorizing about international politics
3. Describe the theoretical assumptions supporting specific claims to transformation in international politics
4. Describe and compare the historical circumstances that have given rise to various claims to transformation in international politics
5. Critically assess different theoretical approaches encountered in the module
6. Demonstrate through participation in seminar discussions their ability to apply theoretical approaches encountered to evaluating the significance of particular historical events
7. Demonstrate through a written essay an ability to apply theoretical and empirical material to answering important questions concerning the nature of international politics
8. Demonstrate an ability to respond to exam questions by drawing on a range of theoretical frameworks and empirical material.


The module is designed as the core of a new MSc scheme that would attract students, wishing to undertake graduate study in the field, but who may not already have undertaken much, or any, direct study in this area at undergraduate level. It thus serves as a graduate-level introduction to the discipline.

Brief description

A survey of major events or developments, since 1945, which have led to claims that a radical transformation has occurred in the basic nature of international politics. This will provide students with a sense of how the `essentials┬┐ of international politics have been perceived, set in the context of a brief introduction to the main theoretical schools.


1. Conceptualizing Fundamental Transformation
2. Transformation and IR Theory
3. The Nuclear Revolution
4. Decolonization and the Emergence of the Third World
5. From Power to Interdependence
6. The End of the Cold War: The Polarity Debate
7. The End of the Cold War: The New World Order
8. The End of the State: The Globalization Debate
9. The Environment: From Limits to Growth to Global Warming
10. 9/11 and the War on Terror
11. Reflections on Transformation

Module Skills

Problem solving Independent project work and problem solving will be one of the central goals of the module; both the essay and the exam will require that the student develops 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 estimate an answer to the problem; consider extreme cases; reason logically; construct theoretical models; consider similar cases; look for patterns; divide issues into smaller problems.  
Research skills The submission of the essays will reflect the independent research skills of the student. The need to locate appropriate research resources and write up the results will also facilitate research skills.  
Communication Students will learn how to present their ideas both verbally and in writing and how to assert themselves to advantage. They will understand 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 the best advantage. They will learn to be clear and 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. Seminars will be run in groups where oral discussion and presentations will form the main medium of teaching and the emphasis throughout the module will be on student participation and communication. Fellow students will be encouraged to question the paper-giver to critique their approach or to suggest areas for the development of the chosen topic; in turn each will discuss the contributions and ideas of the other.  
Improving own Learning and Performance The module aims to promote self-management but within a context of assistance from both the convener and the fellow students alike. Students will be expected to improve their own learning and performance by undertaking their own research and to exercise their own initiative, including searching for sources, compiling reading lists, and deciding (under guidance) the direction of their essay and presentation topics. The need to conduct a seminar presentation and to meet an essay deadline will focus students┬┐ attention on the need to manage their time and opportunity resources well.  
Team work Seminars will consist in part of small-group discussion where students will be obliged to discuss as a group the core issues related to seminar topics. Such class room debates and discussions are a vital component of the module.  
Information Technology Students will be expected to submit their work in word-processed format. Also, students will be encouraged to search for sources of information on the web, as well as seeking sources through electronic information sources (such as BIDS and OCLC).  
Application of Number N/A  
Personal Development and Career planning The discussions in particular will help to develop students┬┐ verbal and presentation skills. Learning about the process of planning an essay and a presentation, framing the parameters of the projects, honing and developing the projects and seeing through to completion will contribute towards their portfolio of transferable skills  
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 Ability to evaluate competing perspectives Demonstrate subject specific research techniques Apply a range of methodologies to complex political problems  


This module is at CQFW Level 7