International relations

Introduction to International Relations

Module code: L2008
Level 4
15 credits in autumn teaching
Teaching method: Lecture
Assessment modes: Essay, Coursework

This module introduces you to the academic study of international relations. The module outlines the specific characteristics of International Relations (IR) as a distinct scholarly discipline, separate from other disciplines such as politics or sociology. The module considers what has defined IR as a discipline and what constitutes its core conceptual and methodological coordinates at the present time. The module approaches these questions through a consideration of the historical development of IR through a series of conceptual and methodological debates. Classically these debates are conceived of as tracing a path from idealism via realism to a pluralist methodological position. Understanding these debates, the circumstances that have given rise to them, and the methods they have generated will give you a good orientation in the disciplinary terrain of IR that will help them in contextualising the ideas they will encounter in the international theory courses in Years 1 and 2.

Module learning outcomes

  • Understand the reasons for IR as a separate social science.
  • Develop an initial understanding of the main IR paradigms and subfields.
  • Understand the relationship between theory and practice in IR.
  • Produced, in an academically acceptable manner, an essay in which they have demonstrated the ability to write about theoretical issues in International Relations.