Introduction to International Relations (L2008)

15 credits, Level 4

Autumn teaching

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.


100%: Lecture


50%: Coursework (Essay)
50%: Written assessment (Essay)

Contact hours and workload

We’re currently reviewing contact hours for modules and will update with further information as soon as it is available.

This module is running in the academic year 2019/20. We also plan to offer it in future academic years. It may become unavailable due to staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let our applicants know of such changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.


This module is offered on the following courses: