Introduction to International Relations (L2008)

15 credits, Level 4

Autumn teaching

This course introduces you to the academic study of international relations. The course outlines the specific characteristics of international relations (IR) as a distinct scholarly discipline, separate from other disciplines such as politics or sociology. The course considers what has defined IR as a distinct academic discipline and what constitutes its core conceptual and methodological coordinates at the present time. The course 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 tothem, and the methods they have generated will give you a good orientation in the disciplinary terrain of IR.


100%: Lecture


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

Contact hours and workload

This module is approximately 150 hours of work. This breaks down into about 20 hours of contact time and about 130 hours of independent study. The University may make minor variations to the contact hours for operational reasons, including timetabling requirements.

We regularly review our modules to incorporate student feedback, staff expertise, as well as the latest research and teaching methodology. We’re planning to run these modules in the academic year 2023/24. However, there may be changes to these modules in response to COVID-19, staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let our applicants know of material changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.


This module is offered on the following courses: