Foundations of International Relations (pathway elective) (005RE)

15 credits, Level 4

Spring teaching

This module introduces you to some of the main theories and conceptual frameworks for understanding International Relations (IR). We will consider how IR has been constituted as a distinct scholarly discipline. We will also think about who and what is served by the different lenses through which scholars analyse international relations.

  • What role have colonialism and race played in the making of the modern international order, as well as in shaping received ideas about world politics?
  • How are global patterns of inequality and violence related to the dynamics of global capitalism?
  • Why – when the first departments of International Relations were set up – did they not asks these questions, but instead focused on relations between states?
  • What is the significance of international institutions like the UN? To what extent do they help make the world more peaceful and cooperative?
  • What about the role of identities and how we see the relations between self and other? How do gender relations affect all of this?
  • How and why do all these theories matter in the ‘real world’?


100%: Practical (Workshop)


100%: Written assessment (Essay)

Contact hours and workload

This module is approximately 150 hours of work. This breaks down into about 22 hours of contact time and about 128 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 2024/25. However, there may be changes to these modules in response to feedback, staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let you know of any material changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.


This module is offered on the following courses: