International Relations Theory module (PO51001)

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Module details

This module aims to provide students with a critical understanding of key concepts and methods of study in the area of International Politics and Security. We alert students to the different kinds of explanations which are offered for various characteristics and events which loom large in international politics.

Topics covered include:

  • the concepts of 'sovereignty' and its significance to the discourse & practice of international politics
  • the idea of 'power' in the international system
  • theories of integration
  • theories of aggression & war, historical explanations
  • explanations in social sciences
  • explanations and security studies
  • the concept of 'globalisation'


This module is assessed by two equally-weighted essays -

  • 2 x 3,000-3,500 words (40 credit module)
  • 2 x 2,000-2,500 words (30 credit module)


Teaching and learning is by two-hour seminars. Seminars will involve both the delivery of information, theory and concepts and student-led presentations. 

Discussion, face-to-face feedback and advice is facilitated by the support of the teaching staff.

Intended Learning Outcomes

  • An understanding of the key concepts of International Politics and Security
  • An appreciation of how different subject materials require different forms of explanation or appreciation
  • An understanding of the basic premises of scientific, social scientific, international relations, and historical modes of explanation
  • Sensitivity to the problems of objectivity, making truth claims, and understanding
  • Awareness of contemporary debates about the problems of explanation, knowledge, and understanding
  • An ability to manipulate concepts and information in this area in an advanced analytical fashion


This module is available on following courses: