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Introduction to International Politics

Key information

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Module description

Introduction to International Relations will introduce and critically analyse the major IR theoretical traditions. Because of the complexity of world politics, we need assumptions (i.e., criteria for thinking about what and how to study world politics) to guide our study. The different traditions – or "-isms" – provide us with these assumptions and offer us a set of different lenses through which to explore world politics. Our major aim here is to pinpoint the central tenets of competing IR theoretical approaches. The module, through practical application of theories, will explore the ways in which the main theoretical traditions compare and contrast.

Assessment details

2-hour exam (45%), essay (45%), Participation (10%) 

Educational aims & objectives

The aims of this course are to:

  • Introduce the academic study of world politics and International Relations;
  • Provide students with a critical understanding of the institutional frameworks, domestic and international structures, key actors and processes (economic, cultural and social), which shape world politics;
  • Introduce students to some of the major themes in contemporary world politics;
  • Provide a grounding in theories of International Relations, specifically how these have developed, which will provide a foundation for further development on more advanced modules;
  • Understand current issues in world politics and enable students to systematically examine and evaluate them. The course encourages students to think, talk and write in an informed, critical and theoretical manner about ongoing developments within the international system. 

Learning outcomes

By the end of this module, students should be able to:

  • Identify the central tenets of a number of International Relations theories;
  • Analyse and exercise critical judgement in relation to issues in International Relations theory and world politics;
  • Gather, organise and deploy evidence, data and information from a wide variety of secondary sources;
  • Construct reasoned argument; synthesize and analyse relevant information;
  • Work independently, demonstrating initiative, self-organisation, and time-management;
  • Communicate effectively and fluently in speech and writing.
Module description disclaimer

King’s College London reviews the modules offered on a regular basis to provide up-to-date, innovative and relevant programmes of study. Therefore, modules offered may change. We suggest you keep an eye on the course finder on our website for updates.

Please note that modules with a practical component will be capped due to educational requirements, which may mean that we cannot guarantee a place to all students who elect to study this module.

Please note that the module descriptions above are related to the current academic year and are subject to change.