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Theories Of International Relations (20 Credits) (Module)

Module description

This  module in advanced theories of International Relations considers the major established approaches to the subject as well as the most important debates and innovations in IR theory over the past three decades. The module covers classical and neo realism, liberal IR theory, and Marxian structural approaches, as well as more contemporary debates stemming from critical international relations theory, feminism, and postmodernism. The overall thrust of the module will be interpretive, normative and critical. Throughout the module the theories being examined will be used to advance our understanding of key developments in contemporary international affairs that have resulted from the end of the Cold War and the process of globalisation.

The aims of the Theories of International Relations module are to:

  • Present an overview of the major theories in the discipline of International Relations in their historical context.
  • Develop in depth analyses of key concepts used in the explanation of international relations and trans-national politics.
  • Demonstrate and evaluate the utility of different modes of understanding and explanation in world politics.
  • Inculcate a critical and reflective attitude towards the various schools, approaches, paradigms and traditions of interpretation in international affairs.


Learning outcomes:
By the end of the module students should be able to:

Explain and use key concepts in the study of international relations.

  • Assess and utilize key theories in the analysis of international and trans-national relations.
  • Understand the scope and limits of various IR theories.
  • Develop interpretations of past and contemporary events in international relations making use of the latest theoretical developments in the field.
  • Recognize the normative dimensions of different forms of social explanation as applied to world politics.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the key texts in the contemporary literature on IR theory and question theoretical arguments presented to them.

Staff information

Not applicable

Teaching pattern

Not applicable

Module assessment - more information

Not applicable

Key information

Module code 7SSWM160

Credit level 7


Credit value


Study abroad module No