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Themes & Theories in International Relations - POL00031M

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  • Department: Politics
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Alejandro Pena
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2017-18

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Autumn Term 2017-18

Module aims

This module enables students to understand, explain, critique, and apply contemporary International Relations theory. The module examines contemporary International Relations theory at an advanced level. Students will examine how we come to know what International Relations is, and consider debates over the role of theory in explaining, understanding and constituting International Relations. The module introduces students to a range of contemporary issues in International Relations and explores how application of different conceptual frameworks generates different forms of understanding and explanation.

Module learning outcomes

Students will develop a detailed understanding of competing theoretical perspectives in International Relations and an important awareness of the relationship between theory, context and practice and the contingency of knowledge claims about international politics.


Task Length % of module mark
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
N/A 100

Module feedback

Students will receive written timely feedback on their formative assessment. They will also have the opportunity to discuss their feedback during the module tutor's feedback and guidance hours.

Students will receive written feedback on their summative assessment no later than six weeks after submission; and the module tutor will hold a specific session to discuss feedback, which students can also opt to attend. They will also have the opportunity to discuss their feedback during the module tutor's regular feedback and guidance hours.

Indicative reading

Tim Dunne, Milja Kurki and Steve Smith, International Relations Theories: Discipline and Diversity, 2nd ed. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010)

Richard Mansbach and Kirsten Rafferty, Introduction to Global Politics (London: Routledge, 2008)

Steve Smith, Ken Booth, and Marysia Zalewski, International Theory: Positivism and Beyond, (Cambridge University Press, 1996)

For those with no political science or international relations background read Dan Drezner, Theories of International Politics and Zombies (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2011)

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.