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2022/23 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

PIED1511 International Politics

20 creditsClass Size: 440

Module manager: Dr Cristina Stefan/Dr Blake Lawrinson

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2022/23

This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This module starts by providing a brief historical context, to cover some of the key developments in world politics to date. Some of the most important concepts in International Politics are introduced in this context: the international system, war, peace, sovereignty, collective security, inequality, and international organisations.The main aim of this module is to introduce students to the key international issues we face today, and the puzzles these raise. This includes explaining what shaped the world we live in, and understanding the patterns of international politics (including how interests, institutions, and interactions matter in international relations). We also discuss some key structures and processes in this context, such as the changing character of war, violence by non-state actors, terrorism, and nuclear proliferation. Students get introduced to the main issues pertaining to transnational politics, such as human rights, the United Nations, international law, humanitarian intervention and ‘the Responsibility to Protect’. The module also introduces students to regionalism in international affairs, and in particular to the international politics of Asia-Pacific and the Middle East, to illustrate the variety of concepts that shape our understanding of global politics.Essential for comprehending the background behind the events that dominate our daily news, International Politics is the key if you want to make sense of the increasingly global political world that we all now inhabit.


Overall, students will achieve an understanding of the key international issues of our time, and of the fundamental patterns of world politics, including how interests, interactions, rules, norms, and institutions matter in international relations. On completion of this module, students should not only be familiar with the subject matter of international politics, but also be able to demonstrate a critical awareness of the merits and weaknesses of different theoretical approaches in explaining and understanding the key international issues covered in this module, and the contemporary international system.


1. Foundations
- What is International Politics and Why Do We Study It?
- What Shaped our World? A Historical Introduction
- Understanding Interests, Interactions, and Institutions
2. War and Peace
- Assessing how War relates to Domestic Politics and International Institutions
- Violence by Non-State Actors: Civil War and Terrorism
3. Transnational Politics
- International law and norms
- What prospects for the United Nations in today’s World?
- Human Rights, Humanitarian Intervention and the Responsibility to Protect (R2P)
4. Regional Politics
- The Politics of Asia-Pacific and the rise of China
- Key Politics of the Middle East
5. Other Important International Issues
- Human security
- Environmental Issues
- Nuclear proliferation

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Independent online learning hours11.00
Private study hours156.00
Total Contact hours33.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Students are required to read the core and additional publications listed in the module bibliography in preparation for seminar discussions and essays. This requires careful and reflective reading, note taking, summarising, and preparation for class discussion. Students need to consult the questions listed in the module handbook prior to doing the readings to guide their reflection.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Student progress will be monitored by means of: - 800 words mid-term Formative essay in preparation for final essay; - student contributions to class discussion, which will be monitored throughout the course, though not assessed; The mid-term essay exercise will provide an opportunity to receive formative feedback on written work and student progress.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay1 x 2000 word End of Term Essay100.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 29/04/2022 15:29:43


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