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2023/24 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

PIED2501 Theories of International Relations

20 creditsClass Size: 205

Module manager: Dr Adrian Gallagher

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2023/24

This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

We live in one world but there are many theories which offer competing interpretations of international events. This module offers students advanced training in International Relations Theory (IR) by critically analysing rival theories. As part of which, students will develop critical thinking through assessing the strengths and weaknesses of each approach. Furthermore, lectures and seminars will apply these theories to understanding contemporary international developments and in so doing, ask students to consider the relationship between theory and practice at the international level.


Provide students with an advanced training in international relations theories. As a result, students will be able to:
i) understand the utility of theory,
ii) apply theory to contemporary international developments
iii) critical analyse rival theoretical approaches.

Learning outcomes
Demonstrate an understanding of the major themes, concepts and debates in the discipline of International Relations

Be able to critically analyse the strengths and weaknesses of each theoretical approach.

Demonstrate a critical understanding of the philosophical and practical issues that underpin the study and practice of International Relations.


The module introduces students to fundamental theoretical approaches in International Relations such as Realism and Neo-realism, Liberalism and Neo-liberalism, Race and Eurocentricism, The English School, Constructivism, Cosmopolitanism, Marxism and Critical Theory, Feminism, and Poststructuralism.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours180.00
Total Contact hours20.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Students are required to do a considerable amount of reading, be able to respond in an appropriate manner to the material and engage in class discussions.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Assessment is an integral part of the module’s learning outcomes and facilitates the participant’s development of core skills such as problem solving, information management, research and analytical skills. There will be a 750 word formative essay (Non Assessed)Student in preperation for the 3000 word essay submission. Tutors will also monitor student progression informally through seminars by looking at individual student engagement and understanding.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay1 x 3,000 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: 12/09/2023


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