module specification

GI4005S - Introduction to International Relations (2022/23)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2022/23
Module status DELETED (This module is no longer running)
Module title Introduction to International Relations
Module level Certificate (04)
Credit rating for module 15
School School of Social Sciences and Professions
Total study hours 150
45 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
105 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 100%   2,000 Briefing Paper
Running in 2022/23

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Spring semester North Monday Afternoon

Module summary

The broad aim is to develop an understanding of the fundamentals of the study of international relations. In particular to:

1. Analyse historical precedents and the institutions underlying contemporary international relations.
2. Understand the contemporary challenges facing the world and the institutional and political factors which hinder, or help provide, solutions to these problems.
3. Make informed judgements about current international affairs – and future developments – within the larger theoretical frameworks and approaches to international relations.


The syllabus will include: Nuclear Proliferation and Weapons of Mass Destruction; Cultural Conflict in World Affairs; Terrorism; The Environment in International Relations; Poverty; Gender and Sexuality in International Relations; Race; Genocide; Human Rights; Humanitarian Aid; Democratization; Genocide; and Human Security. LO1,LO2,LO3,LO4,LO5,LO6

A key element of the syllabus will be skills specific, supporting students in developing learning skills for life. This will include class taught skills and exercises using blended learning opportunities on the VLE. The applicability of these skills to enhancing employability will be explored. LO4,LO5,LO6

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

Teaching consists of a weekly two hour lecture followed by a one hour tutorial. Lectures will involve a combination of taught lectures, videos, skills workshops, and the use of primary and secondary documents and websites. During the module seminars will combine a variety of methods including discussion based on pre-set questions and role plays. Blended Learning will be a key component of the module, building on existing face-to-face contact time via a virtual environment, and offering additional resources for students to develop further their subject knowledge and skills. Lecture notes and primary and secondary documents for use in class will be posted on line, as will web links for academic and governmental websites, as well as video links.  Lecture recordings will be made available on line.

Materials for use in class will be posted at least one week in advance on line to allow students to reflect on the subject and prepare. Questions for class discussion will be available from the beginning of the module via the Module Booklet available on weblearn, which will include a list of resources students can use to answer the questions and study the subject in greater depth.

Skills development will form a central component of the module, including specific sessions on how to write a briefing paper, complimenting skills workshops featured on other Level Four modules provided by PIR.

One activity week will also form part of the syllabus, allowing additional skills development and subject-specific study.

Learning outcomes

1. Upon completion of this module students will be better equipped to:
2. Identify key actors and processes in international relations, both historically and in the present day.
3. Assess and take an informed overview of selected contemporary international developments and issues, including critical analysis of international events, their causes, and the implications.
4. Communicate effectively in speech and writing (for example, writing an essay using commonly accepted standards of definition, analysis, grammatical prose, and documentation).
5. Use research skills, including the ability to synthesise and analyse arguments and exercise critical judgement from a variety of resources.
6. Enhance the capacity to work independently, demonstrating initiative, self-organisation and time-management, as well as co-operating with other students to achieve common goals.

Assessment strategy

One formative piece of work is required for this module. This will be a group presentation on a contemporary issue, which will be peer-reviewed in class, and will be completed by all students. This will enable students to reflect on their understanding of the subject matter to date in order to put in place learning strategies for the remainder of the module. It will also encourage the development of a variety of employability skills including: research involving information retrieval from a variety of resources; analysing and advocating solutions to problems; developing a reasoned argument; exercising critical judgement; and collaborating with others towards a common goal. 

The summative assessment will be a detailed briefing paper on a key issue covered in the module, such as terrorism, climate change, or poverty. Students will be expected to consider solutions to the issue they choose, presenting the arguments for and against, and recommending a course of action. The paper will be 2,000 words long. This will enable students to build on the summative writing and presentation exercises and will develop further many of the employability skills introduced during the module, in particular the ability to present information in a concise, well-balanced and constructive manner, drawing considered conclusions which lead to a policy recommendation. Students will also be encouraged to reflect on what they have learnt and make use of the constructive feedback they have received.


Core Reading:

Baylis, J., Smith, Smith, S. & Owens, P. (ed.s), (2017) The Globalization of World Politics: An Introduction to International Relations, 7th Edition, Oxford: Oxford University Press. 
Haynes, Jeffrey, et al., (2017) World Politics, 2nd ed., Harlow: Pearson.

Additional Reading:

Beeson, M., and Bisley, N., (eds.), (2017) Issues in 21st Century World Politics, 3rd ed., Basingstoke: Palgrave.
Daddow, O. (2013), International Relations Theory, 2nd ed., London: Sage.
Devetak, R, et al., eds., (2012), An Introduction to International Relations, 2nd ed., Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Dunne, T., et al. (2016) International Relations Theories: Discipline and Diversity, Oxford: Oxford University Press
Hough, P., Malik, S., Moran, A. & Pilbeam, B. (2015), International Security Studies, Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, e-book.
Jackson, R. & Sorensen, G., (2013), Introduction to International Relations: Theories and Approaches, 5th ed., Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Lundestad, G., ed., (2013), International Relations since the end of the Cold War: New and Old Dimensions, Oxford : Oxford University Press.
Steans, J., et al., (2010), An Introduction to International Relations Theory: Perspectives and Themes, 3rd ed., Harlow: Pearson Longman.
Weber. C., (2010), International Relations Theory: A Critical Introduction, 3rd ed., London: Routledge.

On-line resources include: Foreign Policy; Foreign Affairs; The Washington Quarterly; the Journal of International Affairs; and Survival.

Other indicative websites include:
The United Nations at
Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development at
The World Bank at
The World Trade Organization at
The Group of 77 at
The Economist at
The International Institute of Strategic Studies at
The Peace Research Institute of Oslo at
The International Atomic Energy Agency at
Chatham House at
The Council on Foreign Relations at

Students will also be encouraged to follow key individuals and organisations on social media platforms, such as Twitter.

Where possible, the most current version of reading materials will be used during the delivery of this module. Comprehensive reading lists will be provided to students in their handbooks. Reading Lists will be updated annually. Weblinks will also be updated regularly.