module specification

GI5005A - Approaches to International Relations and Foreign Policy (2022/23)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2022/23
Module title Approaches to International Relations and Foreign Policy
Module level Intermediate (05)
Credit rating for module 15
School School of Social Sciences and Professions
Total study hours 150
42 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
108 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 100%   Essay (2000 words)
Running in 2022/23

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

Module summary

One of the central questions for the discipline of International Relations is to explain the behaviour of states in the international system. This module explores the various theoretical perspectives which can be used to understand the dynamics of the international system and how they condition state behaviour. It explores both explanatory and critical approaches to this issue, the former seeking to explain how the international system operates, with the latter seeking to transform the nature of world politics in one way or another.


The importance and development of IR Theory LO1
Realism and Neorealism LO1,LO3
Liberalism and the Democratic Peace Thesis LO3
The English School LO1,LO3
Marxism and Critical Theory LO2
Poststructuralism LO2, LO3
Feminism LO1,LO2
Environmentalism LO2
Constructivism LO1,LO3

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

Most weeks teaching will consist of a two-hour combined lecture and workshop and a one-hour seminar. Each lecture/workshop will comprise an interactive lecture followed by an activity undertaken by small groups, with the result of these activities fed back in a plenary session towards the end of the two-hour session. The seminar will involve small group discussions, debates and group work.

The module makes extensive use of blended learning, with full use of the dedicated WebLearn site for the module.

Reflective and independent learning will be encouraged through the regular interactive lectures and seminar discussions. Students will be required to attend all classes, to engage in the set activities, to prepare in advance by attempting assigned readings, to complete coursework ahead of deadlines, to access markers’ comments on their work and act on the feedback they receive.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

1. Analyse the key debates in International Relations theory.
2. Distinguish between and evaluate competing theoretical perspectives on the international system.
3. Explore the links between theory and practice in international politics.

Assessment strategy

The module will be assessed by a 2000-word essay.


Core Readings
Daddow, O. (2017) International Relations Theory, 3rd edition. London: SAGE
Dunne, T., Kurki, M. and Smith, S. (eds) (2016) International Relations Theories: Discipline and Diversity, 4th edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press

Additional Readings
Bull, H., The Anarchical Society. Houndmills, Basingstoke: Macmillan
Burchill, S. and Linklater, A. (eds) (2013) Theories of International Relations, 5th edition. Houndmills, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan
Geis, A. and Wagner, W. (2011) 'How Far is it from Konigsberg to Kandahar? Democratic Peace and Democratic Violence in International Relations', Review of International Studies 37: 4
Jackson, R. and Sorensen, G. (2016) Introduction to International Relations: Theories and Approaches, 6th edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press
Keohane, R. O. and Nye, J. S., Power and Interdependence, 4th edition. London: Longman
Mearsheimer, J. (2001) The Tragedy of Great Power Politics. New York: Norton
Reus-Smith C. and Snidal D. (eds.) (2009) The Oxford Handbook of International Relations, Oxford: Oxford University Press
Smith, K. (2017) 'The Realism that did not speak its name: E. H. Carr's diplomatic histories of the twenty years' crisis', Review of International Studies, 43: 3
Wendt, A. (1992) ‘Anarchy is What States Make of it: The Social Construction of Power Politics’, International Organization, 46: 2