Module code: POL2038

Module Overview

This module enables students to gain a solid understanding of key theories of International Political Economy (IPE) such as Mercantilism, Liberalism and Marxism. It strongly emphasises the political, philosophical and ethical aspects of IPE and is therefore more in-line with studies of Political Theory and Philosophy rather than Classical Economics. It therefore builds on a good understanding of International Relations, the links between history and theory and experience with empirical case studies acquired in POL1013. It deepens knowledge in political and social philosophy acquired in POL1014, specifically on questions of liberty, welfare, and justice. The acquired knowledge should be applied in a critical fashion for the analysis of case studies. Multi-national corporations and institutions in the International Trade and Monetary System are introduced as key actors in the international political economic environment. Students will be able to discuss and debate the role of these institutions in the development of, and their behaviour during, crises, with focus on the Asia-Pacific region. Current and future challenges to the status quo of IPE are discussed as well. The acquired knowledge on state and market relations, the focus on non-Western case studies together with presentation and communication skills directly link the module to Level 6 modules POL3090 and POL3072.

Module provider


Module Leader

CURTIS Simon (Politics)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 5

Module cap (Maximum number of students): 60

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 106

Lecture Hours: 11

Seminar Hours: 11

Guided Learning: 11

Captured Content: 11

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Topics discussed are likely to include but not be limited to the following:

  • Theories of IPE

  • The international trade system

  • The international monetary system

  • Multi-national cooperation

  • Developmental strategies

  • New challenges

The above module content will be discussed at both the theoretical and empirical levels. Students are therefore expected to develop their theoretical understandings of IPE and apply these to selected case studies and related evidence.

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Oral exam or presentation Powerpoint Group Presentation 20
Coursework Coursework: Reflective Report 20
Examination Online Open Book Exam 60

Alternative Assessment

Alternative assessment is a mini-essay on the group presentation and script and film plan, (800 words) 20% x 2

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate

  • Their knowledge, skills, and critical thinking on key theoretical debates in IPE which includes the ability to identify variations in theories and concepts

  • Comprehensive understanding and capacity to apply justified theoretical arguments to the analysis of a non-Western country case study

  • Capacity to deliver a focused critical analysis of a problem related to the action of IPE actors and non-Western country case study and communicate it to diverse audiences

  • Engagement with different learning backgrounds and maximise their learning by drawing on their own experiences and contributions to group discussions.

  • Ability to group work and a critical analysis in an engaging presentation

  • Engagement with different academic disciplines and technological and artistic resources to communicate research insights

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

  • PowerPoint Group Presentation 

  • Coursework: Reflective Report 

  • Open Book Exam online

Assessment deadlines advised prior to the beginning of each semester.

Formative assessment and feedback

Students will receive verbal feedback on their performance during lectures/seminars and in one to one meetings. Additionally, students will receive detailed written feedback on their group presentation and individual feedback on their supporting documentation and their essay by the module leader. They also receive written feedback on the presentations by peers, also mini lecture videos, and collaborative work with students outside the department. Furthermore summative work will include feedback summarised in a cover sheet. Feedback is module-specific but is also designed to be used for feed-forward to other aspects of the degree programme as well.

Module aims

  • To introduce students to the main theoretical approaches and philosophical underpinnings and reflect on the variations within theoretical approaches which allows for a critical understanding of International Political Economy (IPE)
  • To familiarise students with major debates in IPE and the contribution of IPE to International Politics
  • To show the importance to IPE debates and their theoretical underpinnings for the analysis of current developments in international and domestic political and economic debates and allow students to apply theories and concept to demonstrate critical knowledge
  • To define the features and impact of actors in IPE and to illustrate this which country case studies in East Asia to argue convincingly with suitable evidence from non-Western cases studies
  • To train students in the understanding, description, comparison and analysis of politico-economic development in IPE.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Critically reflect on major theoretical perspectives of International Political Economy (IPE) KCP
002 Identify and evaluate major IPE theories and their contribution to understanding of the world with special focus on the politics and international relations of the Asia-Pacific region KCP
003 Gain a deeper understanding of the of the economic forces that shape international relations and communicate this to a lay audience KCPT
004 Demonstrate the ability to critically analyse a case study, applying justified theoretical frameworks to empirical evidence KCPT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:

The teaching strategy follows a specifically developed model of engagement with students. This includes a discursive teaching style in which borders between lectures and seminars are fluid. The lectures/seminars will consciously not use any electronic support systems such Microsoft PowerPoint etc and instead focus on engaging students and on their active participation. Hence students will be expected to actively follow and also contribute to discussions during classes based on the reading material and their anticipated knowledge of current affairs. For post-class preparation brief lecture summaries are made available via the virtual learning environment. Students are constantly encouraged to formulate their own lines of enquiry, thus developing and testing their skills in respect of making appropriate critical judgments in respect of both theory and empirics. Following initial weeks of theoretical discussions in combined lecture/seminars key actors in IPE will be discussed in a lecture, which is followed by a group presentation by students on a specific aspect of the actors impact on a country case. The presentations are assessed and they are accompanied by a student-led discussion on the topic. A key element of the learning strategy is that students learn through communicating their independent research to an outside informed audience. Through a in collaborative film project students work with Film and Video Production Technology (FVPT) students to find novel forms of content communication. Students will receive a basic understanding of film making through guest lectures and the collaboration with FVPT students.

The learning and teaching methods include: lectures/seminars, presentations, student-led discussions, independent study, enquiry-based learning and prescribed reading. Classes are run in 2 hour sessions over an 11 week period. n preparation of the class, short videos with original mini lectures on specific concepts are made available via the virtual learning environment. This allows for deeper discussions in-class. For post-class preparation brief lecture summaries are also made available via the virtual learning environment. Students use Microsoft Teams to communicate with classmates in FVPT to cooperate on their film project and with IPE classmates for presentation preparations

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: POL2038

Other information

Digital Capabilities

Students are encouraged to work together in groups, utilising collaborative tools available by the university (Microsoft Teams) or communication and social media resources available by private commercial providers (WhatsApp etc). As with all modules, students are expected to engage with online material and resources via SurreyLearn, and other digital platforms.

Students will acquire further digital capabilities through the collaborative film project which requires an understanding of digital filming and editing. These skills will be acquired through guest lectures and in the field experience and peer-training.


This module provides students with a further deepening of their training on key research and analytical skills. Further transferable skills strengthened are group presentation capabilities and the ability to critically evaluate and communicate findings. The film project furthermore strengthens collaborative and project management skills as well as digital, technical, and artistic skills.

Resourcefulness and Resilience

The various assessment methods in this module strengthen resourcefulness through project-based learning and cross-departmental cooperation. Students will experience the challenge of the unknown working and communication methods in the collaborative project together in which students will have to support and rely on each other. The short-time frame of the project strengthens psychological resilience and time management that is further emphasised through the in-class examination.


The module emphasises the critical assessment of contemporary economic models and approaches to development. Students engage with green and feminist approaches to IPE in one week as well as sustainable development and post-growth economics in another week.

Global and Cultural Capabilities

The module is based on a global perspective with a focus on the analysis of non-Western case studies and wider questions of responsibilities in economic and political development. Diverse experiences and views on development are encouraged and students are motivated to share experiences and knowledge from their own cultures and backgrounds and mutual respect.


Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
International Relations BSc (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Politics BSc (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Politics and Economics BSc (Hons) 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Public Affairs MPA 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Politics and Sociology BSc (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2023/4 academic year.