Module code: POL1013

Module Overview

This module introduces the discipline of International Relations, exploring key global events and their interrelationship with the development of theoretical perspectives.

Students will be introduced to both mainstream and critical perspectives, exploring both their basis in philosophy and their practical applications in analysis. They will also explore empirical case areas that present major challenges in international politics and current affairs, including developments on environment and climate change, security, human rights and globalisation.

Module provider


Module Leader

GILLESPIE Ciaran (Politics)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 4

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 97

Lecture Hours: 11

Seminar Hours: 11

Guided Learning: 20

Captured Content: 11

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

The module introduces the discipline of International Relations in two sections.

The first half of the module explores foundational theory perspectives to create the necessary knowledge base in the study of international politics and current global affairs, and to connect other modules in Levels 5 and 6. The second half explores important empirical case studies to develop global and cultural intelligence especially around less explored areas of the discipline.

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework PRESENTATION 40
Coursework TAKE-HOME EXAM 60

Alternative Assessment

Written critique of a theoretical approach in place of the presentation (500 words). 

Assessment Strategy

Students are given the opportunity to demonstrate development across two key academic and professional skill areas: (1) professional presentation and (2) coursework in the form of a take-home exam. For the presentations, students are given a range of options to showcase digital skill sets either via video editing and production, audio annotation or more traditional PowerPoint slideshows. In their coursework, set as a take-home exam, students are given a series of questions to which they must respond with short, succinct, high-quality research that is produced independently through resourceful thinking and rigorous sourcing. This will develop student resourcefulness and resilience in avoiding contingencies and drawbacks. Both assessments are designed to faciliate academic development within their programme for future modules, but also for responding to a fast-paced working environment, encompassing key employability parameters. 

Formative feedback will be provided in a number of occasions throughout the module. 

Module aims

  • Provide students with an overview of the development of International Relations as an academic discipline, considering its relationship to historical eras; and in doing so, provide a solid foundation in global and cultural intelligence useful for advanced International Relations modules in Levels 5 and 6.
  • Assist students in developing a theoretical vocabulary by introducing them to the major approaches to the study of international relations;
  • Enable students to describe, analyse and understand key issues of historical and contemporary significance, such as conflict, globalisation and human rights;
  • Encourage students to think critically about these issues, their own views and the role that different theoretical approaches have in shaping our understandings.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Demonstrate familiarity with major debates in International Relations, concerning both theoretical and substantive topic matter; KCPT
002 Engage critically with central texts on key issues such as war, globalisation and the environment; KCPT
003 Begin to apply theoretical frameworks (e.g. Realist, Liberal, and Constructivist) to empirical analysis. KCT
004 Development of key academic and professional skills in both seminar discussions (global and cultural intelligence) and through assessments that test digital skills, resourcefulness and build resilience. PT
005 Development of sector knowledge to enhance employability in tandem with other modules at Level 4 PT
006 Reflection of key challenge areas in global politics, from climate change to refugee crises that promote sustainable thinking and cultural understanding of current affairs 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:

Introduce students to a new topic, and provide room for student-led discussion of the topic.

The learning and teaching methods include:

  •  lecture 1x11

  •  seminar 1x11

In addition to the direct contact time, students will be supplied with additional digital and captured content resources to enrich their digital capabiliies and be supported through guided learning in better comprehending the content of the module.

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: POL1013

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Public Affairs MPA 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Law with International Relations LLB (Hons) 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Politics BSc (Hons) 1 Compulsory 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
International Relations BSc (Hons) 1 Compulsory 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 2025/6 academic year.