Module code: POL3090

Module Overview

In this module students will develop and extend their knowledge and understanding of International Relations in respect of both the discipline and the practice. The module builds on work done in previous modules, particularly POL1012 Intro to International Relations, POL1019 Contemporary International History, POL2038 International Political Economy, POL2029 Them and Us: Comparative Government and Politics and POL2030 Theorising International Relations. It is therefore expected that students will enter the module with a developed understanding of International Relations and Comparative Politics theories and approaches with the aim of connecting these to the case studies discussed. The module provides an examination of the domestic-foreign policy linkages between China and the areas of the so-called Greater China region (Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macau) and beyond. It thus examines China in the broader context and focuses on its role in the region and beyond building on an understanding of the PRC's societal and institutional transformation. This will develop students’ knowledge and understanding of China's growing role in the world while at the same time highlighting the linkages between the domestic and international sphere, the importance of socio-historical context and alternative approaches to analyse international relations.

Module provider


Module Leader

KAEDING Malte (Politics)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 6

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

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 100

Seminar Hours: 22

Guided Learning: 17

Captured Content: 11

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative content includes:

The course will examine the domestic-foreign policy linkages between China and the areas of the so-called Greater China region (Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macau) and beyond.

The class will provide an introduction into the contemporary political developments in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Macau and how leaders and structures shape these development and mutual relations.

This will be deepened in discussions on topics such as nationalism, economic and democratic developments, corruption and anti-corruption, foreign investments, and diplomatic strategies.

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Oral exam or presentation GROUP PRESENTATION 20
Coursework 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:

  • Critical engagement with the relevant literature, e.g. to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of key debates in the rise of China

  • Demonstrate understanding of the need to apply theoretical arguments to the analysis of actual events and actions

  • Demonstrate capacity to apply theoretical arguments to the analysis of contemporary international affairs

  • Identify appropriate and feasible area for analysis

  • Identify and apply appropriate methodological approach

  • Demonstrate excellent study, research and team-working skills

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

    • Demonstrate the ability to group work and a critical analysis in an engaging presentation

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

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

  • Group Presentation

  • Supporting documentation for presentation

  • Open Book Exam

Formative assessment and feedback:

Students will receive verbal feedback on their performance during lectures/seminars, and in one to one meetings during office hours. Additionally, students will receive detailed written feedback on their group presentation and individual feedback on their supporting documentation by the module leader. They also receive written feedback on the presentations by peers. Furthermore summative coursework will be receiving 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

  • Understand the evolution of China's political institutions and discuss their roles in the governance of China and articulate the different theoretical and ideological viewpoints on China’s development in the last twenty years
  • Build on the work of previous modules and so allow students to deepen their understanding of IR and Comparative Politics generally and the contribution of non-Western case studies.
  • Deepen students' knowledge of the role of various actors that influence Chinese (foreign) policy and understand how nationalism plays a crucial part in China’s foreign relations
  • Through the analysis of empirical evidence and theoretical literature, develop students' ability to think and reflect critically.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Draw upon already existing research and analytical skills, necessary for the application of theory to empirical examples, in order to determine, and account for, the manner in which actors at political and societal levels function in the contemporary world. CKP
002 Critically evaluate the development of China and its changing role in the region and internationally through a series of case studies and application of theory CKP
003 Comment critically on the relationship of theory to practice. CKP
004 Use existing research skills to locate relevant empirical examples and theoretical debates and to make connections between seemingly unrelated events. CKP
005 Communicate appropriately academic arguments persuasively and fluently in speech and writing PT
006 Develop presentation skills. PT
007 Manage large amounts of data effectively, employing a range of skills PT
008 Develop critical faculties and the ability to assess evidence independently and in dialogue with others PT

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: Develop students’ capacities as independent learners, to deepen their knowledge and understanding of theoretical and empirical issues in the study of the Greater China region, a field situated between the disciplines of Comparative Politics and International Relations. It requires students to develop their research and critical thinking skills and to manage large sets of data appropriately.

Students will do a short individual presentation on a leader from the Greater China region to reflect on the relationship between agency and the economic, political, and geo-strategic structures in the area.

Group presentations will allow students to build and develop team-working skills. Students are given the opportunity to formulate their own lines of inquiry, thus developing and testing their skills in respect of making appropriate critical judgments in respect of both theory and empirical evidence.

A key element of the learning strategy is that students learn through communicating their independent research on a topic in the Greater China region 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 to fulfill this formative project.  Students are encouraged to engage and collaborate with Surrey students from the Greater China region on the project.

In 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 POL3090 classmates for presentation preparations.

The learning and teaching methods include lectures, video mini lectures, seminars, independent study, individual and group presentations, group projects, prescribed reading and group discussions. Classes are run at different times in the semester. One-hour lectures will introduce students to the subject matter, which will subsequently be discussed in weekly hour-long seminars. Borders between lectures and seminars are fluid and lectures are held in a discursive style. Students will be expected to contribute actively during seminars, having prepared to contribute to discussions based on the reading material.

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: POL3090

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. The film project furthermore strengthens collaborative and project management skills as well as digital, technical, and artistic skills.


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.

Resourcefulness and Resilience

The various assessment methods in this module strengthen resourcefulness through project-based learning. Students are engaging with a geographical and cultural area they are unfamiliar with and must support each other in their collaborative learning. Students will also 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.

Global and Cultural Capabilities

The module is based on a global perspective with a focus the Greater China geographic region and wider questions of responsibilities in economic and political development. Cultural sensitivities and different non-Western perspectives are highlighted in class discussions and through various guest lectures by experts and activists from the geographical region discussed. 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
Law with International Relations LLB (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 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
International Relations BSc (Hons) 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 2025/6 academic year.