International Organizations POLITIC4171

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Social and Political Sciences
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This course will introduce students to the study of international organizations (IOs). The three main questions this course asks are: Why do IOs exist? What role(s) do they play in solving global problems? How should IOs be studied? Theoretically, the course will draw primarily on International Relations (IR), with complementary perspectives from Global Governance, Political Economy, and Organizational Sociology. Empirically, the course will cover IOs in diverse issue areas such as peace and security, trade and finance, and development cooperation.


This course may not be running this year. For further information, please check the Politics Moodle page or contact the subject directly.

Requirements of Entry

Mandatory Entry Requirements: Entry to Honours Politics requires a grade point average of 12 (Grade C) over Politics 2A and Politics 2B at the first attempt.

Excluded Courses





The summative assessment consists of two parts (with weights indicated):

1. An essay of 2,500 words (50%), on a given topic.

2. Three quizzes taken in class, of which only the best two will count towards the final grade (50%). Quizzes are administered at the beginning of each class (10 minutes). They aim to test comprehension of the readings on a conceptual, analytical, or methodological level.towards the final grade (30%).

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable for Honours courses


Course Aims

The course aims at introducing students to the study of IOs in International Relations, Global Governance, Political Economy, and Organizational Sociology. It will familiarize them with the core concepts, key debates, and empirical approaches to studying IOs in these fields. The course will focus on the most important IOs in various issue areas-including peace and security, trade, finance, and development-aiming to provide students with knowledge about how these organizations are governed, why they exist, what organizational features they inhabit, and how effective they are in solving global governance problems. The course will not only survey key theoretical debates but also relate them to the empirical events and policy discussions on the role of IOs in an increasingly interconnected world.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ Identify and express the leading theoretical explanations within the field of IR and related disciplines for why IOs exist, how they operate, and how they influence the behavior of both states and non-state actors

■ Identify key IOs in various issue areas of international cooperation (such as the IMF, the United Nations, the World Bank, and the WTO), describe their most important organizational features, and compare those features across different organizations

■ Apply a range of theoretical arguments to analyze cases of international cooperation and argue whether or not IOs were critical to sustaining cooperation

■ Assess the relevance of competing theoretical viewpoints using appropriate empirical evidence and advance reasoned and factually supported arguments

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.