International Relations Theory POLITIC5065

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Social and Political Sciences
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: No

Short Description

This course will examine the major theoretical traditions and the principal critiques of these traditions in the study of international politics. Particular attention will be paid to key historical, methodological and epistemological debates that have shaped the discipline.


2 hour seminar held weekly for 10 weeks

Requirements of Entry

Open to postgraduate students only

Excluded Courses





Two essays of 2000-2500 words, each worth 50% of the overall grade.

Course Aims

-to place the development of international theory in historical context;
- to examine critically the purpose of international theory, both as explanatory theory and emancipatory theory

-to consider the major traditions of grand theory in the study of international politics;

-to consider major critiques of this tradition;

-to explore changing ideas about how to think about international theory, especially non-statist approaches.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

-understand the major theoretical traditions of international politics in substantive, methodological and epistemological terms;

-analyse these traditions in terms of their core normative problems, unit of analysis, world image, and mood;

-understand the key claims of individualist, statist and systematic theories in international politics;

-be able to identify and employ the concepts and categories employed by critics of grand theory;

-be able to advance reasoned and factually supported arguments both orally and writing.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Completion of formative and summative assessment elements.

Minimum overall marl of 60.