International Organisations

This information is for the 2013/14 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Jens Meierhenrich CLM 6.07


This course is compulsory on the BSc in International Relations and BSc in International Relations and History. This course is available on the BSc in Environmental Policy with Economics and BSc in Management. This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit and to General Course students.


Students should have solid foundations in International Relations (including international political theory and international history). Priori or concurrent study of international law, although not a pre-requisite, will be an advantage. 

Course content

Major theoretical and empirical aspects of the role of international organizations in international politics, including, inter alia, their impact on the practice of international cooperation and conflict, the maintenance of international peace and security, the management of international economic relations, the promotion of international environmental standards, the prosecution of international crimes, and related matters of concern to international society. International organizations to be discussed range from the League of Nations to the United Nations, from the World Bank to the World Trade Organization, from the European Union to the African Union, and from NATO to the International Criminal Court.


10 hours of lectures and 9 hours of classes in the MT. 10 hours of lectures and 10 hours of classes in the LT. 2 hours of classes in the ST.

Formative coursework

Students are expected to write four essays of a maximum length of 1,500 words each in addition to at least one presentation (introduction to discussion) given in class. Class teachers will set and mark the essays and provide feedback on student presentations.

Indicative reading

Indicative reading [Please note: 10 titles, only one of which is introductory; the 2009-2010 entry contained 8 titles, most of which were introductory]

Clive Archer, International Organizations, Third edition (London: Routledge, 2001); Michael Barnett and Martha Finnemore, Rules for the World: International Organizations in Global Politics (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2004); Jeffrey T. Checkel, ed., International Institutions and Socialization in Europe (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007); Simon Chesterman, Thomas M. Franck, and David M. Malone, eds., Law and Practice of the United Nations: Documents and Commentary (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008); Inis Claude, Swords into Plowshares: The Progress and Problems of International Organization, Fourth edition (New York: Random House, 1984); Andreas Hasenclever, Peter Mayer, and Volker Rittberger, Theories of International Regimes (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); Alastair Iain Johnston, Social States: China in International Institutions, 1980-2000 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2007); William A. Schabas, The UN International Criminal Tribunals: The former Yugoslavia, Rwanda and Sierra Leone (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006); Wallace J. Thies, Why NATO Endures (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009); Ngaire Woods, The Globalizers: The IMF, the World Bank, and Their Borrowers (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2007).


Exam (100%, duration: 3 hours) in the main exam period.

Student performance results

(2010/11 - 2012/13 combined)

Classification % of students
First 9
2:1 40.6
2:2 36.9
Third 10.7
Fail 2.9

Key facts

Department: International Relations

Total students 2012/13: 90

Average class size 2012/13: 12

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information