Thinking Globally: Studying International Relations

This information is for the 2018/19 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Karen Smith CLM 4.09

A full time member of staff will have overall responsibility for the course. LSE Fellows will be responsible for the workshop sessions.


This course is compulsory on the BSc in International Relations. This course is available on the BSc in Politics and International Relations. This course is not available as an outside option nor to General Course students.

Students for whom the course is optional must commit to the course when they choose it.

Course content

The aims of this short course are two-fold.  First, to enable you to reflect on and share ideas with other students about why you chose to study international relations and what it means to study international relations. Second, to acquire and develop the key skills you need to study international relations, including analytical skills, communications skills (verbal and written), problem solving skills and team working skills. Students will work together in small groups on the skills required for reading and taking notes; conducting research; writing essays and exams; and succeeding as an IR scholar.

Week 3: Anatomy of a discipline: what is International Relations?

Week 4: Reading international relations

Week 5: Researching international relations

Week 7: Communicating international relations

Week 8: Doing international relations.


10 hours of workshops in the MT.

There will be weekly 2 hour workshops in weeks 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 of the Michaelmas Term.

Formative coursework

There is no formal 'formative assessment' for the course.  A variety of 'formative exercises' will be used in the workshop setting aimed at developing and enhancing a range of study skills linked to the study of international relations.

Indicative reading

A.C.McKeil, ‘Student Feature – A Brief Introduction to the Study of International Relations’, e-International Relations, 3 July 2017:

Stella Cottrell, The Study Skills Handbook, 4th ed (Palgrave: 2013)

Learn to speed read tutorial: https//


There is no summative assessment for this course.

Key facts

Department: International Relations

Total students 2017/18: Unavailable

Average class size 2017/18: Unavailable

Capped 2017/18: No

Value: Non-credit bearing

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

PDAM skills

  • Leadership
  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Specialist skills