International Politics

This information is for the 2019/20 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Peter Wilson CBG.10.11


This course is compulsory on the MSc in International Relations and MSc in International Relations (LSE and Sciences Po). This course is not available as an outside option.

Course content

This course is a graduate-level introduction to the study of international relations. It has 5 objectives: (i) to enquire into the nature of international politics and the role of general theory in advancing our understanding of it; (ii) to introduce students to the main contributions to the general theory of international politics; (iii) to provide students with a range of concepts, ideas, and perspectives to enable them to widen and deepen their understanding of international politics; (iv) to encourage critical, independent thought on international politics; and (v) to ascertain the extent to which progress has been made in our understanding of international politics. At the end of the course students should be able to think, talk and write in an informed,precise and critical manner about developments within the field of International Relations, past and present.


10 hours of lectures and 13 hours and 30 minutes of seminars in the MT. 7 hours of lectures and 15 hours of seminars in the LT. 1 hour and 30 minutes of seminars in the ST.

Students on this course will have a reading week in Week 6, in line with departmental policy.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 1 essay in the MT and 2 essays in the LT.

Students deliver seminar papers and write three 2,000-word essays for their seminar teachers on topics notified at the beginning of the session.

Indicative reading

H. Bliddal. C. Sylvest and P. Wilson (eds.) Classics of International Relations: Essays in Criticism and Appreciation (2013)

Brown, C., Understanding International Relations, 5th edn. (Palgrave Macmillan, 2019).

Dunne, T., Cox, M., and Booth, K., (eds.) The Eighty Years’ Crisis: International Relations

1919-1999 (Cambridge University Press, 1998). Special Issue, Review of International Studies.

Grieco, J., Ikenberry, J. and Mastanduno, M. Introduction to International Relations: Enduring

Questions and Contemporary Perspectives (Palgrave, 2014).

Hobson, J., The Eurocentric Conception of World Politics: Western International Theory, 1760-

2010 (Cambridge University Press, 2012).


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

The paper contains about 12 questions, of which three are to be answered.

Student performance results

(2015/16 - 2017/18 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 15.5
Merit 49.3
Pass 31.4
Fail 3.7

Key facts

Department: International Relations

Total students 2018/19: 115

Average class size 2018/19: 14

Controlled access 2018/19: No

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

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