International Institutions

This information is for the 2019/20 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Mathias Koenig-Archibugi


This course is available on the MPA in International Development, MPA in Public Policy and Management, MPA in Public and Economic Policy, MPA in Public and Social Policy, MPA in Social Impact, MSc in Global Politics, MSc in International Affairs (LSE and Peking University), MSc in International Relations, MSc in International Relations (LSE and Sciences Po), MSc in International Relations (Research), MSc in International Relations Theory and MSc in Theory and History of International Relations. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Course content

The first part of the course introduces the main theoretical approaches that provide alternative explanations for key questions about international institutions: their creation, institutional design, decision-making processes, their impact and their interactions with other international institutions. The second part analyses these key questions with regard to specific international institutions, including the United Nations, the European Union, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, the World Trade Organisation, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, as well as international institutions in the areas of human rights, environmental protection, and health policy.


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

Students on this course will have a reading week in Week 6, in line with departmental policy. There will be a Film Screening in MT Week 5. 

Formative coursework

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

Each seminar participant is required to give presentations on seminar topics.

Indicative reading

Volker Rittberger, Bernhard Zangl and Andreas Kruck, International Organization: Polity, Politics and Policies, second edition, Palgrave, 2012; Ian Hurd, International Organizations: Politics, Law, Practice, Cambridge University Press, 2010. 

Ian Hurd, International Organizations: Politics, Law, Practice, Cambridge University Press,


Aggarwal, V. K. and Dupont, C. (2014) Cooperation and conflict in the global political economy.

In: Ravenhill, John, Global political economy. 4th edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Fehl, C. (2004) 'Explaining the International Criminal Court: A 'Practice Test' for Rationalist and

Constructivist Approaches', European Journal of International Relations 10(3): 357-94.

Niemann, A. (2006) ‘Beyond Problem-Solving and Bargaining: Genuine Debate in EU External

Trade Negotiations’, International Negotiation 11: 467–97.


Exam (50%, duration: 2 hours) in the summer exam period.
Essay (50%, 4000 words) in the LT.

Student performance results

(2015/16 - 2017/18 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 18.8
Merit 49.5
Pass 26.7
Fail 5

Key facts

Department: International Relations

Total students 2018/19: 30

Average class size 2018/19: 15

Controlled access 2018/19: No

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information