IR100GC      Half Unit
International Relations: Theories, Concepts and Debates (Spring Semester)

This information is for the 2020/21 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Yuna Han CBG.10.08 and Dr Tristen Naylor CBG.10.07


This course is available to General Course ‘Spring Semester’ students.

Course content

An examination of the concepts designed to explain the nature of contemporary international relations, focussing on critical theoretical perspectives.

1. The emergence of the discipline and the nature of its subject matter.

2. Key agential concepts in IR: state; empire; international and subnational agents; foreign policy.

3. Key structural concepts in IR: the states system; Euro-centrism, globalisation, post-colonialism; global governance; security.

4. Key institutional concepts in IR: international society; great powers; diplomacy; war; international law and human rights.

5. Key sociological concepts in IR: power and sovereignty; intervention; gender; hierarchy.


This course is delivered through a combination of classes and lectures totaling a minimum of 20 hours across Lent Term. This year, some or all of this teaching will be delivered through a combination of online lectures and in-person classes/classes delivered online. This course includes a reading week in Week 6 in line with departmental policy.

Formative coursework

Students are required to write one essay of approximately 1,500 words. 

Indicative reading

A full course description and guide to reading will be provided: relevant course texts include J Baylis & S Smith (Eds), Globalisation and World Politics, 2nd edn, (Oxford UP, 2001); C Brown, Understanding International Relations, 2nd edn (Macmillan, 2001); R Jackson & G Sørensen, Introduction to International Relations (OUP, revised edn., 2003).


Online assessment (100%) in the ST.

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2020/21 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the situation of students in attendance on campus and those studying online during the early part of the academic year. For assessment, this may involve changes to mode of delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: International Relations

Total students 2019/20: Unavailable

Average class size 2019/20: Unavailable

Capped 2019/20: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Leadership
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Communication