International Politics

This information is for the 2020/21 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Jennifer Jackson Preece CBG.7.05


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.


This course is delivered through a combination of classes and lectures totaling a minimum of 40 hours across Michaelmas, Lent and Summer 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. 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 1 essay in the LT.

Students deliver seminar presentations and write two 2,000-word essays for their seminar teachers.

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 Relations1919-1999 (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).


Take-home assessment (100%) in the ST.

Student performance results

(2016/17 - 2018/19 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 17
Merit 51.8
Pass 26.4
Fail 4.8

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: 115

Average class size 2019/20: 13

Controlled access 2019/20: Yes

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

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