International Organisations

This information is for the 2021/22 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Theresa Squatrito CBG 8.08


This course is available on the BSc in International Relations, BSc in International Relations and Chinese, BSc in International Relations and History and BSc in Politics and International Relations. This course is not available as an outside option. This course is available with permission to General Course students.

This course has a limited number of places (it is capped).


Students should have a background in International Relations. Prior familiarity with international relations theory is an advantage, but not necessary.

Course content

International organizations abound, ranging from the World Trade Organization, the European Union, and the United Nations. These institutions are forums for international cooperation and global problem solving, and they often have profound effects on the everyday interactions of states, with ultimate consequences for the lives of people worldwide. This course draws on theories of international institutions to explain comparatively the role of International Organisations in international politics. These questions include why states create International Organisations, why states transfer certain powers to them, how decisions in International Organisations are made, and what impact they have on international cooperation and matters of concern to international society. The course explores these questions across a wide-range of issues, including international peace and security, international economic relations, global environmental politics, and human rights. International organisations to be discussed include the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the World Trade Organization, NATO, the International Criminal Court and regional organisations like the European Union, the African Union, and ASEAN.


This course is delivered through a combination of classes and lectures totaling a minimum of 40 hours across Michaelmas Term, 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, 1 essay in the LT and 1 presentation in either MT or LT.

Formative essays are 1,500 words. Class teachers will mark the essays and provide feedback on student presentations.

Indicative reading

Ian Hurd (2018): International Organizations: Politics, Law, Practice, 3rd edition (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press);

Volker Rittberger, Bernhard Zangl and Andreas Kruck, and Hylke Dijkstra International Organization: Polity, Policy, Politics, 3rd ed. (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2019).


Essay (30%, 2000 words) in the MT.
Take-home assessment (70%) in the ST.

The essay will be from a fixed range of questions.  The essay topics will be posted on Moodle before Week 9 of the MT and will focus on the theories and conceptual material covered in the first part of the course. 

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Student performance results

(2018/19 - 2020/21 combined)

Classification % of students
First 20.6
2:1 61.2
2:2 15.8
Third 0.6
Fail 1.8

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2021/22 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 differing needs of students in attendance on campus and those who might be studying online. For example, this may involve changes to the mode of teaching 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 2020/21: 58

Average class size 2020/21: 10

Capped 2020/21: Yes (60)

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information