International Institutions

This information is for the 2021/22 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Mathias Koenig-Archibugi CBG.3.38


This course is available on the 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) 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.

All students are required to obtain permission from the Teacher Responsible by completing the online application form linked to course selection on LSE for You.

This course has a limited number of places (it is controlled access). In previous years we have been able to provide places for most students that apply, but that may not continue to be the case

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.


This course is delivered through a combination of classes and lectures totalling a minimum of  40 hours across Michaelmas and Lent Term. This year, some or all of this teaching will be delivered through a combination of online lectures and in-person seminars/seminars delivered online.

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

Formative coursework

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

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

Indicative reading

Volker Rittberger, Bernhard Zangl, Andreas Kruck and Hylke Dijkstra. 2019. International Organization: Polity, Politics and Policies, Third Edition, London: Red Globe Press

Ian Hurd. 2018. International Organizations: Politics, Law, Practice, Third Edition. Cambridge: 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


Essay (100%, 4000 words) in the LT.

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

(2017/18 - 2019/20 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 20
Merit 55
Pass 20
Fail 5

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: 47

Average class size 2020/21: 10

Controlled access 2020/21: Yes

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information