IR487      Half Unit
International Relations: Critical Perspectives

This information is for the 2022/23 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Katharine Millar CBG.8.13


This course is available on the MSc in International Relations, MSc in International Relations (LSE and Sciences Po) and MSc in International Relations (Research). This course is not available as an outside option.

Course content

This course examines the ways that critical theories conceive, analyse and critique the character of international relations. The purpose of the course is to provide a thorough interrogation of these theories, exploring debates both within and between them. Theoretical approaches to be considered include: classical critical theory; post-colonialism and decolonialism; post-structuralism; and feminism and queer theory. The course also interrogates issues relating to the philosophy of science.


This course is delivered through a combination of lectures and seminars totalling a minimum of 20 hours in Michaelmas Term.

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.

Students are required to submit one formative coursework (2,000-word essay). All students are expected to prepare for and participate in seminar discussions.

Indicative reading

  • Chris Brown and Kirsten Ainley (2010) Understanding International Relations, 4th Ed. (Palgrave Macmillan);
  • Patrick Jackson (2010), The Conduct of Inquiry in International Relations, (London: Routledge);
  • Christian Reus-Smit and Duncan Snidal (eds, 2010), The Oxford Handbook of International Relations, (Oxford: Oxford University Press);
  • Scott Burchill et al (eds, 2009), Theories of International Relations, 4th ed. (London: Palgrave).


Blog post (15%).
Take-home assessment (85%) in the MT.

Blog component (15%): Students will, via sign up, compose one blog post of up to 500 words applying the concepts (and readings) of the week to analyse and understand a contemporary event or phenomenon in international politics. This component is worth 10%. Students will also comment upon and engage with one (via sign up) of their peers’ posts, for a completion grade of 5%.

Take-home assessment (85%): due in Lent term: Students will compose two (2) 2000 word answers to a pre-given set of questions provided at the end of MT.

Key facts

Department: International Relations

Total students 2021/22: Unavailable

Average class size 2021/22: Unavailable

Controlled access 2021/22: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Course selection videos

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Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Problem solving
  • Communication