Skip to main content


Introduction to World Politics and International Relations

Module titleIntroduction to World Politics and International Relations
Module codeINT0026
Academic year2021/2
Module staff

Neal Dando (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

This module will provide a basic, critical introduction to world politics and international relations in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. You will require no detailed prior knowledge. However, you should have an interest in the modern world and an enquiring mind. The main focus of the module will be to examine conflict between states and the various agencies involved in the resolution, or attempted resolution, of those conflicts. ‘Power politics’ will be a central theme. The teaching will, for the most part, take place in seminars and discussion groups. You will prepare reading for these and, with the guidance of a tutor, contribute to discussions.
The module will be an ideal introduction to interdisciplinary work in the future.

Module aims - intentions of the module

This module aims to examine the relationship between states in the period since 1945. The module will explore the tensions and conflicts between states, and their origins. It will also examine the variety of mechanisms that exist to resolve these conflicts, in the form of both intergovernmental organisations and non-governmental organisations, and will assess their impact and effectiveness. 

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Describe some of the key issues and events in World Politics and International Relations, especially since 1945
  • 2. Explain some of the reasons why states go to war
  • 3. Show knowledge and understanding of the relationship between states, intergovernmental organisations and non-state organisations, and some of the ways in which they have contributed to recent international issues
  • 4. Analyse and evaluate some of the issues that contribute to conflict and conflict resolution in the area of world politics and international relations

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 5. To a standard appropriate to this level analyse and evaluate materials set for the module
  • 6. To a standard appropriate to this level show awareness of relevant issues in the wider context of culture/intellectual history

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 7. With tutor support, take responsibility for your own learning and work independently
  • 8. Communicate effectively in a format and using scholarly conventions appropriate to this discipline.

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

The syllabus may cover the following areas. 
A brief introduction to World Politics and International Relations theory

The World Today: Recent International Developments and Conflicts

The post-war world:
Lead lectures and Case Studies: These will be presented by the tutor in lecture form and include:
• Historical background to particular conflicts
• The theatre of conflict
• Attempts at resolution
States; Intergovernmental Organisations; Non-governmental Organisations
Systems of government: Democratic, Republican, Totalitarian, Fascist, Communist
Nuclear, chemical and biological weapons
Terrorism: national and international perspectives

Recent political themes of gender, race and the global environment

The above will be integrated into the case studies introduced in lectures to provide a coherent analysis of conflict and resolution

Student case studies
In discussions (online and/or face to face), the students will chose conflict zones for their case studies. Tutors will provide guidance for each student in their choice of topic. The case studies used in the lectures will act as templates for student work and will be drawn from a selection of major areas of world conflict

Learning and teaching

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Formal lectures (live or pre-recorded), seminars and e-learning60Lectures. Group seminar (online/face to face). Online e-learning activities.
Guided Independent Learning140Research, preparation tasks, assignment composition, discussion and exam revision


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Short Written Pieces200-800 words1-8Written feedback

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay401,800 words1-8Written feedback for the completed essay
Case study201,000 words1-8Written feedback
Open book Examination, 24 hour, online4024 hours1-8Written feedback


Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Examination (online)Re-sit Examination (online)1-8As soon as possible, before Exam board
CourseworkRe-submission1-8As soon as possible, before Exam Board

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for reasons judged legitimate by the Mitigation Committee, the applicable assessment will normally be deferred. See ‘Details of reassessment’ for the form that assessment usually takes. When deferral occurs there is ordinarily no change to the overall weighting of that assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to take a re-sit exam. Only your performance in this exam will count towards your final module grade. A grade of 40% will be awarded if the examination is passed.


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Aldred, J. and Mamaux, A. (2015). The Cold War c1945-1991. AQA Oxford History, OUP

Lowe, M. (2005). Mastering Modern World History. 4th Ed. Palgrave Macmillan: Basingstoke.

Murphy, D. and Morris, T. (2008). International Relations 1879-2004. Collins

Wilkinson, P. (2007). International Relations: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford Paperbacks.

Gaddis, J.L. (2007), The Cold War. London: Penguin Books

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources




Module has an active ELE page

Key words search

World Politics, International Relations, Cold War, Terrorism

Credit value20
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date