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School of Politics and International Relations

POL251 International Relations Theory

POL251 International Relations Theory (POL251A – Autumn, POL251B – Spring)

Credits: 30
Semester: A & B

Module Convenor: Dr Jean-François Drolet
Overlap: None
Prerequisite: None

Description: This is the core second year module for BA International Relations. It is concerned with the most significant questions that confront all students of international politics: how do we explain the persistence of war and suffering in international politics? Can we hope for a better future? If so, how might we get there? What can we really know with any certainty about international politics?

The course explores these questions by examining the different traditions of thought about the character and possibilities of international politics. In Semester A, the module covers the dominant mainstream traditions: liberalism, realism, and ‘social’ theories (the English School and constructivism). In Semester B, we move onto ‘critical’ traditions: Marxism, Poststructuralism, Feminism and Postcolonialism, and we end by asking what the point and purpose of international relations theory might be.


Critical Review – 1000 words (20%), Essay 1 – 2000 words (30%), Research Essay – 3000 words (50%)

Autumn semester only associates: Critical Review – 1500 words (30%), Essay 2500 words (70%)

Spring semester only associates: Essay 1 - 1500 words (30%), Essay 2 – 2500 words (70%)

Connected course(s): Compulsory for: L250, L25Y, L240, L24Y
Level: 5

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