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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Centre for Open Learning : Social and Political Science

Undergraduate Course: Debating International Relations (SSPS08011)

Course Outline
SchoolCentre for Open Learning CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 8 (Year 1 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryContemporary debates in International Relations Summer School course will examine concepts and theories in politics and IR. Debates around issues such as power and democracy will be discussed as will Classic IR theories such as Realism and Liberalism. These will be related to real world politics with issues such as Syria, and Brexit in the spotlight. We will also examine structures and agents as well as variety of internationally focused key issues such as nuclear proliferation, terrorism and humanitarian interventions. To assess these topics, contemporary political events such as the US domestic politics, Russia new nuclear weapon strategy, and the role of non-state actors will be examined. Researchers and experts in their respective political field will be invited to provide relevant and up-to-date knowledge, such as nuclear proliferation and migration policy. The students will also develop skills in critical analysis and the capacity to express ideas and knowledge both in writing and in group discussion.
Course description This course debates the major principles, concepts, actors, and theories of the international system and their application to current issues in world affairs. The course is divided into two parts. Part one examines a number of theoretical approaches drawn from different intellectual traditions in the discipline, including classical and contemporary realism, liberalism, constructivism, Marxism and radical approaches to International Relations, as well as contemporary debates on power- structures and globalization. The second part discusses a number of current policy issues such as terrorism and security, human rights, governance and global institutions, global trade and finance, the environment and poverty and development.

The course consists of lectures and seminars. Lecture classes will be a combination of lecture, followed by small group activities, and ending with a question and answer session. Seminars will be more informal, with more time spent on conversation, class activities and revision.

It is very important to come to class on time and prepared with the readings completed. Students are expected to participate actively during the course and to bring up questions that they emerge during the course. The course material is cumulative, so each class will build on the information from previous classes.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2020/21, Part-year visiting students only (VV1) Quota:  30
Course Start Lifelong Learning - Winter Session
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 70, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 126 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Coursework: 2500 word essay (100%)

A compulsory essay plan of up to 750 words (template provided) will be required as part of the formative assessment and in preparation for the final essay.
Feedback Essay Plans will be returned in time to complete the Final essay before the deadline. Essays will be returned within 14 days of essay submission.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate a critical understanding of the main theories in IR.
  2. Demonstrate knowledge of, and the ability to reflect on the key structures and agents that constitute international relations and global politics.
  3. Critically assess debates and contemporary issues in in the light of different international relations theories and the structure/agent relationship.
  4. Demonstrate an insight into the debate on and effects of globalisation.
  5. Apply the theoretical knowledge gained in analyses of concrete processes and changes in contemporary international relations.
Reading List
Baylis, J., S. Smith and P. Owens (2014) (eds), The Globalization of World Politics, 6th ed., Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Brown, C. and K. Ainley (2009) Understanding International Relations. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan
Heywood, A. (2014) Global Politics, 2nd ed.. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Knowledge of key issues, concepts and theories in international relations.
Application of theoretical concepts on past developments and contemporary political issues and actor-behaviour.
Critical thinking and analytical skills.
Advanced research skills.
Effective written and oral communication skills.
Global citizenship.

KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserMs Kate McHugh
Tel: (0131 6)51 1589
Course secretaryMs Kameliya Skerleva
Tel: (0131 6)51 1855
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