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

Undergraduate Course: Introduction to International Relations (SSPS07003)

Course Outline
SchoolCentre for Open Learning CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 7 (Year 1 Undergraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryThis course is for CAHSS International Foundation Programme students only. It is not available to undergraduate students.

This course will give students a broad introduction to the multi-disciplinary field of International Relations. IIR will explore relations between states, such as China and the US, international governmental organisations, such as the EU and UN, and non-state actors including corporations and global civil society groups.

An important aspect of this course is the examination of the main concepts used to analyse international relations. Students will be introduced to key theories used to explain, interpret, and predict outcomes in world affairs, and learn to apply these in a real-world context. contemporary and historical cases including the COVID-19 pandemic, the Cold War, the 2008 global financial crisis, and the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

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 Academic Description
The course will provide an overview of concepts and methodological approaches in the study of International Relations. Students will develop skills of critical analysis of international organisations, key state and-non-state actors, and global issues, as well as the capacity to express ideas and knowledge both in writing and in group discussion. The overall aim is to help students acquire a conceptual vocabulary for analysing a variety of aspects of world affairs from a theoretical perspective.

This course considers and debates the foundational concepts, actors, and theories of International Relations, applying these to major issues in world affairs. Concepts that will be examined include anarchy, security, and cooperation. The course will adopt a broad theoretical focus, considering different variants of the ¿mainstream¿ approaches of realism and liberalism as well as ¿critical¿ alternatives including constructivism, feminism, and post-colonialism. Theories and concepts will be explored in the context of important contemporary and historical issues and case studies in world affairs including the control of weapons proliferation, global governance responses to pandemics, human rights, global distributive justice, and the climate crisis.

Student Learning Experience
The course consists of lectures and seminars. Lecture classes will be a combination of a lecture, followed by small group activities, and ending with a question and answer session. Seminars will focus on discussion, implementation of theoretical concepts, class activities, and revision. The course material is cumulative with each session building on the content of those that preceded it.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2022/23, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  40
Course Start Lifelong Learning - Session 3
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 49.5, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 48 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Assessment 1: reflective blog posted by students based on reading. Each student will post 500 words once during the course and other students will comment. This will enable comprehension, practice in writing and group interaction. Worth 15% of the total course mark.

Additionally, each student will write a reflective comment on their blog post of 400 -500 words taking into account the comments they have received from their peers. Worth 10% of the course mark.

Assessment 2: 2000 word essay submitted after the course finishes, worth 75% of the total course mark.
Feedback The reflective blog will allow students to develop their comprehension and critical analysis in advance of writing their essay. The constructive feedback from their peers will enable them to improve their own research and writing skills.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate a critical understanding of the definitions of key concepts in the study and practice of International Relations.
  2. Demonstrate a critical understanding of some of the main theories in International Relations.
  3. Demonstrate knowledge of some key events and processes in world affairs.
  4. Use concepts and theories to critically assess major debates and issues in International Relations.
  5. Employ skills of interpretation, argument and critical analysis in both writing and discussion.
Reading List
Baylis, J., Smith, S., Owens, P., eds., 2017. The Globalization of World Politics: An Introduction to International Relations. 7th ed. Oxford: OUP.

Other readings will be made available via Leganto.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills By the end of the course students should have strengthened their skills in: critical analysis; comparative study; participation in group discussion and practical tasks.
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserMs Shona Warwick
Course secretaryMs Kameliya Skerleva
Tel: (0131 6)51 1855
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