Module Catalogue 2024/25

POL1032 : Key Concepts in International Politics

POL1032 : Key Concepts in International Politics

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Graham Long
  • Lecturer: Dr Megan Armstrong, Professor Valentina Feklyunina
  • Owning School: Geography, Politics & Sociology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System

Modules you must have done previously to study this module

Pre Requisite Comment



Modules you need to take at the same time

Co Requisite Comment



•       to introduce International Relations (IR) as a discipline
•       to examine the principal concepts in the study of international politics/IR
•       to locate these concepts in broad historical and philosophical contexts
•       to analyse important issues in contemporary international politics
•       to develop the analytical and critical skills of students

This module examines key concepts in the study of international politics. It explores a selection of issues that define the agenda of contemporary international politics including but not limited to: the state; sovereignty; power; globalization; security; gender; terrorism; the Global South; development and global governance. Through the analysis of these concepts and issues the course aims to introduce students to the study of international politics and the academic discipline of International Relations (IR). The course outlines the various perspectives adopted by scholars with respect to these conceptual questions. It aims to put the diverse understandings of actors, structures and processes into a broader historical and intellectual context.

Outline Of Syllabus

A critical analysis of the issue agenda of international politics highlighting – through discussion of contemporary issues - key concepts such as states, sovereignty, power, globalization, gender, security, terrorism, the Global South and development.

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

To provide students with:
• an understanding of the major concepts in the study of international relations/ international politics
• an ability to explain issues in global politics from different perspectives
• the skills to organize their ideas and present them clearly
• an opportunity to enjoy an informed and critically aware interest in global political affairs

Intended Skill Outcomes

To provide students with:
•       skills to critically evaluate and analyse concepts and arguments in international politics and its academic study
•       the ability to explore and analyse issues and problems in international politics from a variety of conceptual perspectives

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture201:0020:00PIP lectures
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities103:0030:00Preparation for seminars (2-3 readings, plus questions, made available to students in advance)
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching101:0010:00PIP Seminars
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery31:003:00PIP surgery
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1137:00137:00Further reading, independent research, assessment preparation and completion
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures introduce and explain key ideas, present different conceptual perspectives, and prompt student response.

Seminars provide forum for students to present, develop and discuss ideas, and reinforce their knowledge and understanding. As noted seminar readings, related questions and guidance on how to prepare, will be made available to students in advance.

The feedback hour gives students the chance to drop in and ask questions about lectures, reading, and seminar discussion of the ML, who may also use the time to expand on recorded lectures and clarify key concepts.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination28802A7548-hour take home exam (2500 words), expected completion time 4hrs.
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written exercise2M251000 word literature review
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The 48-hour timed exam will enable students to discuss an issue or problem in global politics at some length and in the context of a variety of academic texts and other sources. Questions will be crafted to ensure students have to draw upon content from across the module.

The literature review will develop skills of engaging with, and synthesizing, a body of academic literature, which will be invaluable in later stages of the programme. Set in the early-mid part of the course, the lit review will deepen students’ familiarity with the Global Politics literature ahead of their exams. A range of topics for the review will be offered, allowing students to follow their interests.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Welcome to Newcastle University Module Catalogue

This is where you will be able to find all key information about modules on your programme of study. It will help you make an informed decision on the options available to you within your programme.

You may have some queries about the modules available to you. Your school office will be able to signpost you to someone who will support you with any queries.


The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2024 academic year.

In accordance with University Terms and Conditions, the University makes all reasonable efforts to deliver the modules as described.

Modules may be amended on an annual basis to take account of changing staff expertise, developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Module information for the 2025/26 entry will be published here in early-April 2025. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.