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POL1032 : Key Concepts in International Politics

  • Offered for Year: 2021/22
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Graham Long
  • Owning School: Geography, Politics & Sociology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


•       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.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture111:0011:00PIP lectures
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching111:0011:00Pre-recorded, non-synchronous
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching111:0011:00PIP Seminars
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities107:0070:00Preparation for seminars (2-3 readings, plus questions, made available to students in advance)
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study197:0097:00N/A
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.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written exercise2M251000 word literature review
Essay2M752500 word essay
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Essays 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.

IA literature review develops 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 essays. A range of topics for the review will be offered, allowing students to follow their interests.

Reading Lists