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POL1032 : Key Concepts in International Politics

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Graham Long
  • Lecturer: Professor Valentina Feklyunina, Dr Megan Armstrong
  • 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


•       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 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.

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.

Reading Lists