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Introduction to International Relations, and Academic Skills



The course gives an introduction to international politics from a theoretical perspective. The discipline of international relations looks at political interactions at the global level. In the context of this course, we will look at states as the most important actors in international politics, although we will also look at the influence of, for example, international governmental organizations (such as the United Nations) and non-governmental organizations (such as Amnesty International or terrorist groups like the Islamic State). How can the behaviour of states and other actors be explained? This question is central to the course. Assumptions from various schools of thought, such as realism, liberalism, and constructivism are discussed extensively. In the course, the most important insights that these theories have presented are dealt with on the basis of concrete examples. Therefore, attention will also be given to specific issues and developments in international politics, such as globalization, regionalism, terrorism, war and peace, human rights, poverty and development, climate change and nuclear non-proliferation.
The course also includes Academic Skills working groups that focus on improving students’ ability to identify and relate the core elements comprising scientific research articles in the fields of political science and international relations. During the working groups students are also taught essential academic skills such as how to find literature and how to make correct references to the literature when writing academic texts.

Course Objectives

Goal 1: to introduce key issues, theories, and debates in international relations

Goal 2: to apply this knowledge to understand international relations

Goal 3: to teach students the following academic skills:

  • How to identify and relate the core elements comprising scientific research articles in the fields of political science and international relations.

  • How to find literature and correctly refer to literature in academic texts.

Mode of Instruction

Lectures and working groups.

Exchange students take this course for 5 EC and do not follow the working groups

Study Material


The Globalization of World Politics: An Introduction to International Relations (9th edition) edited by John Baylis, Steve Smith, and Patricia Owens

Working Groups:

A reading list for the working groups is provided in the course syllabus.

Assessment Method

Assessment of this course is based on the following components:
1. Final exam (100% Multiple Choice questions), worth 60% of the final course grade. Note that to pass the course, the grade for the final exam must be at least a five (5).
2. Workgroup assignments and participation, worth 40% of the final course grade. The final grade for the workgroups is the weighted average of two assignments (counting for, respectively, 20% and 60% of the grade) and a participation grade (counting for 20% of the grade).

The time and location of inspection and debriefing of the exam will be announced via Brightspace no later than the publication of the grades.

If one part of the grade has not been passed, only that part has to be retaken


See 'Practical Information'

Timetable - courses and exams

See 'MyTimetable'