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Introduction to International Relations and Organizations


Admission requirements

This course is open to Erasmus Exchange Students (Public Administration), Students of the Minor Bestuurskunde: Openbaar Bestuur, Beleid en Management, and Leiden University students (elective/keuzevak)


A broad introduction to the international political system, main theories of international politics and foreign policy making, and the nature of main international organizations such as the UN and its agencies and programs, regional organizations, NATO, as well as international non-governmental organizations. The focus is on maintaining peace, security, human rights, care for the global environment and socio-economic progress.

Course objectives

1) To understand the major concepts of international relations (power, anarchic system, balance of power, conflict and cooperation)
2) To critically evaluate theories and approaches to international relations (mainly realism and liberalism) and understand how they apply to real-world case studies
3) to identify the key actors in international relations (states, NGOs, international and intergovernmental organizations)
4) To improve understanding of how the global and regional systems work, the main problems of international governance, and how to tackle global policy issues more effectively



Mode of instruction

Lectures and class discussions.

Course Load

140 hours total.
Lectures (partly in seminar format, including presentations): 7× 2 hours.
Self-study: 126 hours (including reading / research for essays)

Assessment method

The final grade is the weighted average of:

Written exam: 50%
Individual essay 1: 25%
Individual essay 2: 25%

Deadline for Individual Essay 1 (500-600 words): September 18, 23: 59
Deadline for Individual Essay 2 (500-600 words): October 9, 23: 59

You can find more information about assessments and the timetable exams on the website. Details for submitting papers (deadlines) are posted on Blackboard. On the Public Administration front page of the E-guide you will find links to the website, uSis and Blackboard.

Resit Students will be permitted to resit an examination if they have taken the first sit and earned a mark between 3 and 5.5 or with permission of the Board of Examiners.

Resit written exam Students that want to take part in a resit for a written exam, are required to register via uSis. Use the activity number that can be found on the ‘timetable exams’.


The Blackboard page will be available at the latest 2 weeks before the start of the course. All course materials will be communicated through blackboard.

Reading list

Kaarbo J., and Ray J. (2011) Global Politics, Wadsworth Cengage Learning Publishers, 608 pp.


Use both uSis and Blackboard to register for every course. Register for every course and workgroup via uSis. Some courses and workgroups have a limited number of participants, so register on time (before the course starts). In uSis you can access your personal schedule and view your results. Registration in uSis is possible from four weeks before the start of the course. Also register for every course in Blackboard. Important information about the course is posted here.


Vasileios P. Karakasis