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International Organizations and the Promotion of Good Governance


Admission requirements

MSc International Relations and Diplomacy students.


International organizations have grown in importance as vehicles for states, helping them manage global interdependence and, at the same time, as motors of further globalization, transferring policy competences or norms between the national and supranational levels of governance.

This course explores some of the ways in which (Western) international organizations try to promote better governance, discusses their effectiveness and the effectiveness of reform they promote. The course emphasizes the role of international organizations as independent bureaucracies that are affected by their own norms, organisational structures and ‘pathologies’. Building on an emerging literature on international public bureaucracies, we discuss how international organizations understand good governance and what tools they have been using to promote their aims, from conditionality to partnerships and expert networks.

Course objectives

Students who have completed this course should be able to:

  • Acquire and demonstrate a broad awareness of key analytical and empirical trends in multi-level governance and international organizations

  • Discuss the implications of bureaucratic structures and civil servant autonomy for the effectiveness and role of international organizations.

  • Understand the emergence of good governance as a key guiding concept used by various international organizations today and assess its significance

  • Understand the role conditionality has played as a policy tool for (Western) IOs and its uses and limitations;

  • Demonstrate understanding of different tools and instruments (partnerships, networks) used by international organizations to enhance their effectiveness

  • Apply analytical approaches from current research to a case study of the operation of one particular international organization


On the right-hand side of the programme front page of the E-Prospectus you will find a link to the online timetables.

Mode of instruction

The course will be entirely seminar-based. Instructors and students will discuss readings in class based on advance preparation by the students. In the second part of the course there will be presentation by student teams building on student research and the discussed literature.

Study load: 140 hours

Assessment method

  • Participation based reading reactions: 25%

  • Discussion of lectures/guest speakers: 15%

  • Final Essay: 60%

Failed partial grades or components should be compensated by passed partial grades or components. The calculated grade must be at least 5,5 to pass the course. It is not possible to re-sit a partial grade or component once you have passed the course.

Reading list

To be announced.


Use Brightspace to register for every course. The programme will register the students in Usis based on the group division


Prof. Dr. A. Dimitrova