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International Politics


Admission requirements

This course is only available for students in the BA International Studies.
Limited places are also open for exchange students.
Please note: this course takes place in The Hague. Traveling between University buildings from Leiden to The Hague takes about 45 minutes.


This course focuses on the study and practice of global politics and international relations in the post-Cold War era. Students will receive a critical introduction to a range of theoretical approaches and contemporary issues that help them to understand the diversity and complexity of our world across space and time. The course emphasizes the connections between the development of international relations today and global history, with an emphasis on how the Cold War impacted upon the conduct and nature of global politics and transformed the study of international relations. We live in a complex world in which political, economic, security, and cultural issues and practices are interconnected. It is therefore imperative to study global developments from a variety of different levels of analysis, including regional and national ones. Power is changing in world politics. While the state remains a crucially important actor in international affairs, power is also concentrated in global and regional institutions, and non-state actors increasingly influence global politics. In addition, this course encourages students to adopt a critical approach to global politics and international relations , also from a non-Western perspective. It is central to consider how people across the world perceive and shape global politics today.
The course begins with three lectures that consider how we can critically study today’s rapidly changing world, the legacies of the Cold War, and the evolution of International Relations theory. The course continues by tackling a number of key issues and policies in international relations. These issues and policies include: appeasement and containment since WWII, the development of regionalism in Europe, the collapse of communism, the end of bipolarity and the emergence of new powers, development and the legacies of decolonization, globalization and neoliberalism, polarity and universalism, terrorism and environmental politics. Throughout the course, students will learn and apply key theories and concepts used in the study of international relations. By following this course students will gain a solid and critical understanding of the history and dynamics of contemporary global politics; they will learn to distinguish and apply major theoretical approaches to international relations; and they will develop an appreciation for key changes and challenges in world politics today.

Course objectives

This module aims to provide a critical examination of key theoretical approaches, issues and processes related to international relations since the Cold War.

By the end of the module, students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate an advanced understanding of a number of theories, complex issues and concepts in global politics since the Cold War.

  • Apply complex conceptual tools to analyse and critique key events and processes in global politics.

  • Demonstrate appropriate cognitive, communicative and transferable skills, develop the capacity for independent learning, and critique major texts on and approaches in international relations.


The timetable is available on the BA International Studies website.

Mode of instruction


Lectures are held every week, with the exception of the midterm exam week. Weekly lectures will cover issues both inside and outside the readings.


Tutorials are held once every three weeks, with the exception of the midterm exam week. Attending all tutorial sessions is compulsory. If you are unable to attend a session, please inform your tutor in advance, providing a valid reason for your absence. Being absent without notification and valid reason or not being present at half or more of the tutorial sessions will mean your assignments will not be assessed, and result in a 1.0 for the tutorial (30% of the final grade).

Course Load

Total course load for this course is 5 EC (1 EC = 28 hours), this equals 140 hours, broken down by:

  • Attending 12 lectures: 24 hours

  • Attending 4 tutorials: 8 hours

  • Reading & self-study: 56 hours

  • Preparing mid-term exam: 26

  • Preparing final exam: 26

Please note that this is an adapted version of Assessment Method; the version that was first published was incorrect.

Assessment method


  • Mid-term exam

  • Final exam: Exam combines closed questions (eg multiple choice) with short open questions.

Please note that this is an adapted version of Course Load; the version that was first published was incorrect.


Partial grade Weighing
Tutorials 30%
Mid-term exam 30%
Final Exam 40%

Exam combines closed questions (eg multiple choice) with short open questions.

End grade

To successfully complete the course, please take note of the following:

  • The end grade of the course is established by determining the weighted average of tutorial, mid-term exam and final exam.

  • The weighted average of the mid-term exam and final exam needs to be 5.5 or higher.


If the end grade is insufficient (lower than a 6), or the weighted average of midterm- and final exams is lower than 5.5, there is a possibility of retaking the full 70% of the exam material, replacing both the earlier midterm and final exam grades. No resit for the tutorial is possible.
Please note that if the resit exam grade is lower than 5.5, you will not pass the course, regardless of the tutorial grade.

Retaking a passing grade

Please consult the Course and Examination Regulations 2017 – 2018.

Exam review

How and when an exam review takes place will be determined by the examiner. This review will be within 30 days after official publication of exam results.


Blackboard will be used for tutorial groups. Students are requested to enroll on Blackboard for this course, but only after correct enrolment in uSis.

Reading list

  • Heywood, A. 2014. Global Politics. Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave.

  • Roach, S. Griffiths, M. & O’Callaghan, T. 2013. International Relations: The Key Concepts. Abingdon and New York: Routledge.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis can be found here.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.


For tutorials
Prof. Dr. A.W.M. Gerrits Dr. L.O. Black

When contacting lecturers or tutors, please include your full name, student number and tutorial group number.