PO2MIR1-Modern International Relations

Module Provider: School of Politics, Economics and International Relations
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2018/9

Module Convenor: Dr Matthew Barr

Email: m.j.barr@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

This module provides an advanced analysis of the principal theoretical approaches to international politics, as well as coverage of a selection of major issues on the international stage, including globalisation, conflict, nuclear proliferation and terrorism.


This module aims to enable students to understand and analyse the political and economic dynamics of the modern international system. It will introduce students to various theoretical perspectives and approaches that are used in the study of international relations and enable them to assess the usefulness of these approaches and to develop their own independent stance on the major international issues of the day.

Assessable learning outcomes:

By the end of the module it is expected that students will be able to:

  • demonstrate knowledge of recent trends in international politics;

  • identify the key political actors on the international stage and analyse and assess their aims and practices;

  • critically evaluate different theoretical frameworks and use those approaches to explain recent trends in international politics;

  • organise material and articulate arguments effectively in writing, both under timed conditions and in assessed essays.

Additional outcomes:

The module also aims to develop critical and reflective thinking, effective and independent use of a variety of sources, coherent and rigorous written and oral argumentation, and the ability to work with and learn from others.

Outline content:

The following content is indicative and may be subject to change.

This module introduces students to the basic ideas and themes that are necessary for the academic study of international relations. The various theoretical approaches to the subject are covered systematically in the early parts of the module, before individual topics are assessed in the latter stages. Topics to be addressed include the role of the state and international organisations, the use of force in international politics, globalisation, conflict resolution and terrorism.

Global context:

There is a very strong global component to the module, which is primarily focused on the examination of global events and theories that seek to explain international outcomes.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

The module is taught through a combination of lectures and seminars, and assessment is through written assignments and a timed examination. Please note that this module also includes a fully funded trip to the Imperial War Museum in London in the Spring term. 

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 7
Seminars 3
Guided independent study 90
Total hours by term 100.00
Total hours for module 100.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 100

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Students will write one assignment on selected topics of approximately 4,000 words. Non-submitted assignments will be awarded a mark of zero.


Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convener will apply the following penalties for work submitted late:

  • where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day[1] (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Assessment requirements for a pass:

    40% overall.

    Reassessment arrangements:

    If a student fails to pass the year at the first attempt there is an opportunity to be re-assessed on one further occasion at the next opportunity in those modules achieving a mark of less than 40%. Students who are eligible for re-assessment have the right to re-assessment in all elements even if they have previously passed one of those elements. It is expected, however, that the majority of students would probably elect not to repeat an element in which they had already passed, in which case the confirmed marks would be carried forward.

    Examination: Re-examination takes place in August/September of the same year.

    Coursework: Failed or missing coursework should be re-submitted by 1st August, emailed directly to politics@reading.ac.uk, AND submitted on Blackboard.

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

    Required text books

    The Globalization of World Politics: An Introduction to International Relations, 6th Edition, by John Baylis and Steve Smith, Oxford University Press 2013, ISBN: 9780199656172

    Last updated: 20 April 2018


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