Theories of International Relations

Module code: PL7515

Module co-ordinator: Dr Oliver Daddow

Module Outline

This module provides a critical survey of the main theories associated with the study of international relations, from ‘orthodox’ approaches such as Realism and Liberalism to more radical theories including Marxism, Postmodernism and Gender-based approaches. The module is primarily concerned with the varying theoretical explanations for why things happen in international relations. It will discuss the general properties of IR theory and its evolution since the foundation of the discipline of International Relations after World War One, along with a focus on the significance of, and relations between states and non-state actors, and the impact of the international structures that constrain and direct the actions of these actors. The module will also relate the study of IR theory both to wider theoretical debates within the social sciences, and to developments in contemporary history.

Teaching and Learning Methods

Teaching will be delivered through the University’s Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) – Blackboard - this allows for a range of innovative and engaging teaching techniques to be used such as online presentations, podcasts, interactive message boards and Wikis, as well as one-to-one contact through conventional channels. 


  • Journal article analysis (20%)
  • Essay (80%)