What you will study
This module is comprised of the following blocks and each block presents ‘big questions’ that relate to contemporary, ‘real world’ global challenges:
Block 1: How can international divisions be understood?
The focus of the first block will be on two forms of international division: divisions over territory and economic divisions over income and wealth. These divisions – why they matter, where they originate from and how they can be addressed – are at the heart of many debates in IR.
Block 2: What challenges do rising powers pose to international order?
Block 2 analyses the current international order and changes within it, its key actors, and how International Relations scholarship can best be used to research the shifting centre of gravity in international politics.
Block 3: How is security produced in the international system?
This block introduces and explores the concept of ‘security’ within International Relations. You'll be introduced to key debates in security studies, asking what do we mean by security within International Relations, whose security matters, and how is security produced?
Block 4: Can global threats to survival be met?
Block 4 explores wider challenges to the international system and the ways in which the political system responds to them. The focus will be on climate change and global health, and gives you the opportunity to practise and understand negotiating through a negotiation simulation.
Block 5: How does the crisis of democracy affect international relations?
This block explores the links between domestic factors and international relations. In particular, it examines how democracy affects international relations. You'll also trace how the global status of democracy has changed over time and the impact this has had on international relations.
Block 6: Is a global ethics possible?
In the final block you'll examine ethics in global politics. This encompasses dilemmas around humanitarian intervention, and questions about the ethics of decision-making, how ethical standards develop and are maintained, and what this tells us about the nature of international society more broadly.
Each block follows the same pattern over their four weeks and focuses on:
- setting up the ‘real world’ debates and dilemmas that the block addresses
- the core conceptual teaching, deepening your knowledge and understanding of conceptual perspectives in IR
- core IR theories, with two theories covered in each block
- research methods in IR.
You'll have the chance to develop your research skills throughout the different assessment points, culminating in a piece of independent research on a topic of your choosing for the final project.