POLS104-20S1 (C) Semester One 2020

Introduction to International Relations

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 17 February 2020
End Date: Sunday, 21 June 2020
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Friday, 28 February 2020
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Friday, 29 May 2020


This course provides a broad introduction to the core issues and theories related to the study of international relations. Students will be introduced to the discipline through a study of key historical events, prominent theories of international relations, and a variety of practical examples.

POLS104 provides a broad introduction to the core issues and theories related to the study of international relations.  International politics is a field composed of a great variety of actors, ideologies and theories.  In this course we will discuss the interaction of states, regional groups, international organisations, and non-governmental organisations in relation to some of the most complex and controversial international and global issues of our time.  Some of the pivotal questions we will cover in this course include: Why do states appear to put their own interests before the interests of others?  How important are principles of human rights in the current international order?  When is it right to intervene in the affairs of another state?  Is globalisation going to mean the end of the nation-state?  In addressing these questions we will also seek to understand the different theories and theorists that attempt to provide frameworks for understanding how international politics works and what kinds of change may be possible in the future.  Practical illustrations will be utilised throughout the course, by reference to a variety of historical events, including the Cold War, case studies of humanitarian intervention, and analysis of the war on terror.

Course Aims:

This course aims to provide students with the grounding in theories, concepts and issues in international relations necessary to move on to more advanced study in the area. The lectures provide an overview of theoretical, historical, and contemporary issues relevant to international relations. The textbook readings provide additional depth and provide an entry point to the literature on key issues in international relations. The tutorials are geared toward providing students with an opportunity to discuss their views on the material covered in the lectures and readings in order to begin development of oral presentation of ideas. Each piece of assessment is designed to encourage active engagement with the course themes and to provide students with the study skills and knowledge to move into the study of IR at higher levels.

Learning Outcomes

Through lecture attendance, assessment, and discussion, students will gain a basic understanding of the core historical, theoretical and practical dimensions of international relations.  This will then leave students prepared for further study in the areas of international relations theory, human rights, foreign policy, international political economy and humanitarian intervention.  Knowledge of these basics will also leave students with the capacity to think carefully and critically about many of the most challenging and controversial issues that face foreign policy-makers and publics around the world today.  In addition, it is expected that students will gain additional research and writing skills that will advance them beyond the first year stage and prepare them for more intensive work at second year level and beyond.

Course Coordinator

Jeremy Moses


Assessment Due Date Percentage  Description
Tutorial attendance and participation 20%
Reading Tests 10% 10 Multiple Choice Tests (weekly 2-11)
Major Essay 22 May 2019 40% 1,500 - 2,000 words
Final Exam 30%

Additional Course Outline Information

Where to submit and collect work

Essay boxes are located on the 5th floor Locke, outside the POLS office, Locke 501.

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $777.00

International fee $3,375.00

* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, and do not include any programme level discount or additional course-related expenses.

For further information see Language, Social and Political Sciences .

All POLS104 Occurrences

  • POLS104-20S1 (C) Semester One 2020