POLS441-20S1 (C) Semester One 2020

Principles and Practice of International Relations and Diplomacy

30 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 offers a blend of theoretical and practical insight into international relations and diplomacy. The first part of the course will provide foundational knowledge of the principles, theories and historical dimensions of foreign policy and diplomacy. The second part of the course will be composed of a series of intensive professional seminars, providing students with detailed practical insights into complex and difficult cases in international relations and diplomacy through the experiences of those involved in them.

This course provides an advanced introduction to the principles and practice of international relations and diplomacy and a series of case-oriented professional seminars to provide insights into the practical world of diplomacy and foreign affairs. In the first part of the course, students will examine key theoretical and historical works on international relations and diplomacy that are relevant to the contemporary study of international politics. In the second part of the course, students will participate in a series of professional seminars delivered by current and former diplomats on a range of key issues in contemporary international relations and diplomacy.

Course Aims:

This course aims to provide students, whether they have a background in the study of international relations or not, with an understanding of the dominant theories of international relations and their relation to the history and theory of diplomatic practice. In doing so, many of the fundamental divides in international relations theory will be made clearer to students alongside a greater knowledge of a variety of historical examples. On the practical side, the course aims to develop the ability of students to conduct independent research, make clear and coherent presentations, and write longer research essays. Students will also be encouraged to develop their own critical questions over the conduct and limits of international relations.

Learning Outcomes

  • On completion of this course students will have:
  • a consolidated understanding of the key principles of international relations theory;
  • a deeper appreciation of the complexities of the theory and practice of diplomacy and knowledge of how contemporary diplomatic issues are connected to a long history in international relations practice;
  • further experience in historical and theoretical research, analysis and essay writing;
  • an understanding of how to ask the right critical questions when approaching difficult debates and complex theories in international relations;
  • an understanding of the complexity of real-life cases in international diplomacy;
  • an ability to present their ideas confidently in a formal setting;
  • an understanding of the pathways into a career in international relations and diplomacy.


Subject to approval of the Head of Department.


Timetable 2020

Students must attend one activity from each section.

Lecture A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01-P1 Monday 13:00 - 16:00 Online Delivery
4 May - 10 May
01-P2 Monday 14:00 - 17:00 - (23/3, 20/4, 11/5-25/5)
Rehua 329 (17/2-16/3)
17 Feb - 29 Mar
20 Apr - 26 Apr
11 May - 31 May

Course Coordinator

Jeremy Moses


Assessment Due Date Percentage  Description
Final exam 20% 1 long answer
Seminar participation 10% Engagement in class discussions
Research essay 1 35% 3500 - 4000 words
Research essay 2 35% 3500 - 4000 words

Textbooks / Resources

Required Text: Course Reader (available via Learn).

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $2,096.00

* Fees include New Zealand GST and do not include any programme level discount or additional course related expenses.

For further information see Language, Social and Political Sciences.

All POLS441 Occurrences

  • POLS441-20S1 (C) Semester One 2020