International Relations: Key Questions

Subject POLS20025 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 2 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2016:

Semester 2, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 25-Jul-2016 to 23-Oct-2016
Assessment Period End 18-Nov-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol 05-Aug-2016
Census Date 31-Aug-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail 23-Sep-2016

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: Thirty contact hours per semester. 2 x one hour lectures and 1 x one hour tutorial per week. The lecture and tutorial programs are staggered and cover the 12 weeks of semester.
Total Time Commitment:

Total of 170 hours

Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge:

Politics and International Studies at Level 1

Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry.The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website:


Dr Margherita Matera


Subject Overview:

This subject explores key questions in international relations, beginning with the basic questions of why the world is comprised of states and why they enjoy a monopoly on legitimate violence, and then expanding through a range of questions such as whether cultural identities are responsible for international conflict, whether the concept of ‘human rights’ is a remnant of colonialism, and who really controls the global economy. This subject provides an in-depth examination of the ideas and actors that have shaped world politics, and encourages a critical exploration of the politics behind current events in international relations, from environmental agreements to targeted killings by robot planes to indigenous land claims. Students will be encouraged to evaluate the theoretical assumptions and debates in international relations and how they influence global politics today.

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this subject students should:

  • have an appreciation of the contending theories in and approaches to international relations;
  • develop the ability to think critically about these theories and approaches;
  • have the ability to apply a variety of theories and approaches to contemporary international relations;
  • be able to deploy a range of critical thinking and analytical skills to practical problems;
  • be able to demonstrate improved writing and oral skill.

  • An essay of 2,000 words (50%) due mid-semester.
  • A 2-hour exam (50%) held during the examination period.

Hurdle requirement: Students must attend a minimum of 75% of tutorials in order to pass this subject. All pieces of written work must be submitted to pass this subject. Regular participation in tutorials is required.

Note: Assessment submitted late without an approved extension will be penalised at 10% per working day. In-class tasks missed without approval will not be marked.

Prescribed Texts:

A subject reader will be available.

Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

Available as a Breadth subject to non-Bachelor of Arts students.

Related Course(s): U21 Certificate in Global Issues
U21 Diploma in Global Issues
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Graduate Certificate in Arts - Politics and International Studies
Graduate Diploma in Arts - Politics and International Studies
Political Science Major
Politics and International Studies

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