Ethics and International Relations

Subject POLS90048 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2016.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 24 contact hours: A 2-hour seminar per week for 12 weeks.
Total Time Commitment:

170 Hours


Admission to the MC-IR Master of International Relations program

Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge:

It is recommended that this subject be taken after International Relations Theory POLS90028, or alternatively after undergraduate-level studies in international relations theory, political theory, or applied ethics

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 Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support:

Subject Overview:

This subject will explore a number of real-world ethical problems in international politics, and analyse the ethical responsibilities of citizens, states, and non-state actors in responding to these problems. These problems focus on ethical dilemmas concerning welfare, justice, and political legitimacy in relation to: political violence; world poverty and economic inequality; international governance; global gender inequalities; migration and refugee protection; environment; regulation of Multinational Corporations and NGOs; and international responses to human rights violations by states and Corporations. This subject will further familiarise students with a range of theories – in particular, ‘consequentialist’ and ‘deontological’ ethical theories, and normative political theories of ‘justice’, ‘legitimacy’, and ‘human rights’ – and help students to develop skills in applying these theories as tools for critical analysis of real-world ethical problems, and for prescribing ethical international institutions, policies, and political actions.

Learning Outcomes:

On successful completion of this subject, students should be able to:

  • demonstrate detailed knowledge and critical understanding of key ethical concepts and theories applicable to international relations; and
  • demonstrate capacity to analyse critically the ethical dimensions of prominent political problems in international relations; and
  • develop the ability to apply ethical concepts and theories as tools for the critical analysis of international institutions and policies.
  • 2,000 word case study analysis (40%), due by Week 6 of Semester.
  • 3,000 word research essay (60%), due during the examination period.

Hurdle requirement: Students must attend a minimum of 80% of classes in order to pass this subject. All pieces of written work must be submitted to pass this subject.

Prescribed Texts:

All readings will be available electronically on the subject LMS site.

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

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

Student who successfully complete this subject should:

  • have developed critical analysis and creative thinking skills; and
  • have developed research, writing, and communication skills; and
  • have developed leadership and communication skills.
Links to further information:
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: 100 Point Master of International Relations
200 Point Master of International Relations

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