Please note: there may be some adjustments to the teaching arrangements published in the course catalogue for 2020-21. Given current circumstances related to the Covid-19 pandemic it is anticipated that some usual arrangements for teaching on campus will be modified to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students and staff on campus; further adjustments may also be necessary, or beneficial, during the course of the academic year as national requirements relating to management of the pandemic are revised.

International Relations Research POLITIC5001

  • Academic Session: 2021-22
  • School: School of Social and Political Sciences
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: No
  • Available to Erasmus Students: No

Short Description

This course introduces key arguments, research designs, and methodologies for studying and understanding cutting-edge research in International Relations. In particular, it investigates the roles of state and non-state actors in shaping international politics and examines the motivations for actor behaviour. The course explores these issues by analysing a number of examples and seeks to train students in how to apply their knowledge to current political challenges in international politics.


2 hour session (lecture + seminar) held weekly for 10 weeks.

Requirements of Entry

Open to Postgraduate students only


The summative assessment comprises

1. Research design essay (1,000 words, 20% of final mark); this serves the purpose to prepare students to think through the process of designing their own research in their dissertation.

2. Final essay in the form of two short answer questions (2,000 words, 40% of final mark each); this helps students to document the breath of their understanding of important topics in International Relations in topics on conflict (one short answer) and international cooperation (one short answer).

Course Aims

The course aims are as follows:


■ To critically examine and apply different approaches to understanding international politics and policy in IR research.

■ To identify and assess the behaviour of state and non-state actors in international politics.

■ To explore the nature and causes of contemporary challenges that are beyond the capacity of individual states to address.

■ To consider appropriate international responses to dealing with these challenges and explore the opportunities and obstacles for effective multilateral cooperation.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of the course, through essays, seminar preparation, and presentations, students should be

able to:

■ demonstrate a command of key concepts for understanding international politics and cutting-edge research in international relations;

■ analyse the nature of and evaluate the significance of state and non-state actors in international relations;

■ explore and assess the range, nature, extent, and causes of contemporary challenges in international politics, including the reasons for their complexity;

■ construct their own understanding, both theoretically and in terms of research design, of the most appropriate policy responses to dealing with these challenges and explore associated trade-offs.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Completion of all formative and summative assessment.