POLIS 2114 - Approaches in International Relations

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2019

This course aims to provide students with the tools to enhance their understanding of the increasingly complex arena of global politics. In recent years we have witnessed the rise of new powers, like China, global economic and political crises, rapid technological change, the heightened power of private actors, like corporations and philanthropic organisations, and the growth of non-state groups, such as transnational terrorist organisations. These dynamic political forces have created an increasingly diverse and unpredictable world. The course will emphasise the study of both mainstream and critical approaches in the discipline of International Relations, such as, realism, liberalism, constructivism, Marxism and feminism. It will also give focussed attention to normative theorising in International Relations, theories of international political economy and emerging non-Eurocentric approaches. By using the tools provided by these approaches, students will be able to make better sense of contemporary trends in global politics. In addition, by studying these approaches, students will gain awareness of the analytical assumptions that underpin policy making and policy analysis on issues of global political concern.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code POLIS 2114
    Course Approaches in International Relations
    Coordinating Unit Politics and International Relations
    Term Semester 1
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 3 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Restrictions Students enrolled in Bachelor of International Relations
    Assessment Group Work 25%, Minor Essay 30%, Policy Analysis Paper 45%
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr Melissa-Ellen Dowling

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    1. Understand the key features and assumptions of mainstream and critical approaches to analysis in International Relations
    2. Evaluate the strengths and weakness of main mainstream and critical approaches in International Relations
    3. Apply mainstream and critical approaches to the analysis of case studies of global issues, events and policies
    4. Identify and evaluate the core analytical assumptions in contemporary writings on global politics
    5. Conduct independent research utilising a variety of sources
    6. Undertake policy analysis of key issues in global politics with analytically coherent and substantiated arguments
    7. Articulate ideas confidently, thoughtfully and respectfully
    8. Work as a part of a team in the exploration of relevant content
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    Teamwork and communication skills
    • developed from, with, and via the SGDE
    • honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
    • encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    Intercultural and ethical competency
    • adept at operating in other cultures
    • comfortable with different nationalities and social contexts
    • able to determine and contribute to desirable social outcomes
    • demonstrated by study abroad or with an understanding of indigenous knowledges
    Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
    • a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
    • open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
    • able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    Lectures supported by workshops

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.


    1 x 1 hour lecture per week - 12 hours/semester
    1 x 2 hour seminar per week - 24 hours/semester


    6 hours reading/week - 72 hours/semester
    2 hours research/week - 24 hours/semester
    2 hours assignment preparation/week - 24 hours/semester

    TOTAL WORKLOAD: 156 hours
    Learning Activities Summary
    1 Information/Introduction
    2 Introduction to theory
    3 Realism
    4 Liberalism
    5 Constructivism
    6 Special topic
    7 Marxism
    8 Feminism
    9 Normative theory
    10 International political economy
    11 Post-western approaches
    12 Special topic
    Small Group Discovery Experience
    Students will be organized in groups of 4-6 students, tasked with discussing assigned questions within their groups and undertaking research-based activities.
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    ASSESSMENT TASK              TASK TYPE                       WEIGHTING                              COURSE LEARNING OUTCOME(S)
    Seminar work                          Formative and summative    15%                                         1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8
    Presentation                           Summative                            15%                                         3,4,5,6,7,8
    1000 word minor essay          Summative                            25%                                         1,2
    2000 word policy analysis      Summatie                              45%                                         3,4,5,6,7
    Assessment Detail

    Seminar work - Student engagement in group class activities 15%
    Presentation - 10 minute group presentation applying theory to a case study 15%
    Minor essay - Requires students to present an argument “in defense” of a mainstream theory 25%
    Major essay - Requires students to explore a case-study of their choice from two different theoretical perspectives of their choice, one mainstream and one alternative theory 45%
    Essays must be submitted electronically, through Turnitin. The relevant link will be available on MyUni.

    The official procedure and form to apply for extensions is: https://www.adelaide.edu.au/policies/3303

    Late essays without an extension will be penalised at the rate of 2% (2 marks) per day.

    There is a cut-off period of 7 days (including weekends and public holidays), after which late submissions without a formal extension will not be accepted/marked. In the case of late submissions with a formal extension approved, the cut-off date is 7 days (including weekends and public holidays) from the revised due date, at 11:59pm.
    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy (http://www.adelaide.edu.au/policies/101/) course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
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