SSST Subjects

PS110 Introduction to Politics and International Relations


Programme(s) where module is offered

  • BA Political Science and International Relations with Business
  • BA Political Science and International Relations with International Law (TBC)
  • BA Political Science and International Relations with Diplomacy

Status (core, option, free choice)



FHEQ Level



Unit Value



Semester taught



Pre-Requisite Modules or Qualifications



Module Code



Module coordinator

Zlatko Hadzidedic


Applicable From



Educational Aims of the Module

  • Political science is an attempt to understand how and why events unfold in the way that they do. Accordingly, this understanding serves us to predict how similar events will unfold in the future, and take action to impact these events.
  • Therefore, the course dealing with politics necessarily must account for historical forces driving current action. World politics directly impacts the quality of our environment, the extent of our personal freedoms, and the length and quality of our life.
  • Accordingly, this course explores the broad forces at play in the world: international economics, national interests, military power, nationalism, ethnicity, the environment, and human rights. We discuss world events as they unfold and debate grand global issues underlying those events.
  • We reveal analytical tools that help make sense of our political world, and we apply those tools in open discussion to contemporary cases. Students of this course acquire a vision of the world’s political landscape and an ability to better understand the multitude of events that comprise that landscape.

Module Outline/Syllabus

  • Introduction: What is politics?
  • Governments, systems and regimes
  • The state
  • Government I (constitutions and laws, judiciaries, assemblies)
  • Government II (political executives, bureaucracies, militaries, police forces)
  • Democracy. Representation, elections and voting
  • Parties and party systems. Groups, interests and movements
  • Introduction: From international politics to world politics. Theories of world politics.
  • Realism
  • Liberalism
  • Marxist theories of international relations
  • Social constructivism
  • Post-structuralism
  • Post-colonialism

Student Engagement Hours

Type Number per Term Duration Total Time
Lectures 30 1 hour 30 minutes 90 hours
Total Guided/Independent Learning Hours 110
Total Contact Hours 90
Total Engagement Hours 200

Assessment Method Summary

Type Number Required Duration / Length Weighting Timing / Submission Deadline
Final exam 1 3 hours 50% End of semester
Mid-term exam 1 2 hours 20% Week 8
Case study presentation 1 20 min. 20% ongoing
Research paper 1 2000 words 10% Week 13

Module Outcomes

Intended Learning Outcomes:

  • Discuss the history of and trends in the emergence of the international nation-state system and modern challenges to that system.
  • Comprehend the various theories and concepts used to study international politics, as a distinct branch of the social sciences.
  • Respectfully discuss political topics, and engage in debate with fellow students (inside and outside of class) in an intellectually informed manner; as a corollary to this objective it is expected that students will leave the course able to distinguish between reasoned argument and ad hominem invective.
  • Understand the structure and activities of the various actors influencing policy decisions on the world stage, including the ability to elicit a more specialized knowledge about important countries and regions of the world, current leaders and issues.

Teaching and Learning Strategy:

  • Lectures/presentations by the course instructor (ILO: 1-4);
  • Course readings and group discussions in class (ILO: 1-4);
  • Individual and group presentations (ILO: 1-4)

Assessment Strategy

  • Course work – midterm exam (ILO: 1-4)
  • Research paper (ILO: 1-4)
  • Case study presentation (ILO: 1-4)
  • Final Exam (ILO: 1-4)

Transferable Skills

  • Ability to think analytically
  • Clarity of oral argument
  • Research skills
  • Presentation skills
  • Ability to critically reflect and evaluate information relating to international relations

Teaching and Learning Strategy

  • Course readings and class discussions  (TS: 1-4)
  • Lectures and in-class exercises (TS: 1-5)
  • In-class presentations (TS:1,3,4)
  • Research paper (TS: 1-3)

Assessment Strategy

  • Mid-term exam, research paper, case study presentation (TS: 1-4)  
  • Final Exam (TS: 1-5)

Key Texts and/or other learning materials


  • Heywood, A. (2013) Politics. 4 Edition, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Baylis, J., Smith, S., Owens, P. (2013) The Globalization of World Politics. An Introduction to International Relations. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Supplementary Resources:

  • Jeffrey A. Frieden, David A. Lake, and Kenneth A. Schultz (2015). World Politics: Interests, Interactions, Institutions.3 Edition,  Norton.
  • Shimko, Keith L. (2015) International Relation: Perspectives, Controversies & Readings (5 Edition) Boston: Wadsworth
  • Dunne, Tim, Milja Kurki and Steve Smith (2016) International Relations: Theories Discipline and Diversity (4 Edition) Oxford: Oxford University Press
  • Burchill, Scott, et al., (2013), Theories of International Relations, 5th Edition, Palgrave
  • Pendakis, A., Diamanti, J., (Eds) (2014), Contemporary Marxist Theory, Bloomsbury Academic
  • Onuf, Nicholas, (2012), Making Sense, Making Worlds: Constructivism in Social Theory and International Relations, Routledge
  • Loomba, A., (2015), Colonialism/Postcolonialism: The New Critical Idiom, 3 Edition, Routledge

Please note

This specification provides a concise summary of the main features of the module and the learning outcomes that a typical student might reasonably be expected to achieve and demonstrate if he/she takes full advantage of the learning opportunities that are provided.

More detailed information on the learning outcomes, content and teaching, learning and assessment methods of each module and programme can be found in the departmental or programme handbook.

The accuracy of the information contained in this document is reviewed annually by the University of Buckingham and may be checked by the Quality Assurance Agency.

Date of Production : June 2016

Date approved by School Learning and Teaching Committee: 19th April 2017

Date approved by School Board of Study : 26th April 2017

Date approved by University Learning and Teaching Committee: 10th May 2017

Date of Annual Review: 31st December 2018


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