Politics and International Relations for University Study - FOUN0007

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Module delivery information

This module is not currently running in 2024 to 2025.


Through this module, students will be given a broad introduction to the study of politics and international relations with particular emphasis on key debates within the discipline as well as contemporary events. Students will be introduced to the contested nature of politics before moving on to consider how political systems are formed, what major ideas are that drive them as well as the question of how we compare political systems. This will deepen into an examination of political ideologies as well as the role of the state and the nation. Furthermore, students will consider national government functions and how the decision making process works, and how this is being challenged by the process of globalisation. From globalisation, we will move to consider IR as an important aspect of the study of politics, looking at the key theoretical approaches (realism, liberalism) while relating this to contemporary events (war on terror, global economic changes). Students will also spend time studying international history in the twentieth century as an important background to contemporary events as well as a sustained examination of the politics or decolonisation and development. Lastly, the module will draw out some of the ethical questions which arise in international relations and give students an opportunity to debate and discuss them.


Contact hours

Autumn Start
Total contact hours: 96
Private study hours: 204
Total Study hours: 300

Spring Start
Total contact hours: 100
Private study hours: 200
Total Study hours: 300


Students are recommended, but not required, to buy the books indicated as preliminary reading for this module. A number of copies of both books are also available for general loan in the library.

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods

Assignment 1 (1000 words) (15%)
In Course Test 1 (45 minutes) (15%)
Assignment 2 (1500 words) (25%)
Seminar participation (5%)
Examination, (2 hours) (40%)

JYA English Plus alternative assessment in lieu of exam:
Written Assignment (1,500 words)

Reassessment methods
Reassessment Instrument: 100% coursework

Indicative reading

• Bayliss, J., Smith, S. & Owens, P. (Eds.) (2017) The Globalisation of World Politics. (7th Edition). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
• Boucher, D. and Kelly, P. (Eds.) (2017) Political Thinkers: From Socrates to the Present. (3rd Edition). Oxford: Oxford University Press
• Heywood, A. (2019) Politics. (5th Edition). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
• Heywood, A. (2015) Key Concepts in Politics and International Relations. (2nd Edition). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
• Hill, C. and Smith, M. (2017) International Relations and the European Union. (New European Union). (3rd Edition) Oxford: Oxford University Press

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.

On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
- Recognise some of the main debates and ethical issues in political studies and international relations (IR) studies
- Understand and critically assess a range of approaches to forming and classifying political systems
- Recognise some of the major classic and contemporary political ideologies
- Comprehend the significance of states, nations and nationalism for political studies
- Understand the concept of globalisation and how it impacts on domestic political systems
- Grasp the major theoretical approaches to IR and understand the boundaries and significance of IR within the study of politics
- Acknowledge key moments in twentieth century international history
- Demonstrate awareness of the significance of the politics of decolonisation and development as well as the relationship between global north and global south in the contemporary world
- Demonstrate awareness of some of the key aspects of the machinery of government, including the legislature, executive and judiciary

The intended generic learning outcomes.
- Develop their academic skills appropriate for university level study
- Develop their critical awareness, critical-thinking and analytical skills
- Improve their ability to voice opinions and lead seminars
- Develop awareness of some of the norms, strictures and demands of subject specific seminars and lectures in a UK education context
- Gain an enhanced understanding of the importance of independent study within a UK higher education context


  1. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  2. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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