• Offered by Department of International Relations
  • ANU College ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
  • Classification Transitional
  • Course subject International Relations
  • Areas of interest International Relations, Political Sciences
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Course convener
    • Dr David Envall
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in First Semester 2015
    See Future Offerings

This course introduces students to a selection of the major theoretical approaches to international relations as well as some of the key issues in contemporary world politics. The aims are to foster familiarity with international relations as an academic discipline, build students' knowledge of debates within the field and to foster an understanding of how the assumptions we make, and the intellectual positions we take, inform our understanding of particular issues. After surveying some of the major approaches to the study of IR in the second section of the course we go on to investigate the development of the modern system of states via consideration of the concept of sovereignty and the relationship between this and the idea of the nation and of the right to national self-determination. In the final section of the course we consider some major issues in contemporary world politics. These include the role of human rights norms in the international system, the future of the sovereign state and conceptions of community in an era of globalization and, finally, consideration of the implications of American power for contemporary world order.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

Students who successfully complete this course should be able to: 

identify the key concepts and issues that influence the dynamics of world politics today;

understand the sources of these concepts and issues and their historical development;

use these concepts in order to critically analyze and evaluate competing accounts of contemporary international affairs;

and develop the writing, research, presentation, and analytical skills needed to effectively communicate their own perspectives on these issues

Other Information

Delivery Mode:

The course is conducted through seminars with an emphasis on interactive teaching aimed at engaging all students in active participation.

Indicative Assessment

5,000- 6,000 words of assessment: presentation- 10%; essay one - 30%; essay two - 40%; and exam - 20%.

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


Ten hours per week: two for seminar attendance, and eight for reading and writing. Please note this is a general guide, averaged over the semester and the final hours ultimately depend on the individual's ability in reading and writing.

Prescribed Texts

Chris Brown & Kirsten Ainley, Understanding International Relations, 4th ed (New York:Palgrave Madmillan, 2009).

Preliminary Reading

Reading required before the course begins.


Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2015 $2958
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2015 $4350
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

First Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
2163 16 Feb 2015 06 Mar 2015 31 Mar 2015 29 May 2015 In Person N/A

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