• Offered by Department of International Relations
  • ANU College ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
  • Classification Advanced
  • Course subject International Relations
  • Areas of interest International Relations
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in First Semester 2017
    See Future Offerings

This course surveys the principal theoretical perspectives on international relations that have emerged in the 20th Century in the western tradition. The course explores the relevance of these theories  to understanding contemporary issues in world politics. It considers why we should theorise about international relations, asks what international relations is as an academic pursuit, reviews the various meanings of theory, and introduces the major theoretical questions and perspectives that have occupied students of international affairs. The course considers both the internal logic of theoretical development (the role of bureaucracy, the shifting considerations of what it means to engage in social scientific research) and the external dynamics (real world events, public demands on intellectuals) to consider both contextual and contemporary appreciation of 20/21st century western thought about international relations.

Learning Outcomes

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

This course is designed to give students:
  1. An appreciation of the centrality of theorizing to all thinking about international relations.
  2. An understanding of the principal theoretical perspectives that have been developed to understand international relations and global politics, and an appreciation of how individual theories have evolved in relation to one another and within particular social and historical contexts.
  3. An ability to engage with theories critically and reflectively.
  4. The ability to relate theories to contemporary events
  5. An awareness of the chronology of theoretical work and key claims of leading theorists
  6. An ability to reason theoretically through written and spoken communication.

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

1 x Contextual research essay (2,500 words) 

1 x Reflective essay (5,000 words)

1 x Contemporary Analysis comment (1500 words)

1 x Multiple Choice test

1 x Exam (2,000 words)

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.


Twenty hours per week -  four of which are contact, and sixteen are reading and preparation.

1 x Lecture attendance, 1 x seminar attendance.


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:
12 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.

12.00 0.25000
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2017 $6840
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2017 $9756
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
2948 20 Feb 2017 27 Feb 2017 31 Mar 2017 26 May 2017 In Person N/A

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