• 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
  • Course convener
    • Dr Mathew Davies
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in First Semester 2020
    See Future Offerings

This course surveys the principal theoretical perspectives on international relations that have emerged in the 20th and 21st centuries. It considers why we should theorise about international relations, asks what international relations is as an academic discipline, 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 nature of academic disciplines, and the shifting considerations of what it means to engage in social scientific research) and external dynamics (real world events, public demands on intellectuals) to consider how and why the discipline has evolved and changed. The course takes a critical approach to the European and gendered dimensions of IR’s theoretical development.  

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Appreciate the centrality of theorizing to thinking about international relations
  2. Understand the principal theoretical perspectives that have been developed to understand international relations and global politics
  3. Appreciate how individual theories have evolved in relation to one another and within particular social and historical contexts
  4. Engage with theories critically and reflectively
  5. Relate theories to contemporary events
  6. Reason theoretically through written and spoken communication

Other Information

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

Indicative Assessment

  1. Please note that this assessment is indicative only. The actual assessment for the course is provided in the Class Summary prior to the commencement of the semester in which the course is being conducted and may differ from this assessment. (null) [LO null]
  2. Essay 1 (20) [LO 1,2,3,4,5,6]
  3. Mid-Course Review (15) [LO 1,2,3,4,5,6]
  4. Essay 2 (35) [LO 1,2,3,4,5,6]
  5. Multiple Choice Test (10) [LO 1,2,3,4,5,6]
  6. Final Exam (20) [LO 1,2,3,4,5,6]

In response to COVID-19: Please note that Semester 2 Class Summary information (available under the classes tab) is as up to date as possible. Changes to Class Summaries not captured by this publication will be available to enrolled students via Wattle. 

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Approximately 260 hours comprising seminars, lectures, as well as associated preparation, independent study, and assessment time.

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..

Inherent Requirements

Not Applicable

Prescribed Texts

To be advised.


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
2020 $8100
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2020 $11520
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
2489 24 Feb 2020 02 Mar 2020 08 May 2020 05 Jun 2020 In Person View

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