• Class Number 4212
  • Term Code 3330
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Dr Brandon Yoder
    • Dr Brandon Yoder
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 20/02/2023
  • Class End Date 26/05/2023
  • Census Date 31/03/2023
  • Last Date to Enrol 27/02/2023
    • Dr Xiaoli Guo
SELT Survey Results

The central objective of this course is to extend students’ grasp of the purpose and application of theoretical paradigms in international relations. Theories provide frameworks to understand the behaviour of actors in a complex and dynamic global environment. Distinct theoretical paradigms make central assumptions about primary factors that drive human action with implications for how we understand, explain, and predict issues and interactions in the international arena. Such factors range from scarcity and a drive for control (e.g., classical realism, neorealism, game theory); to a drive to cooperate for absolute gains (e.g., neoliberal institutionalism, liberalism), constructed identities based on historically-contingent meanings and values (e.g., constructivism), and unequal power relations that underpin a drive for autonomy, agency, and empowerment. (e.g., critical theories, feminist theory). The course teaches all theoretical paradigms with a focus on how they can be applied to better understand political issues and challenges in the contemporary global environment.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. identify and describe the main elements of the most significant theoretical approaches to the study of international relations;
  2. recognise and interpret key texts that have shaped the development of international relations theory;
  3. apply different theoretical approaches to the analysis of events in international affairs; and
  4. critically appraise theoretical works in the field of international relations.

Research-Led Teaching

This class incorporates cutting-edge theoretical developments and empirical findings from Dr Brandon Yoder’s research as well as the academic fields in which he works. Dr. Yoder’s research focuses on contemporary US-China relations and East Asian regional dynamics more broadly. His academic interests also cover international security, interstate signalling, game theory and laboratory experiments.


Research-led teaching is not simply about the research expertise that convenors bring to a course. It also includes the ways in which courses’ skills acquisition and assessment are designed to enable students to acquire sound knowledge-acquisition skills. To this end, the course’s activities have been designed around reading comprehension as a skill central to political analysis. Therefore, students read and prepare comments about core texts for discussion in tutorial. Evidence gathering is also a core research skill. To this end, students are alerted to many potential sources for information and evidence that can be useful for students’ simulation participation and response essay. Thoughtful analysis and presentation of research findings is a crucial core research skill, and therefore the course contains two essay assessments to provide students with an opportunity to practice those skills. 

Additional Course Costs

There are no additional costs associated with this course.

Examination Material or equipment

Details about the material or equipment that is permitted in an examination room will be outlined during the semester and on the course’s Wattle site.

Required Resources

There are no assigned textbooks. Required and additional readings will be made available on the course’s Wattle page.

A large number of journals and periodicals exist that include the cutting edge developments of the discipline. Being familiar with these sources and surveying at least some of them regularly will assist you in this course.

American Political Science Review

American Journal of Political Science

Australian Journal of International Affairs

Chinese Journal of International Politics

Global Governance

European Journal of International Relations

Foreign Affairs

International Organization

International Security

International Studies Quarterly

Journal of Conflict Resolution

Journal of Peace Research

Journal of Politics

Review of International Organizations

Review of International Political Economy

Security Studies

World Politics

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:

  • Tutorials offer immediate feedback on students’ ideas and understanding of course materials during tutorials.
  • Tutors are available to provide feedback on your research proposal and research essay (but cannot look at full drafts) prior to the research proposal and research essay due date.
  • Examiners will provide written feedback on both the research proposal and the research essay via Turnitin.

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). Feedback can also be provided to Course Conveners and teachers via the Student Experience of Learning & Teaching (SELT) feedback program. SELT surveys are confidential and also provide the Colleges and ANU Executive with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement.

Other Information

The information provided is a preliminary Class Outline. A finalised version will be available on Wattle and will be accessible after enrolling in this course. All updates, changes and further information will be uploaded on the course Wattle site and will not be updated on Programs and Courses throughout the semester. Any questions or concerns should be directed to the Course Convenor.

Additional referencing requirements

It is a requirement of this course that your essay conform to academic writing standards and referencing. An in-text referencing style is strongly preferred. Both the Harvard referencing style and the Chicago Manual of Style (author-date) are acceptable. You may contact the ANU Academic Skills and Writing Centre for further advice. For details about the Harvard citation style please see the ANU style guide website at https://academicskills.anu.edu.au/resources/handouts/referencing-style-guides

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Theory & Causality No tutorials, sign up for them this week
2 Structure of the International System Tutorials start
3 Bargaining and the Security Dilemma
4 Coercive Diplomacy 1ST PAPER ASSIGNED
5 Cooperation Under Anarchy
6 Global Governance 1ST PAPER DUE
7 Domestic Politics
8 Liberal Peace
9 National and Transnational Ideas
10 International Norms and Society 2ND PAPER ASSIGNED
11 Psychology and Personality
12 Critical and Feminist Theory

Tutorial Registration

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.

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Learning Outcomes
Tutorial Participation 10 % 1, 3, 4
RESPONSE QUESTIONS 10 % 1, 2, 3, 4
Essays 45 % 1, 2, 3, 4
Final Exam 35 % 1, 2, 3

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines , which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Integrity Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using 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. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the Academic Skills website. In rare cases where online submission using Turnitin software is not technically possible; or where not using Turnitin software has been justified by the Course Convener and approved by the Associate Dean (Education) on the basis of the teaching model being employed; students shall submit assessment online via ‘Wattle’ outside of Turnitin, or failing that in hard copy, or through a combination of submission methods as approved by the Associate Dean (Education). The submission method is detailed below.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.


See Assessment Task 1


See Assessment Task 4

Assessment Task 1

Value: 10 %
Learning Outcomes: 1, 3, 4

Tutorial Participation

Marks are based on your in-class contributions. Tutors will prioritize contributions from students who have not yet spoken that week. Since there is simply not enough time in each session for high-volume contributions from every student, grades will necessarily be weighted more toward quality than quantity. But we do expect everyone to make at least one contribution per tutorial, and your tutor will assess whether it's a mundane comment or one that shows real intellectual effort and insight and advances the discussion. Well-prepared students thus might want to, on occasion, “save your bullets” for a topic where you have something really good to say. Furthermore, to expand opportunities for participation, we will also count toward your grade good questions brought up in the live Q&A sessions and your contributions to small group discussions in tutorials.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 10 %
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 4


  • Weekly response questions on Wattle, designed to gauge your understanding of the assigned readings and lectures. For each week of the course, students are assigned to write a 1-2 paragraph response (limit: 300 words) to a short-answer discussion question in the weekly “response question” forum on Wattle. These are due prior to the start of your tutorial. They will be graded on a 0-3 point scale: 3 for complete, on-time submission, 2 for late submission (no expiry – if you miss a response, make it up for 2 points any time before the final exam!), 1 for superficial/inadequate response, and 0 for non-submission. Inadequate submissions can be revised and resubmitted later for an additional point. The requirements for weekly responses have been relaxed so that the grade is independent of the quality of the response. This allows the students to "write for themselves" without pressure, with the incentive to invest time in the response coming in the form of preparation for the exams. The response questions are similar to the exam questions, so they are designed to guide students in their preparation, not to create an additional burden. Moreover, because the response questions are easy to get full credit on, they boost overall grades substantially.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 45 %
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 4


You will write two 800-word essays, one midterm and one final. The midterm essay is essentially a dry run, worth only 15% of the total grade. Students will receive feedback from the instructor and from each other (see below), and then write a second, final paper in a very similar format worth 30% of the total grade. These papers are designed to prompt students to think theoretically by evaluating alternative arguments presented in the course on deductive grounds only. Students are NOT to come up with new theories, or to use any outside materials. Rather, they should elucidate and critically evaluate the abstract causal logic of each theoretical perspective, and make an argument about which explanation is strongest, on balance.

1)    Midterm essay (15%): 800-word (max!) essay. Will be given letter grades only, with feedback provided through a) peer review; b) generalized comments from the instructors addressing common shortcomings and avenues for improvement and c) distribution of exemplary responses.

3)    Final essay (30%): 800-word (max!) essay. The exact prompt will be distinct from the midterm paper, but the analytical framework will be very similar.

Assessment Task 4

Value: 35 %
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3

Final Exam

Date: To be determined by the university roughly four weeks before the examination period

Value: 35% of final grade

Duration: 15-minute reading period and two hour writing time

Format: Annotated MC, Short Answer

This course’s final exam will be held during the ANU examination period. It is the College policy that all exams are blind marked and they are not returned to the students, nor are comments provided. You may contact the conveners within 30 working days of the release of results to learn your specific exam mark, or to request an appeal. The structure of the final exam will be discussed during lecture.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of the ANU culture as a community of scholars. The University’s students are an integral part of that community. The academic integrity principle commits all students to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support, academic integrity, and to uphold this commitment by behaving honestly, responsibly and ethically, and with respect and fairness, in scholarly practice.

The University expects all staff and students to be familiar with the academic integrity principle, the Academic Integrity Rule 2021, the Policy: Student Academic Integrity and Procedure: Student Academic Integrity, and to uphold high standards of academic integrity to ensure the quality and value of our qualifications.

The Academic Integrity Rule 2021 is a legal document that the University uses to promote academic integrity, and manage breaches of the academic integrity principle. The Policy and Procedure support the Rule by outlining overarching principles, responsibilities and processes. The Academic Integrity Rule 2021 commences on 1 December 2021 and applies to courses commencing on or after that date, as well as to research conduct occurring on or after that date. Prior to this, the Academic Misconduct Rule 2015 applies.


The University commits to assisting all students to understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. All coursework students must complete the online Academic Integrity Module (Epigeum), and Higher Degree Research (HDR) students are required to complete research integrity training. The Academic Integrity website provides information about services available to assist students with their assignments, examinations and other learning activities, as well as understanding and upholding academic integrity.

Online Submission

You will be required to electronically sign a declaration as part of the submission of your assignment. Please keep a copy of the assignment for your records. Unless an exemption has been approved by the Associate Dean (Education) submission must be through Turnitin.

Hardcopy Submission

For some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.

Late Submission

Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item. Late submission is not accepted for take-home examinations.

Referencing Requirements

The Academic Skills website has information to assist you with your writing and assessments. The website includes information about Academic Integrity including referencing requirements for different disciplines. There is also information on Plagiarism and different ways to use source material.

Returning Assignments

Students’ written work will be returned on Turnitin. 

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. Extensions may be granted for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Resubmission of Assignments

Online Submission: Assignments (the research proposal and essay) are submitted using Turnitin on the course Wattle site. You will be required to electronically sign a declaration of authorship as part of the submission of your assignment. Please keep a copy of the assignment for your records.

Students may not resubmit assignments.

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information.
In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service – including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy.
If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes.

Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).

Dr Brandon Yoder

Research Interests

International Security ¨ US-China Relations ¨ Chinese Politics ¨ Politics of East Asia ¨ Power Shifts ¨ Interstate Signaling ¨ Formal Models ¨ Lab Experiments ¨ Foreign Policy

Dr Brandon Yoder

By Appointment
By Appointment
Dr Brandon Yoder

Research Interests

Dr Brandon Yoder

By Appointment
By Appointment
Dr Xiaoli Guo

Research Interests

Dr Xiaoli Guo

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions