International Relations III

Course - first cycle - 61-90 credits

Syllabus for students spring 2014

Course Code:
IR103L revision 3
Level of specialisation
Main fields of study:
International Relations
Date of ratification:
20 November 2013
Decision-making body:
Faculty of Culture and Society
Enforcement date:
20 January 2014
Replaces Syllabus ratified:
30 August 2013

Entry requirements

International Relations, 31-60 hp.


The general aim of the course is that students should be able to further develop their analytical competence for independent analysis and critical reflection regarding complex issues in the field of International Relations.


The course consists of three modules.

Contemporary Challenges in International Relations, 7,5 hp

This module delves into contemporary challenges in the field of International Relations, particularly pertaining to ethics and security and the linkages between ethical and security issues. The topics include tensions such as those between intervention and state sovereignty and traditional security and human security. This module also discusses the importance of highlighting normative positions, and subsequent methodological consequences, in a variety of analytical settings.

Method and Philosophy of Science, 7,5 hp

This module builds on the IR II methods module. The learning activities focus on the following main areas: (1) philosophy of science in relation to concrete research in International Relations; (2) the interrelationship between the different elements of the scientific research process; and (3) the aspect of critical self-reflection in International Relations research. The module requires self-study of literature, and student participation in seminars and lectures. It is examined through a written assignment.

Thesis, 15 credits

The module consists of individual thesis work (15 credits). The student chooses his/her thesis subject in collaboration with a supervisor. The learning activities of the module include research plan, text seminars, supervision, and examination seminar.

Learning outcomes

The Course consists of three modules:

Contemporary Challenges in International Relations, 7,5 hp

After finishing the module, the student can

1. Describe, interpret and critically reflect upon ethical theories and problems within the field of IR.

2. Explain how military and non-military security issues can be conceptualized within IR.

3. Critically apply the concept of securitization and reflect upon its normative consequences.

Method and Philosophy of Science, 7,5 hp

After finishing the module, the student can

4. Define, analyze and compare the key epistemological, ontological and methodological starting points in the field of International Relations.

5. Independently pose and critically assess scientific research problems by describing how methodology and theory are linked.

6. Identify and summarize the elements of the scientific research process – research question, theory, method, material, analysis and results – and discuss and clarify their relation to one another.

7. Evaluate his/her own previous research product in terms of its methodological choices in relation to existing research within the student’s chosen area, and identify his/her potential contribution to this literature.

Thesis, 15 credits

After finishing the module, the student can

??8. Identify research problems, and independently articulate the purpose and research questions relevant to the subject.

9. Identify, correctly describe, critically discuss and articulate the relevant theory and methodology in relation to previous research.

10. Critically process material in an independent and structured scientific analysis and locate your contribution in relation to the scientific debate.

11. Produce an academic thesis demonstrating a good command of language and with a correct and consistent referencing system.

12. Orally present, defend and discuss the student’s thesis and give constructive criticism on other theses.

Learning activities

Teaching takes place as lectures, seminars and workshops. In addition to their attendance students are also expected to spend substantial time on studying the course literature and in preparation of work for assessment.

A student who has not finished the project work during the course, or has not received a passing grade on the project work at the end of the course cannot be guaranteed continued supervision.


The student’s performance in module 1(Contemporary Challenges in International Relations) is assessed as follows:

Intended learning outcomes 1-3 are assessed through an oral group presentation and an individual written assignment.

The student’s performance in module 2 (Method and Philosophy of Science) is assessed as follows:

Intended learning outcomes 4-7 are assessed through an individual written assignment and a sit-down exam.

The student’s performance in module 3 (Bachelor Thesis) is assessed as follows:

Intended learning outcomes 8-12 are assessed through the student’s thesis, the student’s oral defence of his/her submitted thesis and comments on another student’s thesis.

Grading system

Excellent (A), Very Good (B), Good (C), Satisfactory (D), Pass (E) or Fail (U).

Course literature and other teaching materials

  • Amstutz, Mark. 2012. International Ethics: Concepts, Theories, and Cases in Global Politics. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield.
  • Collins, Alan (ed.). 2013. Contemporary Security Studies. Third edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Detraz, Nicole. 2012. International Security and Gender. Cambridge: Polity.
  • Halperin, Sandra & Oliver Heath. 2012. Political Research. Methods and Practical Skills, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Klotz, Audie and Cecilia Lynch. 2007. Strategies for Research in Constructivist International Relations. Armonk: M.E. Sharpe.
  • Rachels, James. 2009. The Elements of Moral Philosophy, London: McGraw-Hill Higher Education (selection, c. 100 pages.).

Additional literature in connection to the method module is selected in consultation with teacher. c. 150 pages.

Additional articles, c. 150 pages.

Course evaluation

All students are offered an opportunity to give oral and written feedback at the end of the course. A summary of the results will be made available on the school’s web-pages. The students are also given a possibility to offer feedback for each module/unit.

Student participation takes place through the course council.