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Module Code - Title:


Year Last Offered:


Hours Per Week:













Grading Type:


Prerequisite Modules:

Rationale and Purpose of the Module:

The module develops students' understanding of the theories and methods used in the empirical study of International Relations. Substantively, the module focuses largely on questions of international cooperation and conflict. The module presents the main theoretical approaches to the study of interstate conflict, describes the role, functions, and decision-making structures of international organizations (with a particular focus on the EU and UN), and discusses a range of related topical issues, such as the role of trust for establishing cooperation, the democratic peace thesis, military interventions, and international terrorism.


The module introduces students to: - The main theories of international conflict - Criteria for judging the validity of theoretical arguments and the quality of empirical work - Formal tools for theory building and data analysis commonly used in International Relations research - The functions and decision-making structures of major international governmental organizations - Empirical research on current topics in international cooperation and conflict

Learning Outcomes:

Cognitive (Knowledge, Understanding, Application, Analysis, Evaluation, Synthesis)

On completion of this module, students should be able: To describe the decision-making structures of the United Nations and the European Union To assess the relevance of international organizations for explaining international events and processes To assess the role of domestic actors and institutions in shaping the behaviour of governments in international politics To interpret simple game-theoretical models as well as the results of simple statistical analyses and quantitative network analyses To critically assess the validity of theoretical arguments and the appropriateness of methods used in current research

Affective (Attitudes and Values)

On completion of this module, students should be able: Appreciate the value of social scientific methods for answering explanatory and normative research questions about international cooperation and conflict

Psychomotor (Physical Skills)

Not applicable

How the Module will be Taught and what will be the Learning Experiences of the Students:

The module will be taught in the form of lectures and seminars. The lectures provide the required grounding in theoretical debates and empirical methods to understand and competently critique current research in this area (graduate attribute: KNOWLEDGEABLE). The seminars are divided between presentations by students and subsequent class discussions (graduate attribute: ARTICULATE). The presentations consist of descriptions and critical assessments of recent empirical studies published in the top journals of the discipline (graduate attribute: KNOWLEDGEABLE).

Research Findings Incorporated in to the Syllabus (If Relevant):

Prime Texts:

Sobek, David (2009) The Causes of War , Polity
Levy, Jack S., and William R. Thompson (2010) Causes of War , Wiley-Blackwell
Rittberger, Volker, and Bernhard Zangl (2006) International Organization: Polity, Politics and Policies , Palgrave Macmillan

Other Relevant Texts:

Jackson, Robert, and Georg Sørenson (2007) Introduction to International Relations: Theories and Approaches , Oxford University Press
Nicholson, Michael (2002) International Relations: A Concise Introduction , Palgrave Macmillan
Brown, Chris, and Kirsten Ainley (2009) Understanding International Relations , Palgrave Macmillan

Programme(s) in which this Module is Offered:

MAEUPLTFA - European Union Politics and Law
MAINSTTFA - International Studies
MAPDSTTFA - Peace and Development Studies
MAPOLITFA - Politics
MAPUADTFA - Public Administration

Semester - Year to be First Offered:

Module Leader: