International Relations Theory, 7.5 credits

International Relations Theory, 7.5 hp


Main field of study

Political Science

Course level

Second cycle

Course type

Programme course


Lars Niklasson

Course coordinator

Lars Niklasson

Director of studies or equivalent

Albin Algotson
ECV = Elective / Compulsory / Voluntary
Course offered for Semester Weeks Language Campus ECV
F7MER International and European Relations, Master's Programme - First and main admission round 1 (Autumn 2024) 202439-202443 English Linköping, Valla C
F7MER International and European Relations, Master's Programme - Second admission round (open only for Swedish/EU students) 1 (Autumn 2024) 202439-202443 English Linköping, Valla C

Main field of study

Political Science

Course level

Second cycle

Advancement level


Course offered for

  • Master´s Programme in International and European Relations

Entry requirements

  • Bachelor’s degree equivalent to a Swedish Kandidatexamen in one of the following subjects:
    - political science
    - international relations
    - economics
    - history
    - geography
    - philosophy
    - law
    - sociology
    or equivalent
  • English corresponding to the level of English in Swedish upper secondary education (English 6)
    Exemption from Swedish

Intended learning outcomes

After completion of the course the student should be able to:

  • demonstrate knowledge and understanding of important theoretical and methodological developments within the contemporary discipline of International Relations;
  • comprehend how these developments are related to the history and practice of international relations;
  • critically analyze international practices according to the various theoretical perspectives introduced.

Course content

The central themes of the course are:

  • main disciplinary trends and controversies since c. 1980: neo-realism and neo-liberalism as dominant modes of analysis;
  • advent of post-positivism in International Relations; significance of the end of the Cold War;
  • new theoretical and methodological approaches with special emphasis on constructivism;
  • contemporary critical perspectives, e.g. post-structuralism and the feminist agenda;
  • epistemological concerns, meaning the conditions for knowledge about international relations.

Teaching and working methods

The course offers lectures which introduce and develop the content of the course. Lectures are complementary to the literature. Seminars and workshops are important aspects of the learning process and provide opportunities for mutual, critical discussions which develop attitudes and skills. Students are expected to be well prepared for lectures and to have completed assigned preparations for seminars. Students are expected to read and take in the literature independently and/or in self-organized reading groups. Language of instruction is English.

Activities which constitute elements of examination are mandatory.


The course is examined through a combination of seminar papers, presentations, and home writing tasks.
Detailed information about the examination can be found in the course’s study guide.

If special circumstances prevail, and if it is possible with consideration of the nature of the compulsory component, the examiner may decide to replace the compulsory component with another equivalent component.

If the LiU coordinator for students with disabilities has granted a student the right to an adapted examination for a written examination in an examination hall, the student has the right to it.

If the coordinator has recommended for the student an adapted examination or alternative form of examination, the examiner may grant this if the examiner assesses that it is possible, based on consideration of the course objectives.

An examiner may also decide that an adapted examination or alternative form of examination if the examiner assessed that special circumstances prevail, and the examiner assesses that it is possible while maintaining the objectives of the course.

Students failing an exam covering either the entire course or part of the course twice are entitled to have a new examiner appointed for the reexamination.

Students who have passed an examination may not retake it in order to improve their grades.



Other information

Planning and implementation of a course must take its starting point in the wording of the syllabus. The course evaluation included in each course must therefore take up the question how well the course agrees with the syllabus. 

The course is conducted in such a way that there are equal opportunities with regard to sex, transgender identity or expression, ethnicity, religion or other belief, disability, sexual orientation and age.

If special circumstances prevail, the vice-chancellor may in a special decision specify the preconditions for temporary deviations from this course syllabus, and delegate the right to take such decisions.


Institutionen för ekonomisk och industriell utveckling
Code Name Scope Grading scale
SEM1 Seminars 2.5 credits EC
PAPE Examination paper 5 credits EC


Burchill, Scott & Linklater, Andrew, (2013) Theories of International Relations

fifth adition

Devetak, Richard, True, Jacqui, Burchill, Scott, (2022) Theories of international relations. Sixth edition. London : Bloomsbury, 2022

ISBN: 9781352012170, 1352012170, 9781352012149, 1352012146

Ringmar, Erik, (2019) History of international relations : a non-European perspective. Cambridge, UK : Open Book Publishers, [2019]

ISBN: 9781783740246

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