Skip to main content

Trinity College Dublin, The University of Dublin

Trinity Menu Trinity Search



You are here Undergraduate > Module Outlines

Module Code: POU22021

Module Name: International Relations: Theories of International Politics 2020-21

  • ECTS Weighting: 5
  • Semester/Term Taught: Semester 1
  • Contact Hours: 22 hours lectures + fortnightly tutorials; 5 hours tutorials
  • Module Personnel: Prof. William Phelan
  • Module Prerequisite: either PO1600 Introduction to Political Science or PO1603 Politics and Irish Society
  • Module Co-Requisite: POU22022 International Relations B
  • Pre-requisite for SS module: POU44021 Contemporary International Relations A and POU44032 Contemporary International Relations B

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this course students will be able to:

  • Understand the basic causal mechanisms underlying leading approaches to explaining state behavior in international politics
  • Assess the explanatory power of leading theoretical approaches to international relations, including as relates to particular historical examples
  • Understand the different collective action problems associated with different issue-areas in international politics.
Contribute, on the basis of theory and knowledge of a range of issue-areas, to contemporary debates in international relations scholarship about the relative influence of power, international institutions, domestic interests and international norms in state behavior.

Module Learning Aims

To introduce students to theoretical approaches to studying international relations, including scholarly debates old and new.


Module Content

This course is an introduction to the positive, descriptive study of international relations. Why do states make war? What are the conditions for the growth of cross-border trade and finance? What is the impact of international organizations on relations between states? This course considers these questions by looking at differing theoretical approaches to international relations and a selection of topics in historical and contemporary politics.

Back to top


Recommended Reading List

Robert O. Keohane, After Hegemony: Cooperation and Discord in World Political Economy (Princeton University Press, 1984)


Assessment Details (TBC)

Tutorial participation and written assignment - weighted 35%
Exam - weighted 65%

Back to top