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IR3073   International Institutions and Global Challenges

Academic year(s): 2023-2024

Key information

SCOTCAT credits : 30

ECTS credits : 15

Level : SCQF level 9

Semester: Both

Planned timetable: Tues 4pm (Semester 1) Wed 12 noon (Semester 2)

This module focuses on contemporary international institutions—norms, rules, and organisations—aimed at addressing matters of pressing global concern. Most fundamentally, the module is concerned with applying International Relations scholarship to assess practical policy challenges in contemporary global politics. What should be done to reduce armed violence and promote a more peaceful international system, and how can these goals be achieved in a world of finite resources and competing interests? The first half of the module provides an advanced examination of IR theory, focusing on (some) major approaches concerning the origins, roles, and efficacy of institutions, asking “when do institutions matter, and how?” The second half of the module applies these analytic lenses to case studies from the fields of international security, human rights, and justice. The specific topics will vary by year. Throughout, students are challenged to integrate theory and empirics to critically evaluate the utility of IR scholarship in understanding and responding to real-world problems.

Relationship to other modules

Pre-requisite(s): Before taking this module you must pass IR2006

Learning and teaching methods and delivery

Weekly contact: 1 x 1-hour lecture plus 1 x 1-hour tutorial. In order to ensure small groups for the tutorial discussions, the instructor will divide the class into multiple tutorial groups, each of which will meet each week during semester.

Scheduled learning hours: 55

Guided independent study hours: 250

Assessment pattern

As used by St Andrews: This module is assessed 100% by coursework.

As defined by QAA
Coursework: 100%

Re-assessment: 3-hour Written Examination = 100%


Module coordinator: Dr A S Bower
Module teaching staff: Dr A Bower

Intended learning outcomes

  • Concepts: actors, agency, and power in global governance
  • Advanced comprehension of (some) core IR theories of governance
  • Demonstrated understanding of important contemporary case studies
  • Employing scholarship: linking theory and 'real world' examples
  • Developing analytical skills: reading and writing