Credit points: 15

Subject outline

In this subject students are provided with a comprehensive overview of the major approaches to International Relations theory. In this subject we examine the purpose of theory, the origins of International Relations theory and its institutional evolution. We then consider the following approaches: realism; liberalism; constructivism; 'English School' approaches; classical theories; materialist theories; foreign policy analysis, normative theory; and post-positivist theory. Students undertake a detailed analysis of the central ideas associated with each theoretical approach, the major proponents of each theory, the historical and political factors which have given rise to each approach and the opportunities and shortcomings of having such a diverse range of theories competing for analytic and real-world influence.

FacultyFaculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

Credit points15

Subject Co-ordinatorDaniel Bray

Available to Study Abroad StudentsYes

Subject year levelYear Level 3 - UG

Exchange StudentsYes

Subject particulars

Subject rules

Prerequisites 15 credit points of any first year Politics subject and 15 credit points of any Humanities and Social Sciences subject, or subject coordinator's approval.


Incompatible subjects POL2TWP

Equivalent subjectsN/A

Special conditionsN/A

Learning resources


Resource TypeTitleResource RequirementAuthor and YearPublisher
ReadingsTheories of International RelationsPrescribedBurchill, S. et al(5TH EDITION) PALGRAVE 2013.
ReadingsA history of international relations theoryRecommendedKnutsen, T.MANCHESTER UP 1997
ReadingsMaking sense of international relations theory,RecommendedSterling-Faulker, J.LYNNE RIEMER 2006
ReadingsUnderstanding international relationsPreliminaryBrown, C and Ainley, KPALGRAVE 2005

Subject options

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Start date between: and    Key dates

Melbourne, 2014, Semester 2, Day


Online enrolmentYes

Maximum enrolment sizeN/A

Enrolment information

Subject Instance Co-ordinatorDaniel Bray

Class requirements

Lecture Week: 31 - 43
One 2.0 hours lecture per week on weekdays during the day from week 31 to week 43 and delivered via blended.

Tutorial Week: 31 - 43
One 1.0 hours tutorial per week on weekdays during the day from week 31 to week 43 and delivered via blended.


Assessment elementComments%
One take-home exam (equivalent to 1000 words)25
one 1-hour examination (equivalent to 1000 words)25
one 2,000-word essay50