pol5cir contemp internat relations




Credit points: 30

Subject outline

This subject provides an introduction to the structures, issues and powers of the contemporary international system and surveys the academic and policy debates about these issues. The subject is a graduate level survey course on contemporary issues and institutions in international affairs. The subject begins with an examination of the foundational components of the international system: the state and globalization, the role of war and the balance of power in the international system, and the global economy with focus on recent economic crises. The subject then examines America's distinctive global role and the prospects of structural change in world politics caused the rise of new powers. The subject then considers a number of issues and cases. It examines growth of peace operations and humanitarian intervention, the place of nationalism, the growth of democracy, and changes in the natural environment; international law and population movement.

SchoolSchool of Humanities & Social Sciences

Credit points30

Subject Co-ordinatorKumuda Simpson-Gray

Available to Study Abroad StudentsYes

Subject year levelYear Level 5 - Masters

Exchange StudentsYes

Subject particulars

Subject rules

Prerequisites Enrolment in the Master of International Relations (AMIR/AMIRL/AMIRH/AMIRS), Graduate Diploma of International Relations(AGIR) or Graduate Certificate of International Relations (ACIR).


Incompatible subjects POL4CIR

Equivalent subjectsN/A

Special conditions Core subject for the Master of International Relations (AMIR/AMIRL/AMIRH/AMIRS), Graduate Diploma of International Relations(AGIR) and Graduate Certificate of International Relations (ACIR)

Learning resources


Resource TypeTitleResource RequirementAuthor and YearPublisher
ReadingsContemporary debates on nationalism,RecommendedOzkirimli, U.PALGRAVE 2005
ReadingsContemporary security studies,RecommendedCollins, A.OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS 2007
ReadingsGlobalization of world politics,RecommendedBaylis, J. and Smith, S.4TH EDN, OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS 2008
ReadingsSpecial providence: American foreign policy and how it changed the world,RecommendedRussell Mead, W.KNOPF 2002
ReadingsTaming American power: the global response to US,RecommendedWalt, S. M.NORTON 2005
ReadingsUnderstanding international relations,RecommendedBrown, C.PALGRAVE 2005

Graduate capabilities & intended learning outcomes

01. Students will have extensive knowledge of key issues, institutions and ideas that shape contemporary international relations.

Essay, book review, event brief.

02. Students will use their advanced knowledge and research skills to critically examine key dynamics and trends in these issues and ideas.

Essay, book review, event brief.

03. Students will autonomously design and execute a substantial research project on a key issue in international relations that demonstrates advanced critical thinking skills and uses them to situate the issue in its social, political and economic context.

Essay, book review, event brief.

Subject options

Select to view your study options…

Start date between: and    Key dates

Melbourne, 2015, Semester 1, Day


Online enrolmentYes

Maximum enrolment sizeN/A

Enrolment information

Subject Instance Co-ordinatorDaniel Bray

Class requirements

SeminarWeek: 10 - 22
One 2.0 hours seminar per week on weekdays during the day from week 10 to week 22 and delivered via blended.


Assessment elementComments%ILO*
One 1,250-word book review1501, 02, 03
One 1,250-word world event brief1501, 02, 03
one 6,500-word essay7001, 02, 03