Credit points: 15

Subject outline

This subject provides a comprehensive overview of the major approaches to International Relations (IR) theory. The subject first explores the purpose and history of IR theory and then examines the following approaches: liberalism; realism; the 'English School'; constructivism; Marxist approaches; critical theory and post-structuralism; post-colonialism; feminist theory and green theory. Students undertake a detailed analysis of the central ideas associated with each theoretical approach, the major proponents of each theory, and the historical and political factors which have given rise to each approach. In so doing, this subject addresses La Trobe's Sustainability Thinking Essential. Sustainability Thinking entails deep appreciation of how the theories we adopt and the choices we make affect the natural, economic, social, political and cultural systems - now and in the future.

SchoolHumanities and Social Sciences

Credit points15

Subject Co-ordinatorDaniel Bray

Available to Study Abroad/Exchange StudentsYes

Subject year levelYear Level 2 - UG

Available as ElectiveYes

Learning ActivitiesLecture presentations and tutorial discussion activities; research essay, take-home exam.

Capstone subjectNo

Subject particulars

Subject rules

Prerequisites 15 credit points of level one POL coded subjects


Incompatible subjectsPOL3TWP

Equivalent subjectsN/A

Quota Management StrategyN/A

Quota-conditions or rulesN/A

Special conditionsN/A

Minimum credit point requirementN/A

Assumed knowledgeN/A

Learning resources

International Relations Theories: Discipline and Diversity

Resource TypeBook

Resource RequirementPrescribed

AuthorTim Dunne et al



PublisherOxford University Press


Chapter/article titleN/A



Other descriptionN/A

Source locationN/A

Career Ready


Work-based learningNo

Self sourced or Uni sourcedN/A

Entire subject or partial subjectN/A

Total hours/days requiredN/A

Location of WBL activity (region)N/A

WBL addtional requirementsN/A

Graduate capabilities & intended learning outcomes

Graduate Capabilities

COMMUNICATION - Communicating and Influencing
INQUIRY AND ANALYSIS - Creativity and Innovation
INQUIRY AND ANALYSIS - Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
INQUIRY AND ANALYSIS - Research and Evidence-Based Inquiry
PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL - Ethical and Social Responsibility

Intended Learning Outcomes

01. Understand the main ideas and claims of each of the approaches to International Relations (IR theory
02. Recognise how IR theories have emerged in response to changing intellectual, political and economic circumstances.
03. Critically analyse IR theories and apply them to developments in world politics.
04. Examine how each approach reflects a normative worldview concerning what kind of international system ought to be sustained.

Subject options

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Start date between: and    Key dates

Melbourne (Bundoora), 2021, Semester 2, Blended


Online enrolmentYes

Maximum enrolment sizeN/A

Subject Instance Co-ordinatorDaniel Bray

Class requirements

LectureWeek: 30 - 42
One 2.00 hours lecture per week on weekdays during the day from week 30 to week 42 and delivered via blended.

TutorialWeek: 30 - 42
One 1.00 hour tutorial per week on weekdays during the day from week 30 to week 42 and delivered via blended.


Assessment elementCommentsCategoryContributionHurdle% ILO*

Mid-semester Exam (1000 word equivalent)In-class exam consisting of extended answers to a list of questions

N/AOther written examIndividualNo25 SILO1, SILO2

Research Essay (2000 words)

N/AOtherIndividualNo50 SILO1, SILO2, SILO3

Take-home Exam (1000 words)Essay based on the concept of sustainability

N/AOtherIndividualNo25 SILO4