International Relations - IRELA14765

Stream Summary

Faculty: Faculty of Law

School: School of Social Sciences

Contact: School of Social Sciences

Program: 4765 - International Studies / Law


Bachelor of International Studies (Major)

Information valid for students commencing 2013.
Students who commenced prior to 2013 should go to the Handbook's Previous Editions

Stream Outline

A contemporary, dynamic, discipline, International Relations is the study of politics at the international, cross-national, transnational, regional, and global, level. Although a relatively modern discipline, it is one of increasing relevance in the contemporary world because of what can be broadly termed globalization. We are constantly reminded of the impact of international relations on everyday lives from climate change to agricultural trade, from terrorism to refugees. A major stream in International Relations is therefore at the cutting edge of current concerns. The solutions to many national problems are now intricately linked with regional and international treaties and conventions. International Relations is most closely related to the study of Politics but it is has links with other disciplines, including International History, Economics, and Law. UNSW has research strength in several sub-disciplines of International Relations, including International Political Economy, and the Politics of International Law.

Students graduating from UNSW with a major stream in International Relations should be able to demonstrate:
  • a knowledge of key actors and their functions in world politics as well as their place within political system;
  • a knowledge of key concepts and terms used within International Relations
  • an understanding of alternative theoretical approaches to the study of world politics of both a normative and positive character as well as the strengths and weakness of these approaches;
  • an appreciation of the historical evolution of both world politics and the study of world politics
Students will also develop discipline-specific and generic social science skills, including being able to:
  • respond to a piece of writing on International Relations, identifying its strengths and weaknesses;
  • distinguish among theoretical, conceptual, and empirical lines of enquiry;
  • contribute to the discussion of political and ethical issues in a reasoned manner;
  • undertake research, using both traditional, and technological sources;
  • communicate ideas fluently, develop a reasoned argument, synthesise relevant information and exercise critical judgement;
  • write in a style used within this discipline;
  • reflect on their own learning and seek to make use of constructive feedback

Stream Structure

A student who wishes to gain a major stream in International Relations must complete 54 units of credit including 12 uoc at level 1, at least 18 uoc at level 2 and at least 18 uoc at level 3 including the capstone course.

Level 1
Note: Students in the International Relations Major Stream are allowed to double count ARTS1810 towards their major; this leaves 6 UOC to be covered by a Prescribed International Studies Elective. A Prescribed International Studies Elective is any of the level one gateway courses from International Relations, Globalisation Studies, Asian Studies, European Studies and Development Studies. However, students can only take gateway courses from other major streams, not their own. The Prescribed International Studies Elective list consists of:

Level 2

International Relations Courses:
The following courses from other subject areas can also be counted towards the International Relations major stream:

Level 3

International Relations Courses:
The following courses from other subject areas can also be counted towards the International Relations stream:
International Relations Capstone course (Compulsory)
UN General Assembly

Study Levels

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