Core Subject: Concepts in International Relations

Course content

This compulsory course provides a foundation in the discipline of International Relations (IR) at post-graduate level. It focuses on core concepts of international relations as well as the approaches that have been developed to study IR phenomena. Rather than relying on a traditional and in many ways outdated understanding of the discipline as a collection of theories and paradigms or series of great debates, the introduction offers a more fluid and dialogical understanding of the discipline as a collective interested in certain problems, developing concepts in response to these as well dedicated research approaches. The course conducts a survey which includes classical studies as well as contemporary ones. The focus on concepts and approaches allows for a fruitful dialogue between classics and contemporaries.

The course discusses foundational social-theoretical models, epistemological as well as methodological considerations. It does not, however, provide an introduction to research design, methods and the practicalities of designing, implementing and evaluating a small scale research project.


Core subject in the core-subject lines in Foreign Policy, International Relations and Conflict Resolution, and International Political Economy. Only accessible to students who are admitted to these core-subject lines.


NB! All exams (both ordinary and re-exams) will take place at the end of the autumn semesters only, as the course is not offered in the spring

Notice: It is only possible to enroll for one course having a 3-day compulsory written take-home assignment exam due to coincident exam periods.

International Politics and Foreign Policy. A Reader in Research and Theory, ed. James N Rosenau. New York: The Free Press, 1969.

Handbook of International Relations, eds. Walter Carlsnaes, et al. Sage: London, 2002.

Concepts in World Politics, ed Felix Berenskoetter, Sage: London, 2016.

7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written examination
72 hours take home exam
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Criteria for exam assessment
  • Grade 12 is given for an outstanding performance: the student lives up to the course's goal description in an independent and convincing manner with no or few and minor shortcomings
  • Grade 7 is given for a good performance: the student is confidently able to live up to the goal description, albeit with several shortcomings
  • Grade 02 is given for an adequate performance: the minimum acceptable performance in which the student is only able to live up to the goal description in an insecure and incomplete manner

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 28
  • English
  • 28