Course code EDS203

EDS203 Introduction to International Relations

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Showing course contents for the educational year 2022 - 2023 .

Course responsible: Kirsti Stuvøy
ECTS credits: 5
Faculty: Faculty of Landscape and Society
Teaching language: EN
(NO=norsk, EN=Engelsk)
Teaching exam periods:
This course starts in August block. This course has teaching/evaluation in August block.
Course frequency: Annually
First time: Study year 2010-2011
Preferential right:
Course contents:
This introductory course addresses what international relations is as a field of study. It introduces students to key debates in the field and how to analyse international relations. Thematically the course takes its starting point from the central role of the state in the international system and the historical emergence of principles such as sovereignty and non-intervention to regulate state-relations are in focus. We discuss change and continuity in the evolution of the international state-system, emphasising change in hegemonic leadership, the emergence of powerful international actors vis-à-vis the state, e.g. non-state and sub-state actors; and challenges to multilateral institutions. The course addresses international security, emphasising changing trends in war and violent conflict, and global political economy, addressing structural shifts that have changed capacities of states themselves. Throughout the thematic sessions, international relations concepts are succinctly introduced, emphasising analysis of power, interests, identities, institutions, norms, and more.
Learning outcome:

The is an introduction to international relations, concepts, theories and challenges. Students learn that international relations is a heterogeneous field of study, encompassing a multiplicity of state and non-state actors, events and processes in global politics. The course is divided into three parts: In the first part, students are introduced to the role of theory, concepts and history in international relations. It establishes the main question around how to study the international. In the second part, students are introduced to concepts and their contestations in international relations. Some of the conceptual issues addressed include power and global order, global institutions and legitimacy, identity and political community, war and violent conflict, politics of global security, politics of inequality. In the third part, students learn about contemporary debates in international relations regarding imperialism, racism, gender etc. 

At the end of the course, students have learned about core concepts of international relations and can relate them to theories such as realism, institutionalism, constructivism, social and critical theory.

This course introduces new students in international relations at NMBU to each other. An important part of this course is therefore to learn to be a team player and draw on each other as resource in each other's learning process. 

Students also learn the basics of how to write a good paper in international relations, and how to find relevant resources on academic writing, the conduct of independent literature search, and proper referencing of sources at NMBU. 

Learning activities:

Learning methods include lectures, discussions, group work, oral and written presentations, role play and consultations with academic advisor.

Attendance: Generally speaking, and across academic disciplines, there is a strong correlation between lecture attendance and a student's final mark for any given course. Despite one or two exceptions, poor attendance usually translates into poor final marks. This is because you will not have had the forum to discuss ideas, nor will you have had a comparable guide to the ideas and problems discussed during the lecture course. It is therefore strongly recommended that you attend all lectures. It is also recommended that the students organize so called colloquies, discussion groups in where they can discuss their ideas on religion and politics, however, this is up to the students them-selves. 

Independent work: Of course, independent work is as important as attendance. It is advised that you read broadly. On average, and other commitments notwithstanding, you are expected to give about day a week to self-study on this course, i.e. at least six to seven hours per week. It is recommended that you do at least two hours of preparation a week for the seminars and at least an hour of additional reading before rather than after the lecture. Lectures are to help you with the reading not to substitute for it. Good preparation will greatly reduce the amount of work you will put into writing your essays.

Skills in focus: This course has selected skills-oriented training sessions relevant to academic studies. Students are introduced to the NMBU Writing Centre, the NMBU library, as well as the university regulation on plagiarism and other study specific questions regarding studies at NMBU.  

Teaching support:

Supervision during group work and collquiums.

Office hours and procedures are established at the first class meeting. A course outline is presented in Canvas prior to the start of the course. Information about time and place of lectures and seminars is available in Time Edit on NMBU's website under course code EDS203. 

Neumann, Iver B. (2019): Concepts of International Relations, for Students and Other Smartes. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. 
Bachelor degree
Recommended prerequisites:
Mandatory activity:
Submit signed plagiarism declaration.

Evaluation will be based on two assignments graded graded pass or fail: 

Assignment One: Group work. The group distribution will be selected by the module convener and the group plans its meetings and produce its outcome (podcast, presentation, etc.). The assignment will be discussed in class. The group submits a report presenting the substance of the work and reflection on the work process. The final group report shall be no longer than 1000 words. 

Assignment Two: Individual paper Individual assignment to be submitted at the end of the course. This paper shall be 3000-3500 words. 

It is expected that master students use academic referencing. Plagiarism will be seriously stricken down on, as will failure to contribute. 

The papers should be written in font 12 and the Times New Roman Style, with 1.5 line spacing.

Exam only in English. 

Nominal workload:
125 hours
Entrance requirements:
This course is for students with admission to MSc International Relations.
Reduction of credits:
Type of course:
The course will run over 3 weeks with 10 hours of activities, e.g. lectures, seminars, exercises, every week. 125 hours work load. 
External evaluation shall be used in connection with the assessment arrangements.
Examination details: Portfolio assessment: Passed / Not Passed