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International Political Thought (INT3110)

This course provides students with a set of conceptual and analytical tools in order to acquire a deeper and more nuanced understanding of international relations. 

Emnet undervises på engelsk. 




About the course

The course surveys the various schools of thought in international politics, it provides an account of the evolution of thinking in international relations theory and relates theory to current debates in international affairs.

The objectives of the course are to promote a more abstract and critical space for thinking about a wide an intellectually demanding range of literature, and to develop the ability to articulate this thought clearly and concisely in both written and spoken form.

Major themes include: normative theory, methodology and epistemology, theories of international relations – realism, liberalism, hermeneutics, Marxism and critical theories – and issues pertaining to human nature, science and the environment. 

Learning outcomes

The candidate shall be able to…


  • Display a thorough understanding of some of the most important theoretical perspectives on the international relations agenda.
  • Understand in a more sophisticated way issues, events and controversies in the international political realm.
  • Be sensitive to the methodological, normative and philosophical complexities associated with political theorizing.
  • Appreciate the disciplinary history of international relations theory, and core assumption that inform the subject


  • Draw on the theoretical debate in order to better develop student´s own political views, particularly in the international domain.
  • Relate theory to practice – by understanding how theory shapes the options political actors choose when examining policy options.
  • Develop debating and didactic skills.


  • Understand the relevance and significance of 'theory' in everyday political life.
  • Improve self awareness of the underlying assumptions that inform political views.
  • Gain a sensitivity to the complexities that characterize political life.
  • Gain a sensitivity to the ´western´ nature of much international relations theorizing.



  • Individual essay; memo: 3000 words (+/- 10 % excluding front page and reference list) (60 % of the grade, grading system A – F)
  • 3 hours written school exam (40 % of the grade, grading system A – F)

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