IR4003 - International Conflict and Cooperation

What will I learn on this module?

In this module I will engage with key concepts and theories of International Relations and learn essential academic skills. I will learn about the three standard schools of International Relations thought, i.e. Liberalism, Realism and Marxism, and begin using them to understand states and state practice, as well as the ordering of the international. In this module I will learn to question common sense beliefs about what states are and the status of the powerful (e.g. US, UK) by engaging with academic literature and case studies. Key concepts will include sovereignty, hegemony, war, peace, security etc.

How will I learn on this module?

I will learn on this module by attending lectures where I will be presented with the ideas and political sciences debates behind these theories and concepts, their meaning and application. I will engage actively in learning activities such as simulations and presentations to practice skills and learn through engagement with my peers. I will also attend seminars where I will build upon my reading for the lectures and where I will discuss how these theories and concepts challenge and potentially modify common sense beliefs about international politics.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

My academic development will be facilitated through engagement with the academic literature and by talking with my peers and academics about my understanding of the literature and its application to international politics. I will have access to Northumbria’s virtual learning environment (Blackboard) where I will be provided with a reading list and all relevant information relating to this module.

I expect to have my notions of international relations challenged in this module. I will also use seminars and tutorials to further enrich my learning experience.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at:
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team –

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
1. Identify, discuss and apply theories of the main schools of International Relations (including realism and liberalism).
2. Analyse key concepts in international order and security that define international politics, such as war, peace, hegemony, sovereignty

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
3. Use academic conventions effectively to present and support discussion, analysis and argument visually, orally and written form.
4. Construct an argument by critically analysing evidence and a variety of sources, and by applying theory to case study and observation.

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
5. To develop curiosity in investigating problems of international relations beyond common sense narratives and the ideas and arguments put forward by politicians, the media and others

How will I be assessed?

The module will be assessed by:

- 1 2000-word essay

- 1 simulation portfolio consisting of a position paper (25%) and a reflection paper (25%)

A 2,000 word essay will test my understanding and critique theories, concepts and debates introduced in this module. The essay will test my ability to engage in rigorous and in-depth analysis on a specified research question, moving beyond ‘common sense’ arguments. The essay will assess my ability to use academic standards (esp. referencing) accurately and effectively. It will test my ability to assess and critically discuss arguments and evidence presented to me in the literature, by politicians and the media, and my ability to construct a coherent written analysis and argument.

A portfolio from the simulation exercise will assess my ability to construct an argument and apply theory to case study. The simulation exercise will deepen my understanding of how key concepts such as hegemony, sovereignty, war and peace can be applied to a specific case and to present arguments, discuss and analyse positions orally. The portfolio consists of 1 x 1000 word position paper (25% of the final grade) and 1 x 1000 word reflection on the simulation (25% of the final grade)

Seminars will be of crucial importance because it is in the seminars where I will have the opportunity to discuss my understanding of the literature. I will have the opportunity to present my work in the seminars and will receive formative feedback from my lecturer on any presentation I might make.





Module abstract

Please find details of this module in the other sections provided.

Course info

UCAS Code L2L2

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years Full Time or 4 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Department Social Sciences

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024 or September 2025

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.


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