This course is discontinued

STV4224 – Theories of International Relations

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

This course will provide students with an overview of the major analytic traditions within international relations (IR) theory. We will assess dominant paradigms (liberalism, realism, constructivism) as well as their competitors (post-modern, feminist and critical theories). In addition to exploring the social- and meta-theoretic foundations of the different approaches, we will also assess their ability to explain and understand the world around us. Is their main focus and value added empirical? Theoretical? Methodological? Normative? Critical? What are the cutting-edge issues and challenges for the various theoretical schools?

Course description (extended information about laws, rules and regulations for this course)

Learning outcome

The course has three goals. First, it will stress the development of critical thinking abilities -- in particular, by helping students rigorously assess the arguments made by our authors. Second, it will survey the IR literature and will do so from multiple theoretical and disciplinary perspectives. Third, we will consider several cutting-edge challenges for IR, including the possibility of linking different analytic approaches (so-called ‘bridge building’) and the domestic political bases of state behavior.


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Formal prerequisite knowledge

Bachelor degree in political science, international relations or international studies.

Recommended previous knowledge

Bachelor degree in political science, international relations or international studies. Prior course work in IR theory or international politics would be a distinct plus.


There will be a total of 11 class sessions (each of 2 hours duration), spread over a 5 week period.


The form of assessment is a written essay (10-15 pages) and a 3 hour final exam.

In order to receive a passing grade on the essay, your chosen topic will have to reflect the course readings and curriculum. An essay topic not reflecting the curriculum, will receive a failing grade(F). All chosen topics should be approved by the course instructor before the deadline.

The final exam counts 60% of the grade, and you will receive one overall grade for the course.

Explanations and appeals


The course can be taken in either 10 (STV4224B)or 15 (STV4224) credit versions. This arrangement will last until the spring term 2007. The B-version (STV4224B) can be taken by all students. The A-version (STV4224) can only be taken by students who are under the old regulations. (See the transitionrules discussed under the presentation of the master´s program). Those who can take the A-version, must send an application to:

The A-version differs from the B-version in that the syllabus for the former is 400 pages greater in length. In addition to the final exam and the take-home exam, students taking the A-version must also prepare an additional essay (10-15 pages), which is due 3 weeks after the first essay is turned in. Students taking the A-version will follow the same lectures and have the same exam date as those taking the B-version.

Facts about this course




Spring 2005


Spring 2007

Teaching language