Theories of International Relations


Content, progress and pedagogy of the module


The objective of this module is:

  • To provide students with knowledge on traditional theories of international relations (IR) such as realism or liberalism as well as theories of international political economy (IPE).
  • To provide students with knowledge on new approaches to IR and IPE. This includes alternative theories as well as critical approaches, i.e. extended versions of traditional theories.     
  • To enable students to discuss key elements of IR and IPE theories in relation to empirical cases.



In the lectures, students will work with the history and development of the field. The main theoretical approaches to international relations will be presented and discussed. Furthermore, students will be introduced to alternative approaches. The module will form the basis for further theoretical and practical work within the field in the project module of the semester.

Learning objectives


  • possess knowledge of theories and practices within the field of international relations and can reflect on these on a scientific basis
  • possess knowledge and understanding of themes within the field of international relations and various approaches to the study of these.


  • can apply their knowledge within the module’s subject areas to select theories that serve the analytical purpose and at the same time remain critical to these theories.


  • can reflect and argue on the basis of scientific knowledge.

Type of instruction

The module consists of lectures and seminars, exercises and student contributions.



Name of examTheories of International Relations
Type of exam
Active participation/continuous evaluation
The examination for the module Theories of Internation Relations is an internally assessed, individual examination consisting of a requirement of 80% attendance of the teaching sessions as well as thorough preparation of and active participation in the module’s activities. The study board will define the requirements for active participation at the beginning of the semester.

Any re-examination will be a 48-hour take-home assignment set by the course instructor. The assignment paper must not exceed 6 pages.
AssessmentPassed/Not Passed
Type of gradingInternal examination
Criteria of assessmentThe criteria of assessment are stated in the Examination Policies and Procedures

Facts about the module

Danish titleTheories of International Relations
Module codeDIRES002
Module typeCourse
Duration1 semester
Language of instructionEnglish
Location of the lectureCampus Aalborg
Responsible for the module


Education ownerMaster of Science (MSc) in Social Sciences in International Relations
Study BoardStudy Board of Politics and Society
DepartmentDepartment of Politics and Society
FacultyFaculty of Social Sciences and Humanities