UCL Summer School


International Relations

Key Information

Module code
Taught during
Session One
Module leader
Dr Outi Donovan
None. Standard UCL Summer entry criteria apply.
Assessment method
In-class test (40%), Essay (60%)
Download syllabus (PDF)
International Relations

Module overview

World politics today is characterised by increasing complexity. Alongside states, a myriad of international and regional organisations, interest groups, civil society organisations and even terrorist networks shape the dynamics of international politics. These interactions and alternative ways of understanding them are at the core of this module that examines the key issues in contemporary international relations.

The module will first offer students an introduction to the discipline of International Relations to understand some of the key questions that scholars and policy makers have focused on, and how the field has been transformed as the world has changed around them. It will then study a series of pressing contemporary issues, including war, security, development, human rights and terrorism. These cases and questions will be analysed through different theories including realism, liberalism, constructivism, Marxism and feminism.

Learning outcomes

Upon successful completion of this module, students will:

  • Gain and/or deepen understanding of the key theoretical approaches and debates in contemporary IR
  • Gain familiarity with key trends and developments in contemporary international politics
  • Develop the ability to engage with ontological, epistemological and methodological questions relating to the study of IR
  • Develop the ability to critically appraise arguments, assumptions and methodologies
  • Consolidate public speaking skills

Module prerequisites

This is a level one module (equivalent to first year undergraduate). No prior subject knowledge is required to study this module but students are expected to have a keen interest in the subject area.

Module hours

Classes (usually three or four hours per day) take place on the Bloomsbury campus from Monday to Friday any time between 9am and 6pm.


  • In-class test (40%)
  • 2,500 word essay (60%)

Module leader

Dr Outi Donovan joined the Department of Political Science at UCL in 2013. She holds an MSc in International Relations from the University of Bristol and a PhD from the Department of International Relations at the LSE. Outi has previously held the post of Visiting Lecturer at University of Westminster and taught widely on International Relations, International Political Economy and Peace and Conflict Studies at the LSE and University of Cambridge.

Application information

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