This unit provides an introduction to foundational concepts and theories of international politics and their application to historical and contemporary case studies, which will include war and peace, security, power, political economy and globalization. It focuses on the relationship and interaction between state and non-state actors in global politics, as well as compares and contrasts the various approaches that explain and interpret events. The unit also critically assesses and analyses the foundational theories, concepts and approaches in their underlying assumptions and outcomes.

Teaching Periods
Start and end dates
Last self-enrolment date
Census date
Last withdraw without fail date
Results released date

Learning outcomes

Students who successfully complete this unit will be able to:

  • Critically review the major institutions, actors, and issues shaping world politics
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the major theories and concepts used in the study of international politics
  • Understand how political scientists analyse and explain international politics
  • Apply theories of international politics to empirical case studies
  • Present clear arguments based on research and evidence and evaluate arguments in terms of their strengths and weaknesses, both independently and with others

Teaching methods

Swinburne Online

Type Hours per week Number of weeks Total (number of hours)
Live Online
1.00 4 weeks 4
Specified Activities
8.00 12 weeks 96
Unspecified Activities
4.17 12 weeks 50


Type Task Weighting ULO's
Literature ReviewIndividual 20% 1,2,3,4,5 
Major EssayIndividual 50% 1,2,3,4,5 
Minor EssayIndividual 30% 1,2,3,4,5 


  • Introduction to the foundational theories of international relations
  • Key concepts in international politics relating to war and conflict, the role of the state and global institutions, structures and agents
  • Analysis of globalization and global change
  • Case studies of contemporary international issues and problems
  • Critical assessment of foundational methodologies

Study resources

Reading materials

A list of reading materials and/or required textbooks will be available in the Unit Outline on Canvas.