Course Description

Course Name

International Relations

Session: VPGS1222

Hours & Credits

46 Contact Hours

Prerequisites & Language Level

Taught In English

  • There is no language prerequisite for courses at this language level.


*Please note- this is a sample syllabus. Specific course content and course format may differ term-to-term.


International Relations are introduced in theoretical and substantial contexts. Basis of IR theory is provided: realist approach, alternative and critical approaches, theoretical schools and their concepts. IR within globalization, international organizations and institutions and their activities, diplomacy and negotiation are discussed. Special space is reserved for the substantive issues: foreign policy, security cooperation, international finance, international trade, international development, regional integration, international environment, human rights, international law, international cooperation in areas of health, labor, telecommunications, intellectual property, disarmament. The EU´s international role and the Transatlantic Agenda are underlined. Where appropriate, an economic explanation of the international relations elements and their grounds is given.



The course provides students with an introduction in International Relations (IR) and allows better understanding of the IR framework, their theoretical concepts, context and substantive issues, as well as the European perspectives and the role of the European Union in the IR. The perspective of several different countries and their role in the IR is a subject of students´ research and presentations, while the origin and nationality of students participating in the course is taken into account.



Class participation is an important element in the learning process. Active participation is expected. Mid-term test and final tests (an essay) are based on lectures and on the discussion during seminars. Students are graded on their attendance and contribution to class discussion (20 points out of 100), presentations (25 points out of 100) and on the test (25 points out of 100) and the essay results (30 points out of 100). Voluntary inputs are strongly encouraged.



Students are expected to prepare a presentation focused on the role of the different states in international relations in the past or in the present or a presentation focused on details, developments and current stage on any issue of international relations.



Attendance of students is expected. Unexcused repeated absences will adversely affect one's course grade.



Course grade will be determined on the basis of the following:

  • presentation (25%)
  • class attendance and active discussion (20%)
  • mid-term test (25%)
  • final essay (30%)



Introduction into IR

  • Definition of international relations, history, development of theories, different concepts of international relations, norms and ethics, linkages of the theories to evidence in international relations 
  • Globalization: how and in which fields the global tendencies influence international relations; how it differs from increasing interdependence among states and nations (interconnectedness in trade, finance, investment, capital flows, human mobility, exchange of information, telecommunication, etc.).
  • Importance of geography in IR

Realism in IR, Influence of the history on IR

  • Realists ground, power politics, elements of power, material power, soft power, how to measure power
  • Bargaining: strategies of negotiations -- reciprocity, deterrence, compellence, escalation, arm race
  • Military power, military alliances

Alternatives to power politics

  • Liberalism, feminism, constructivism. Gender in international relations
  • Diplomacy, bargaining and negotiations in international relations and in international organizations, role of culture, symmetry/asymmetry, side-effects, mediation and multilateral negotiations, negotiations dynamics
  • Prisoners dilemma

International organizations and institutions

  • UN structure. Security Council
  • Other activities of the UN organizations and of the UN specialized agencies, impacts of these organizations' activities on the international relations and domestic policies
  • UN diplomacy

Human Rights

  • Human rights: definition, universal norms, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, violation of human rights (political, economic, cultural, ideological and psychological explanations of the grounds and causes
  • UN - Human Rights Council. One world festival.

International Law

  • Definition, characteristics, principles, various approaches in IR theory. Compliance of international relations and international law (compliance with international treaties, with international court decisions), domestic linkages
  • Law of war x law in war, treaties, enforcement, war crimes, International Court of Justice, International Law Commission

International Trade

  • Development of the multilateral trading system, impacts of the international trade policy rules on the domestic policy
  • Protectionism versus liberalisms, problems faced by developing and least-developed countries in world trade
  • Resolution of trade disputes

International Finance

  • International monetary system development since the Second World War, state behavior (money and power), financial globalization (causes and consequences for states).
  • Role of FDI in developing countries

Foreign Policy

  • Linkages to international relations and domestic policies
  • Types of decisions within the foreign policy. Case study.

International Development

  • Dependence, interdependence, transnationalism
  • Role of the state in development, role of international organizations
  • Financing development, food aid, technical assistance for developing countries

International Integration

  • Types of integration.
  • Global integration blocks, regional integration blocks, political and economic consequences of integration
  • Integration among developing countries

Transatlantic agenda

  • EU and USA relations, history, development
  • Future of the transatlantic relations. Integration: regionalism and global governance

*Course content subject to change