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Major: International Relations

Major Details

International Relations


Department of Modern History, Politics and International Relations
Faculty of Arts

This major must be completed as part of an award. The general requirements for the award must be satisfied in order to graduate.

Requirements for the Major:

Completion of a minimum of 24 credit points including the following prescribed units:

Credit points

100 level

Introduction to Global Politics (3)
The World Since 1945: An Australian Perspective (3)
Thinking Politically (3)

200 level

International Political Conflict: Cold Wars and Hot Wars from 1945 to the Present (3)
Theories of World Politics (3)
3cp from
War and Peace in World History (3)
Britain, Empire and the Making of a Globalized World, 1688-1914 (3)
Theories of World Politics (3)
Immigration: Politics and Policies (3)
East Asia: Development and Democracy (3)
Modern Political Thought (3)
African Politics and Globalisation (3)
Political Violence (3)
Revolutions (3)
Middle-East Politics (3)
International Political Conflict: Cold Wars and Hot Wars from 1945 to the Present (3)
The Politics of Development Theory and Practice (3)

300 level

Local and Global Practice (3)
Global Political Economy (3)
3cp from
America and Europe from Colonization to Coca-colonization: 1492 to the Present (3)
Creating New States (3)
Policy Making in a Global Era (3)
International Relations of the Middle East (3)
Islam and the West (3)
US Foreign Policy in the Asian Century (3)
United States Politics: Money, Culture, Power (3)
Global Environmental Politics (3)
Political Thought in Action (3)
3cp from
America and Europe from Colonization to Coca-colonization: 1492 to the Present (3)
Creating New States (3)
Policy Making in a Global Era (3)
International Relations of the Middle East (3)
Islam and the West (3)
US Foreign Policy in the Asian Century (3)
United States Politics: Money, Culture, Power (3)
Global Environmental Politics (3)


Units marked with a C are Capstone units.
Units marked with a P are PACE units.
Additional Information
Overview and Aims of the Program Since the 1970s, International relations has developed as a discipline in its own right. In many institutions in Australia and across the world, there are now independent departments of International Relations. In this program, students will be introduced to the Discipline of International Relations and develop an understanding of the way that scholars of International Relations explain the way that the world works.

International Relations encompasses a diversity of approaches to the study of politics, economics and culture at the international and global level. In this program, students will select from units specifically designed to teach students how to understand and explain the context, structure and systems of international politics. The program balances breadth of historical and geographical coverage, ensuring students develop the capacity to understand the machinations of international and global politics as well as the implications of international and global affairs on national politics. This program is also uniquely designed to develop students understanding of international and global issues from a range of political perspectives.
Graduate Capabilities

The Graduate Capabilities Framework articulates the fundamentals that underpin all of Macquarie’s academic programs. It expresses these as follows:

Cognitive capabilities
(K) discipline specific knowledge and skills
(T) critical, analytical and integrative thinking
(P) problem solving and research capability
(I) creative and innovative

Interpersonal or social capabilities
(C) effective communication
(E) engaged and ethical local and global citizens
(A) socially and environmentally active and responsible

Personal capabilities
(J) capable of professional and personal judgement and initiative
(L) commitment to continuous learning

Program Learning Outcomes By the end of this program it is anticipated you should be able to:

1. Demonstrate an in-depth and wide ranging understanding of the key concepts, theories, methods, and issues specific to the discipline of International Relations (K, T)
2. Identify and recall the defining debates and arguments in the field of International Relations such as security, political economy, and diplomacy (K, T, E, A)
3. Distinguish the key concepts and systems germane to International Relations including power, regionalism and global governance (K, T)
4. Understand and recall the major analytic and theoretical frameworks including realism, liberalism, critical and constructivist theories (K, T, P)

5. Formulate questions and evaluate arguments and hypotheses based on key International Relations frameworks (T, P, I)
6. Conduct in-depth research and synthesise the material so as to construct theoretically coherent and empirically rigorous answers to important questions about the way that international political systems and international political relations are organised, understood and function (T, P, I, C, L)
7. Communicate and evaluate international political problems and debates through discipline specific frameworks (K, C, J)

8. Develop ways to apply course concepts to everyday practices (P, I, C, J, K)
9. Develop ethically informed advocacy strategies to promote socially just outcomes (T, P, I, E, A).
Learning and Teaching Methods TEACHING METHODS
• Lectures: lectures are one form of learning. The lectures may be delivered in live form or video presentations. Most lectures are delivered by Department members with the occasional specialised "guest" lecturer. Lectures vary from 2 x 1hr lectures per week to 1 x2 lecture or 1x1hr lecture.
• Tutorials and Seminars: tutorials and seminars allow for the interactive discussion of topics at an enhanced level. The tutorial and seminar is mostly where intensive learning takes place. Students meet weekly and undertake class discussion or small group work to gain a deeper understanding of the subject matter in the discipline. In tutorials and seminars, students also are able to apply their knowledge, synthesise different ideas to form coherent argument and to engage in debate with their peers. Typically, tutorials and seminars provide an opportunity for members of the IR Discipline to support student development at a closer level than may occur in lectures or through formal assessment.

Throughout all activities of the program, attention is paid to the introduction of new or modified learning technologies based on the University’s strong commitment to the ongoing adoption of best practice. Recent modifications include the intensification of the ‘flipped classroom’ mode and the use of video in on-line delivery. POL108 and POL203 will both introduce "flipped classroom" components in 2015 and both will adopt formative assessment.
Assessment Small group work may be contained within lectures and seminars as specified issues are intensely discussed or rendered in a format suitable for gaming and simulation. The equitable distribution of roles in all such work is monitored across time (typically across the semester length of a unit) so that all students have the opportunity to develop and demonstrate skills in inter-personal communication and oral presentations.

The short and long essay is the most common form of assessment deployed in the major of International Relations. Essays develop a range of skills and discipline knowledge. In particular, essays develop analytical and critical skills and the ability to communicate clearly and coherently in written form. Understanding academic honesty and self-directed learning are also outcomes that short and long essays aim at developing.

POL108 deploys formative assessments with the first two assessment tasks contributing to the development of the major essay. In the earlier assessments, students complete the key stages of research and writing which are both peer reviewed and reviewed by the teaching staff.

Other formative assessment are used, such as quizzes and journals to assist student learning and development.

The capstone unit will provide opportunity for students to employ knowledge and skills developed in the major to compose a major piece of work. This work will require students to engage key issues and ideas in the discipline that the student finds most urgent or interesting. Assessment in this unit is formative and develop analytical and critical skills, oral and written communication and self-learning skills that will ensure that they are able to continue life-long learning after they complete their formal studies.
Recognition of Prior Learning

Macquarie University may recognise prior formal, informal and non-formal learning for the purpose of granting credit towards, or admission into, a program. The recognition of these forms of learning is enabled by the University’s Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) Policy (see and its associated Procedures and Guidelines. The RPL pages contain information on how to apply, links to registers, and the approval processes for recognising prior learning for entry or credit. 

Domestic Students
For undergraduate RPL information visit
For domestic postgraduate RPL information visit

International Students
For RPL information visit

Support for Learning

Macquarie University aspires to be an inclusive and supportive community of learners where all students are given the opportunity to meet their academic and personal goals. The University offers a comprehensive range of free and accessible student support services which include academic advice, counselling and psychological services, advocacy services and welfare advice, careers and employment, disability services and academic skills workshops amongst others. There is also a bulk billing medical service located on campus.

Further information can be found at

Campus Wellbeing contact details:
Phone: +61 2 9850 7497

Program Standards and Quality

The program is subject to an ongoing comprehensive process of quality review in accordance with a pre-determined schedule that complies with the Higher Education Standards Framework. The review is overseen by Macquarie University's peak academic governance body, the Academic Senate and takes into account feedback received from students, staff and external stakeholders.

Graduate Destinations and Employability The study of politics provides preparation for many high profile and interesting careers through the ability to better understand the world around you, to critically analyse it and the people in it, and to formulate effective and engaging arguments.

Possible careers paths include the following:
• non-governmental and community organisations
• journalism
• policy research
• political and social research
• politics
• public policy design & analysis
• public relations & lobbying
• public service
• higher education
• local government
• media
• policy advocacy
• speech-writing
• teaching.
Assessment Regulations

This program is subject to Macquarie University regulations, including but not limited to those specified in the Assessment Policy, Academic Honesty Policy, the Final Examination Policy and relevant University Rules. For all approved University policies, procedures, guidelines and schedules visit

2017 Unit Information

When offered:
S1 Day
Permission of Executive Dean of Faculty
HSC Chinese, CHN113, CHN148