Current Debates in International Relations Theory
Course infoSchedule
Course moduleMAN-MPOL035A
Credits (ECTS)6
CategoryMA (Master)
Language of instructionEnglish
Offered byRadboud University; Nijmegen School of Management; Master Political Science;
dr. J.M. Joachim
Other course modules lecturer
dr. J.M. Joachim
Other course modules lecturer
Contactperson for the course
dr. J.M. Joachim
Other course modules lecturer
dr. J.M. Joachim
Other course modules lecturer
Academic year2022
1  (05/09/2022 to 06/11/2022)
Starting block
Course mode
Registration using OSIRISYes
Course open to students from other facultiesYes
Waiting listNo
Placement procedure-
  • Provide students with in-depth knowledge of current theoretical debates in IR;
  • Teach students how to critically assess the strengths and drawbacks of various approaches;
  • Teach students how to test and apply these theories;
  • Exercise presentation skills and improve writing skills.

The course consists of seminars in which we discuss past and recent theoretical developments in International Relations – the discipline. The course is aimed at offering a deeper understanding of theories, their assumptions, their drawbacks and strong points, as well as the extent to which they help us better comprehend and explain the world around us. Our discussions will pave the grounds for discussions in other IR courses such as International Security or Global Political Economy. Also, they will offer you crucial knowledge for preparing the research proposal for your master thesis.


Presumed foreknowledge
Bachelor's degree in Political Science and prior courses in International Relations and theories of International Relations. The course may be taken as an optional course only after previous explicit permission by the lecturer. Send an email to the course coordinator before the beginning of the course: ( Admission will depend on your knowledge of IR theories and group size.
Test information
  1. Two short written assignments and their presentation which together count 20% of the final grade.
  • One assignment will be a critical appraisal of the assigned readings.
  • One assignment will be an application of the assigned readings to ongoing or past international relations events.
2.  The final take-home exam counts 80% of the final grade. The following aspects will be tested:
  • Comprehension of and concise description of theoretical approaches and underlying assumptions.
  • Critical reflection and evaluation of theoretical approaches and arguments, empirical evidence and applied methods;
  • Application of theoretical approaches/arguments to current and past international events.
Regular attendance and participation in the course is a formal entry requirement for taking the final exam. Partial grades from previous years do NOT remain valid for other years.

Ma 1

Required materials
Relevant articles from high ranking international academic journals as well as book chapters.

Instructional modes
Attendance MandatoryYes

Preparation of meetings
Assigned and required readings.

Contribution to group work
Active participation in small-group, in-class assignments is required.

Final Take Home Exam
Test weight80
Test typeExam
OpportunitiesBlock 1, Block 2

(1) The comprehension of abstract theoretical knowledge with respect to international relations and (2) the ability to critically reflect and assess theoretical arguments, applied methods and empirical evidence.

Two Assignments
Test weight20
Test typeAssignment
OpportunitiesBlock 1, Block 2

The critical appraisal of theoretical arguments and theoretical approaches as well as the application of abstract knowledge to explain current and past events in international relations.