2023-2024 / SPOL0969-1

Introduction to international relations


10h Th, 15h Lect.

Nombre de crédits

 Cours supplémentaires destinés aux étudiants d'échange - Erasmus (Faculté de Droit, de Sciences politique et de Criminologie)5 crédits 


Julien Pomarède

Langue(s) de l'unité d'enseignement

Langue anglaise

Organisation et évaluation

Enseignement au premier quadrimestre, examen en janvier


Horaire en ligne

Unités d'enseignement prérequises et corequises

Les unités prérequises ou corequises sont présentées au sein de chaque programme

Contenus de l'unité d'enseignement

Scope of the course:

Welcome to the fascinating and turbulent world of international politics. The Covid-19 global pandemic, the war in Ukraine, the rise of high-tech firms, the US-China tensions around the status of Taiwan, the global warming: in our contemporary times, it is an understatement to say that international dynamics have a consequent impact on societies if not, crudely speaking, on human life itself. What is generally referred as the discipline of "International relations" (IR) emerged in the aftermath of World War I, with the attempt to precisely unpack the logics of international politics. If the most basic and classic objects of study in IR have been the sources of war and peace among sovereign states, the discipline progressively extended its scope to other fields of research, such as international organizations, non-state actors and political economy. Through an interactive approach combing readings, in-class discussions, group work, exercises and ex-cathedra lectures, the course introduces the students to the key concepts and themes covered by the discipline of IR.

Outline of the course:

The sessions are divided in three parts: (I) An introduction to the theories of international relations; (II) The actors of international relations; (III) The structuring principles in international relations. 2 sessions will be taught by Dealan Riga, PhD candidate and Assistant at the Department of Political Science - "Transnational actors" & "International Political economy.

I - The state and the theories of international relations

- (Neo)realism and idealism

- (Neo)liberalism

- Constructivism

II - The actors of international relations

- The state and international organizations

- Transnational actors

III - The structuring principles of international relations

- Sovereignty and interventions

- International Political Economy

- War

Acquis d'apprentissage (objectifs d'apprentissage) de l'unité d'enseignement

By the end of the course, the students will:

  • have acquired the basics of international relations studies
  • be able to analytically problematize international realities
  • be in a position to comment international facts and topical issues through a theoretically informed knowledge
  • have landmarks to navigate in the different IR literatures
  • to attend more specialized and advanced courses in IR

Savoirs et compétences prérequis

The course will be taught entirely in English. Students will be required to read scientific articles, to write critical analysis note, to participate in class and to pass a written exam, all in English. Therefore advanced notions of English are required. 

Activités d'apprentissage prévues et méthodes d'enseignement

The course prioritizes understanding over (too much of) substance. It means that the objective is not to provide an exhaustive and unilateral panorama of international relations issues, but rather to focus on the essentials and take time to listen to the students. Consequently, a significant space will be dedicated during the sessions to the exchange between the teacher and the audience, whether through questions or short collective activities.

Readings are essential and compulsory to the course. It is required that the students read the texts before the sessions, due to the inherently interactive format of the course. Being merely introductory and extracted from highly qualitative and didactic manuals in IR, the readings are synthetic and very understandable. Their objective is to introduce the students to the different topics covered by the course.

The sessions are divided in two parts. The first hour is a collective discussion on the readings. It will be a great occasion to collectively explore and unpack the approaches and core-structuring elements of international politics. The second hour is a lecture from the teacher, which, building on the previous discussions, synthetize the key points of the sessions and adds new elements of reflexion.





Mode d'enseignement (présentiel, à distance, hybride)

Cours donné exclusivement en présentiel

Explications complémentaires:

All the sessions will be taught onsite in a classroom setting.

The presence to the sessions is mandatory. To pass the course, students are strongly encouraged to be present.

Lectures recommandées ou obligatoires et notes de cours

Specific readings for each session have been indicated in the outline, which will be uploaded on MyULiege. The readings are compulsory and must be completed before the class. A reading that has not been done will be subject to a penalty point on the final grade. At the begenning of each session, students will be ramdomly invited to discuss the reading. 

Recommanded readings:

John Baylis, Steve Smith, Patricia Owens (eds.). 2019. The globalization of world politics: An introduction to international relations (Oxford, Oxford University Press):

Robert Jackson, Georg Sorensen. 2013. Introduction to international relations (Oxford: Oxford University Press).

Tim Dunne, Milja Kurki, Steve Smith (eds.). 2013. International Relations Theories: Discipline and Diversity (Oxford: Oxford University Press)


Modalités d'évaluation et critères

Examen(s) en session

Toutes sessions confondues

- En présentiel

évaluation écrite

Explications complémentaires:

Written exam in January 2024.

The exam will be based on the in-class discussions/lectures, the readings (not explicitly on it) and the ppt presentations of the course. It will be a closed-book exam.

The exam aims to assess the students' ability to master the main learning outcomes of the course (see "Purpose of the course").

Precisions about the formal aspects of the exam will be given during the semester.


Remarques organisationnelles et modifications principales apportées au cours


Fridays 09.00am-11.00am

B.31 - Séminaire 1 (0/1)


Dr. Julien Pomarède

Associate Professor in International Politics, Department of Polical Science

Bât. B31 International Politics
Quartier Agora
place des Orateurs 3
4000 Liège 1

office R.77, level 0
email: julien.pomarede@uliege.be

Association d'un ou plusieurs MOOCs