2023-2024 / SPOL1203-2

Introduction to International Relations


60h Th

Number of credits

 Bachelor in law5 crédits 
 Bachelor in political sciences : general5 crédits 
 Extra courses intended for exchange students (Erasmus, ...) (Faculty of Law, Political Science and Criminology)5 crédits 
 Bachelor in human and social sciences6 crédits 
 Master in population and development studies (120 ECTS)6 crédits 
 Extra courses intended for exchange students (Erasmus, ...) (Faculty of social sciences)6 crédits 
 Master in history (120 ECTS)5 crédits 
 Master in multilingual communication (120 ECTS)5 crédits 
 Master in journalism (120 ECTS)5 crédits 


Sébastian Santander

Language(s) of instruction

French language

Organisation and examination

Teaching in the second semester


Schedule online

Units courses prerequisite and corequisite

Prerequisite or corequisite units are presented within each program

Learning unit contents

This course is an introduction to the study of international systems, actors and stakes.

Key concepts and fundamental aspects of international relations are covered.

We will consider:

  • Various theoretical approaches and theoretical concepts;
  • the State, territorial space, sovereignty, international organisations;
  • foreign policy;
  • transnational actors;
  • the evolution of the international system, between order and disorder;
  • the historical development of the international system;
  • international trade and economic relations;
  • strategic relations, between conflicts and cooperation;
  • war and terrorism;
  • ...

Learning outcomes of the learning unit

The course aims at providing students with clues to understand major trends in the contemporary world, among which:

  • major issues in international security
  • dynamics at work in the globalisation and regionalisation processes
  • international institutions and organisations
  • changes in economic relationships both in countries of the North and in countries of the South
  • multiplication of the number of partners in international relations
  • the evolution and distribution of global power

Prerequisite knowledge and skills

The course is given in French. However, students who wish to take this course have to be able to read and refer to works and periodicals in English, and to understand a lecture in English. Passive knowledge of English is required.

Planned learning activities and teaching methods

Several activities are planned:

1. Students must attend the coaching sessions organized in small groups in order to study the mandatory reading (see below) of the academic year. One point will be deducted from the final mark for each unjustified absence.

2. Students may receive other texts to read in French and/or English, distributed in due time.

3. Students must follow the daily international news. They will receive every week a questionnaire. The last consists of about 5 questions about international news, which will have taken place during the week preceding the course. The students will have to answer about 8 questionnaires. Those who will have given 60% of good answers will receive a bonus of 1 point on the final mark. Students who have not answered all the questionnaires will not benefit from the bonus of 1 point.

The assessment will start in early March 2024.

The evaluation will be done via the WOOCLAP software. It is therefore strongly recommended to have a smart phone, a tablet or a laptop in order to be able to connect with her/his login ULiège.

Mode of delivery (face to face, distance learning, hybrid learning)

Face-to-face course

Additional information:

Ex Cathedra lectures
If the opportunity arises, there will be external interventions made in French and/or in English.
It is also possible the students will have to follow a couple of conferences related to topics tackled during the course.

Recommended or required readings

The course is based on notes prepared by the responsible of the course and some obligatory readings given during the course.

Obligatory reading for the academic year 2022-2023:

Thomas Gomart, Guerres invisibles. Nos prochains défis géopolitiques, Paris, Taillandier, 2022, 315 p.

The reading is available at "Point de Vue" (Campus: Sart Tilman) and at Pax Library (downtown).

The book is available at the Graulich Library located at the Campus of Sart Tilman.

Recommended reading:

Dario Battistella (dir.), Relations internationales. Bilan et perspectives, Paris, Ellipses, 2013, 571 p.

Richard Mansbach and Kirsten Taylor, Introduction to Global Politics, London, Routledge, 2017, 602 p.

Diane Ethier, Introduction aux relations internationales, Montréal, Presse universitaire de Montréal, 2010

Jean-Claude Zarka, Relations internationales, Paris, Ellipse, 5th edition, 2013;

We highly recommend students to refer to a chronology of international relations.

We also highly recommend students to refer to dictionaries of international relations (e. g., Dictionnaire des relations internationales, third edition, published by Marie-Claude Smouts, Dario Battistella, Pascal Vennesson et Franck Petiteville, Paris, Dalloz, 2012, 572 pages).

Exam(s) in session

Any session

- In-person

written exam

Additional information:

Students will have to answer around ten open questions and eventually a couple of MCQ.


Work placement(s)

Organisational remarks and main changes to the course

The course evolves, year by year, according to the political topicality of international relations.

The slides of the courses are put online (MyULiège) as and when classes are held.



- Professor: Sebastian Santander (Bureau: R.71, niveau 0, tel. 04 366 30 46, sebastian.santander@uliege.be)

- Assistants:

Vincent Bricart (Bureau R.73, niveau 0, tel. 04.366.42.59, v.bricart@uliege.be)

Alex Arnoldy (Bureau R.73, niveau 0, tel. 04.366.42.59, Alex.Arnoldy@uliege.be)

Line Vervier (Bureau R.73, niveau 0, tel. 04.366.42.59)

Association of one or more MOOCs