Courses & Units

Introduction to International Relations HIR101


We live in an uncertain and challenging era where global issues increasingly affect our local daily lives. Forty years of uneven globalisation has been accompanied by the rise of corporations, regional and international institutions, and international nongovernmental agencies. As important influencers of decision-making, these agencies have both undermined and transformed the nation state's position as the key actor in world affairs. Despite national, regional and global intergovernmental and multistakeholder governance efforts, the world remains beset with problems. These range from transnational terrorism, pandemic disease, human rights atrocities, war, weapons of mass destruction and global injustices from deep gender inequality to the dramatic, new and daunting sustainability challenges including of climate change that existing institutions seem ill-equipped to resolve. How should these challenges be met? Can states acting alone solve these old and new global problems as the new populist nationalism appears to believe? Or should regional and international institutions and new multistakeholder governance organisations play a larger role? How should we address other important issues such as the world's economic division into the rich, developed 'North' and the poor, developing 'South'? Tackling these challenges requires understanding as deeply as we can the strengths and weaknesses of different explanations for the nature of world affairs. Is it effectively a struggle for power as IR Realists suggest? Or is it better conceptualised as an evolutionary process of global rule making that makes peace and universal justice possible as IR Liberals argue? Is it based on capitalist exploitation by footloose corporations, a view put forcefully by neo-Marxists? And why do women remain invisible in IR theory despite ‘holding up half the sky’, a critique made be IR Feminists observe? Finally, what is the role of IR discourse itself in the production and reproduction of ideas that shape the way we view the ‘reality’ we purport to study? We will consider these vital questions in this unit as we examine both conventional and new approaches to international relations and world politics. This unit aims to provide students with an introduction to the process, substance, and changing nature of international relations and world politics, including a basic knowledge of some key theoretical debates in the field. After completing this unit students will have a broad understanding of international relations, which will serve as a useful base for the more advanced international politics units offered by the Program in Politics and International Relations.


Unit name Introduction to International Relations
Unit code HIR101
Credit points 12.5
College/School College of Arts, Law and Education
School of Social Sciences
Discipline Politics and International Relations
Coordinator Professor Fred Gale
Available as an elective? Yes
Delivered By University of Tasmania
Level Introductory


Location Study period Attendance options Available to
Hobart Semester 2 On-Campus International Domestic
Launceston Semester 2 On-Campus International Domestic
Online Semester 2 Off-Campus International Domestic


International students
Domestic students

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Key Dates

Study Period Start date Census date WW date End date
Semester 2 22/7/2024 16/8/2024 9/9/2024 27/10/2024

* The Final WW Date is the final date from which you can withdraw from the unit without academic penalty, however you will still incur a financial liability (refer to How do I withdraw from a unit? for more information).

Unit census dates currently displaying for 2024 are indicative and subject to change. Finalised census dates for 2024 will be available from the 1st October 2023. Note census date cutoff is 11.59pm AEST (AEDT during October to March).

About Census Dates

Learning Outcomes

  • Identify and evaluate different perspectives in the field of international relations.
  • Apply theoretical knowledge and research to analyse cases in international relations.
  • Communicate coherently in written and/or oral formats drawing upon evidence to support your argument.

Fee Information

Field of Education Commencing Student Contribution 1,3 Grandfathered Student Contribution 1,3 Approved Pathway Course Student Contribution 2,3 Domestic Full Fee 4
090103 $2,040.00 $957.00 not applicable $2,324.00

1 Please refer to more information on student contribution amounts.
2 Please refer to more information on eligibility and Approved Pathway courses.
3 Please refer to more information on eligibility for HECS-HELP.
4 Please refer to more information on eligibility for FEE-HELP.

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Mutual Exclusions

You cannot enrol in this unit as well as the following:



Teaching Pattern

2 x 1 hr online lecture weekly,

1 x 1 hr tutorial (on-campus) or online discussion (off-campus), weekly

AssessmentShort essay (15%)|Tutorial participation (25%)|Major essay (30%)|Take home exam (30%)
TimetableView the lecture timetable | View the full unit timetable



Required readings will be listed in the unit outline prior to the start of classes.

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