Courses & Units

Introduction to International Relations HIR101

Launceston, Hobart


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 Frederick (Fred) Gale
Available as student elective? Yes
Delivered By University of Tasmania
Level Introductory


Location Study period Attendance options Available to
Launceston Semester 2 On-Campus Off-Campus International International Domestic Domestic
Hobart Semester 2 On-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 11/7/2022 9/8/2022 29/8/2022 16/10/2022

* 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 (see withdrawal dates explained for more information).

Unit census dates currently displaying for 2022 are indicative and subject to change. Finalised census dates for 2022 will be available from the 1st October 2021.

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.
Field of Education Commencing Student Contribution 1 Grandfathered Student Contribution 1 Approved Pathway Course Student Contribution 2 Domestic Full Fee
090103 $1,828.00 $858.00 not applicable $2,108.00
  • Available as a Commonwealth Supported Place
  • HECS-HELP is available on this unit, depending on your eligibility3
  • FEE-HELP is available on this unit, depending on your eligibility4

1 Please refer here more information on student contribution amounts.
2 Information on eligibility and Approved Pathway courses can be found here
3 Please refer here for eligibility for HECS-HELP
4 Please refer here for eligibility for FEE-HELP

If you have any questions in relation to the fees, please contact UConnect or more information is available on StudyAssist.

Please note: international students should refer to this page to get an indicative course cost.


Mutual Exclusions

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



AssessmentExamination - take home (30%)|Examination - invigilated (externally - Exams Office) (25%)|Abstract (10%)|Examination - invigilated (externally - Exams Office) (35%)
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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