Courses & Units

Introduction to International Relations HIR101

Hobart, Launceston


We live in an uncertain era during which global issues increasingly affect our daily lives. Forces associated with globalisation and the rise of international institutions as important collective decision-making bodies have all undermined the sovereign state's position as the key (or only) actor in world affairs. But the world still remains beset with problems: we face threats from transnational terrorism, pandemic diseases, environmental degradation, human rights atrocities, war, weapons of mass destruction, and global injustices that existing international institutions seem ill-equipped to resolve. How should these challenges be met? Should states be responsible for solving new global problems, or should international institutions like the United Nations take a wider role? Is there an emerging 'global civil society' and, if so, how is it seeking to influence world affairs? How should we address other important issues such as the world's economic division into the 'North' and the 'South'; the worldwide problem of environmental degradation; and the continued suffering of people in countries that are beset by civil war, famine, or political oppression?

Amidst this uncertainty, one thing is clear: the way in which we will respond will depend very much on how we understand the nature of world affairs. Is it effectively a struggle for power? Is it an evolutionary process that makes peace and universal justice possible in the future? Is it based on raw national interests, or does culture and society play an increasing role? We will consider these vital questions in this course as we examine both traditional and new ways of examining international relations.

This unit aims to provide students with an introduction to the process, substance, and changing nature of international relations, including a basic knowledge of some key theoretical debates in the field. After completing this course students will have a broad understanding of international relations, which will serve as a useful base for the more advanced international politics courses offered by the Program in Politics and International Relations.


Unit name Introduction to International Relations
Unit code HIR101
Credit points 12.5
Faculty/School College of Arts, Law and Education
School of Social Sciences
Discipline Politics and International Relations
Teaching staff

Zoe Jay (Hobart); Assoc Prof Fred Gale (Launceston and Off Campus)

Level Introductory
Available as student elective? Yes
Breadth Unit? No


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


International students
Domestic students

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Key Dates

Study Period Start date Census date WW date End date
Semester 2 15/7/2019 9/8/2019 2/9/2019 20/10/2019

* 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 2019 are indicative and subject to change. Finalised census dates for 2019 will be available from the 1st October 2018.

About Census Dates



Band CSP Student Contribution Full Fee Paying (domestic) Field of Education
1 2019: $820.00 2019: $2,037.00 090103

Fees for next year will be published in October. The fees above only apply for the year shown.

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:

HSA101, HSA102, HSD101, HSD102 , HSG102, HSG106


Teaching Pattern

On Campus: 1 x 2hr Lecture (13 weeks), 1 x 1hr tutorial (12 weeks);

Off Campus: web-based delivery (13 weeks)


2,000-word essay (35%), 500-word paper (10%), tutorial assessment including online quizzes (25%), 2-hr end-of-semester exam (30%)

TimetableView the lecture timetable | View the full unit timetable



Information about any textbook requirements will be available from mid November.

Booktopia textbook links

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