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International Relations

International relations (IR) is an interdisciplinary subject for all students who want to understand the world better and the various global challenges at hand.

IR concerns the study of how the international system work politically, economically and culturally and its historical evolvement; how different power relations emerge and change; and how various types of connections between (inter-)state and non-state actors affect the global order. Problems and challenges surrounding conflict and security are central to IR. This involves military threats from states; international terrorism; diffusion of nuclear weapons; global environmental threats; and the construction of various discourses of ‘security’ and ‘threats’ by various actors. Another central theme is to understand the global political economy; the economic driving forces of globalization; and dominance and (inter-)dependence within global trade.

Forms of teaching

Teaching IR involves a broad range of pedagogical tools such as lectures, academic writing, peer review, seminars, group work and oral presentation. Student-centered learning is central where reading and analyzing course literature; interaction with other students; and formulation of own research problems are key ingredients. Feed-back from experienced teachers are integrated in most activities. During the first term students are introduced to the various theories of IR, as well as key historical processes forming the IR-debates. Also, key concepts and perspectives related to various forms of conflicts in the global order are discussed and applied. During the second term knowledge of the global order is deepened, including American hegemony and regional and global governance. Also, students will actively engage in the theoretical development within the area of security studies.

After your studies

Due to globalization the ‘global’ is integrated with the ‘local’ and we are all, more or less, exposed to migration, climate change, terrorism, conflicts and poverty wherever we live. Studying IR will equip students with knowledge and tools to understand and analyze an increasingly complex global order and work with various international issues in a range of different areas. For example, IR competence is demanded by state institutions; municipal organizations; private sector organizations; interstate organizations such as the EU and UN; as well as within civil society. Also, knowledge of IR is a great merit for students who want to work with international issues within education as well as media.


Click on the course title to reach the University of Gothenburg web catalogue. In the catalogue you find course descriptions and links to www.universityadmissions.se where you apply for the courses.

Autumn semester

Core courses

International relations: Core Course Package, 30 credits 

The course package is made up of the following courses:


Who to contact

Student counselling
If you have questions about how to plan your studies.

Subject and programme coordinators
If you need more information about the content of specific courses or programmes.

Page Manager: Subject Coordinator Helena Lindholm and Maria Stern|Last update: 10/2/2019

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