PIR-10043 - The Changing World: A History of International Relations since 1945
Coordinator: Helen Parr Room: CBB2.005 Tel: TBC
Lecture Time: See Timetable...
Level: Level 4
Credits: 15
Study Hours: 150
School Office:

Programme/Approved Electives for 2022/23


Available as a Free Standing Elective






Barred Combinations


Description for 2022/23

This module is designed to give a clear introduction to the academic study of International History within the discipline of international relations. It is useful for students of international relations, and also to students who would like to find out more about trends in world history and about key international events from the end of the second world war to the present day. The module covers the rise and fall of the Cold War, nuclear strategies, the global Cold War in Korea and Vietnam, decolonisation and nation building in Africa, the modern origins of the Arab Israeli conflict, international terrorism and Western military interventions since the 1990s.
The ten topic-based lectures are accompanied by ten weekly meetings of small tutorial groups. In these tutorials, students have the opportunity to debate key themes and questions on topics covered by the lectures. Preparation for the tutorials helps students to develop the skills they need to conduct the assessments. Students are expected to prepare independently for seminars, and will often discuss their work in small groups during the tutorials.
The assessment for this module is in two essays, the first of 1,000 words counts for 40% of the assessment, and the second at 1,500 words counts for 60% of the assessment. Essay 1 is on a topic covered in weeks 1-4 and essay 2 is on a topic covered in weeks 5-10. In both cases, students will be expected to a) locate their essay within key debates in the academic literature b) evaluate evidence c) use evidence to develop an argument in answer to the question d) write clearly and precisely.

1) To introduce students to the academic study of international history as part of the discipline of international relations
2) To introduce students to important developments, transformations and events in international history since 1945
3) To enable students to develop core study skills and some key employability skills

Talis Aspire Reading List
Any reading lists will be provided by the start of the course.

Intended Learning Outcomes

evaluate methods by which our understanding of the post-war world is constructed; will be achieved by assessments: 1, 2
critically assess certain historiographical debates concerning key trends and events in post-1945 international history; will be achieved by assessments: 1, 2
evaluate factors that shape the international system and key trends within that system (eg Cold War, nation-building, 'war on terror'); will be achieved by assessments: 1, 2
assess empirical evidence concerning key events in post-war international history; will be achieved by assessments: 1, 2
develop an argument and assemble a coherent analysis that is communicated clearly, applying good standards of punctuation and spelling; will be achieved by assessments: 1, 2
understand the nature of academic honesty and plagiarism and effectively apply the conventions regarding the use and acknowledgement of sources, employing the Harvard referencing system; will be achieved by assessments: 1, 2
Identify and discuss pertinent sources of information from the academic literature of international history, as found in recommended textbooks, and in monographs, journal articles and websites listed in the module's reading list, and where appropriate from the student's own searches. will be achieved by assessments: 1, 2

Study hours

10 hours attendance at lectures
10 hours attendance at seminars
60 hours preparation for seminars (includes self evaluation of work on Web CT, and revision for class test on sources, preparation for group presentations)
30 hours preparation of essay 1
40 hours preparation of essay 2

School Rules


Description of Module Assessment

1: Essay weighted 40%
A 1,000 word summation of a key debate in international history
Students will be required to choose and to answer a set essay question from a range of options that engage with core debates covered in weeks 1-4 of the module.

2: Essay weighted 60%
A 1,500 essay
Students will be required to choose and to answer a set essay question from a range of options that engages with core debates covered in weeks 5-10 of the module.