International Relations and Contemporary Politics

Freie Universität Berlin

Course Description

  • Course Name

    International Relations and Contemporary Politics

  • Host University

    Freie Universität Berlin

  • Location

    Berlin, Germany

  • Area of Study

    International Politics, International Relations, International Studies, Political Science

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • Contact Hours

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    This course is designed for students interested in understanding global issues and actors in a time of fast-moving political and social change. Students will learn the evolution of today’s international system as well as key issues and actors in contemporary politics. To learn how to assess these developments critically, the course will introduce the students to the main theories of International Relations (IR).

    The field of IR studies the functioning of the international system and deals with the nature of the changing relations between states and with non-state actors. This course starts with discussing the classical theories of IR from Realism to contemporary attempts of theoretical bridge-building. Next, the course will deal with current political debates against the backdrop of the changing international system. Among others, topics to discuss include the role of the United Nations, the state of the world economy, and challenges to globalization. The course continues with examining the role of emerging powers such as China and Russia as well as non-state actors and key issues in contemporary IR such as terrorism or the environment; the goal is to discuss IR theories in the current political context. Finally, the course concludes with a reflection on the prospects for international politics.

    In this course, students will learn political concepts and theories through lectures. To compare international political phenomena, each student has to introduce a current issue or actor in a short oral presentation. The students are expected to discuss theoretical questions about the political world in working groups making use of the current news on international politics. In addition, students will learn and practice how to voice their opinion and persuade their audience in an academic essay. Finally, the students will gain insight into daily international politics and IR research through field trips and meetings with IR scholars and international policy experts.

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.

Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.

ECTS (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System) credits are converted to semester credits/quarter units differently among U.S. universities. Students should confirm the conversion scale used at their home university when determining credit transfer.

Availability of courses is based on enrollment numbers. All students should seek pre-approval for alternate courses in the event of last minute class cancellations