Studying online

There are now 2 possible online modes for units:

Units with modes Online timetabled and Online flexible are available for any student to self-enrol and study online.

Click on an offering mode for more details.

Unit Overview


This unit enables students to understand the nature of international politics. It looks at the structure of the international system, its evolution, current international political configuration, the role of developing states, and the emergence of various non-state actors in international politics. The ideas of order and justice, and the role of the United Nations, are explored with reference to a range of issues which may include alliances, regionalism, international law, environmental problems, human trafficking, nuclear proliferation, human rights, religion, ethnicity and terrorism. The unit aims to make students familiar with various approaches to the study of international relations and also to give students an appreciation of the complexity of decision making in the current world order. Overall, the unit provides the conceptual and methodological foundations that allows students to begin thinking like an international relations analyst.

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 2UWA (Perth)Face to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 1 core unit in the Political Science and International Relations; International Cybersecurity; Human Rights; International Relations major sequences
  • Level 1 elective

Students are able to (1) identify elements of continuity and change in contemporary world politics; (2) identify the types of actors participating in the contemporary international system and describe their characteristics; (3) demonstrate a basic understanding of how the interaction between these actors is regulated (or not regulated) by international norms and institutions; (4) demonstrate a basic understanding of the concepts, theoretical frameworks and discourse conventions of the academic field of international relations; (5) conduct research and analyse evidence from a range of relevant sources, and construct a logical and persuasive argument; (6) develop appropriate interpersonal and oral presentation skills; and (7) develop skills to undertake group projects.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) quiz; (2) tutorial; and (3) written work (essay and journal entries). Further information is available in the unit outline.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Dr Azim Zahir
Contact hours
3 hours per week
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.