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.

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Unit Overview


This unit enables students to understand the complex politics of the United Nations (UN). In light of tensions between the objectives of interstate order and human justice in world politics, the unit examines competing concepts of global governance as predominantly either (1) centred on an existing international society of states which is based on unconditional respect for state sovereignty; or (2) a new, emerging ensemble of global relations which includes key roles for non-state actors and for norms that challenge state sovereignty. The unit thus deals with matters fundamental to an understanding of the nature and potential of international relations. A basic theme of the unit is that world politics is in an era of uncertain change, with hopes for a new age of human rights raised by the end of the Cold War still unfulfilled. Topics to be examined against this backdrop include the UN's role in promoting the end of apartheid in South Africa; the right of self-determination for Indigenous peoples; humanitarian intervention in situations of genocide; the role of transnational social movements; the plight of refugees; prospects for UN Security Council reform; and the role of the International Criminal Court.

6 points
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 2 elective

Students are able to (1) apply international relations concepts and theory to analysis of order and justice in world politics, including the role of the UN; (2) demonstrate an understanding of contemporary debates about the nature of, and prospects for, global governance; (3) identify and explain the contribution of key factors (particular ideas, actors, rules and interests) shaping the UN, and distinguish between superficial and fundamental change concerning the UN's role in world politics; (4) demonstrate an ability to relate contemporary debates about human rights to an understanding of the international political system; (5) communicate information, ideas and argument related to the subfield in a coherent and logical manner in both written and oral forms; (6) work effectively in a collaborative manner as a member of a tutorial group; (7) demonstrate research skills appropriate for locating and assessing relevant primary and secondary materials; (8) demonstrate practiced skills of problem analysis and critical reasoning applied to the subject matter of the subfield; and (9) undertake enquiry-based learning and research on topics related to the subfield.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) written work; (2) tutorial participation; and (3) examination. 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 Ky Gentry
Unit rules
any Level 1 POLS unit
POLS3332 Global Governance
Contact hours
lectures: 20 hours
tutorials: 9 hours
  • 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.