The course will provide a critical understanding of key developments and issues in contemporary world politics for students with no prior background in international relations. Focusing on the period since the end of the Cold War, an era defined by rapid institutional innovation and development, as well as a number of emergent global issues, problems and policy dilemmas, the course locates these in the context of north-south relations. Treating the international system as a dynamic whole, it examines how issues that have become central in international politics including ‘failed states’, nuclear proliferation, armed conflict and terrorism, democratisation, pandemics and the Arab Spring are intimately linked to expanding efforts since the mid-20th century to generate a liberal world order.
For more information, please see the course handbook:
International Relations in the 21st Century Handbook (pdf; 115kb)
On successful completion of the course, a student should be able to demonstrate the ability to:
- Apply international relations theory to explain key developments and events in contemporary world politics
- Demonstrate critical knowledge of contemporary global policy frameworks, such as globalization, neoliberalism and the Global War on Terror
- Demonstrate critical knowledge of key institutional and organizational developments in world politics since the end of the Cold War.
This course is worth 15 credits in the UK system. 15 credits is equivalent to 4 credits in the US system and 7.5 ECTS in the European system. If you intend to transfer credit to your home institution, please check the requirements with them before you apply. We will be happy to assist you in any way we can, however please be aware that the decision to transfer credit rests with your home institution.
Current SOAS students selecting this course as an open option module will not be charged the tuition-fee. For further information and assistance, please contact email@example.com.
"The course content has provided me with another view on a lot of issues, very often in a way that I wouldn't have thought about myself. The way we had to report on our visit to the Imperial War Musuem was particularly appropriate. It was not just a tour of the musuem, but we were questioned about our perception of the way things were presented, something I had never done before." - Frederic (International Relations in the 21st Century, 2019)
For more information, please fill out our enquiry form
Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings
Start of programme: 20 July – 7 August 2020
Mode of Attendance: Full-time
- A university student or a graduate at the time of attending the summer school, and 18+ years of age. Professional experience can be acknowledged as equivalent to a university qualification.
- 3 weeks
Tuition Fees 2020
Credit assessed: £1,750
- Introduction: Globalisation, Neoliberalism and the State
- Interventions I: Democracy, Peace and Markets
- Interventions II: New Wars, terrorism and Securitised Development
- The Rise of China and the Future of the International System
- Safer World? Nuclear proliferation and other dangers
- Money and Power: Corporations, finance and regulation
- Global Health: pandemics, food and drugs
- Migration: refugees, workers and diasporas
- Environmental Politics
- Politics of Resistance: Seattle to the Arab Spring
Sample Reading list:
- Laffey, Mark (2016) A short guide to Realism.
- Laffey, Mark (2016) A short guide to Marxism
- Mearsheimer, John J. (2010) ‘The Gathering Storm: China's Challenge to US Power in Asia,’ The Chinese Journal of International Politics 3(4): 381-396
- De Graaff, Naná and Bastiaan Van Apeldoorn, (2018) ‘US–China relations and the liberal world order: contending elites, colliding visions?’ International Affairs 94(1): 113–131.
- Laffey, Mark (2015) A short guide to Constructivism
- Turner, Oliver. "China, India and the US Rebalance to the Asia Pacific: The Geopolitics of Rising Identities." Geopolitics 21, no. 4 (2016): 922-944.
The information on the programme page reflects the intended programme structure against the given academic session. If you are a current student you can find structure information on the previous year link at the top of the page or through your Department. Please read the important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules.
Teaching & Learning
Dr Vino Kanapathipillai
50 hours (lectures, tutorials, activities). The course will be delivered Monday - Friday over the 3 weeks.
Monday - Friday, 10am-3pm. In addition to regular lectures and tutorials, each course is composed of a range of activities relating to their academic content (e.g. museum visit, company visit etc).
Assessment will be in the form of an essay to be handed in 2 weeks after the end of the course.
If you have opted to study for credit, you will be required to complete all course assessments. Should you complete the assessments with success, you will receive a transcript confirming your marks and credits. If you have not chosen to study for credit, you will be exempt from any course assignments and not receive a mark.
International Relations in the 21st Century Handbook (pdf; 115kb)
A one-off, non-refundable application fee of £40 will be charged to cover administration costs. Please visit the SOAS online store to make your application fee payment.
10% early-bird discount when you apply by 31 March
10% discount if you apply for two courses over 6 weeks
15% discount for SOAS Alumni (including Academic Summer School alumni)
20% discount for our partner institutions
Other discounts are available for groups. Please contact us for more information.
For more information, please see our accommodation page.
The SOAS Academic Summer School is delighted to offer six tuition-fee waiver scholarships to passionate students with a desire to make a difference in the world.
The scholarships will cover the tuition-fee for one Academic Summer School course in 2020.
Application Deadline: 2020-03-02 00:00
For further details and information on external scholarships visit the Scholarships section
How to Apply
In order to join the Academic Summer School, students should meet the following entry requirements:
- A university student or a graduate at the time of attending. Professional experience can be acknowledged as equivalent to a university qualification.
- Participants must be 18 or over at the time of attendance.
- Fluency in English language is recommended for non-credit courses, but essential for SOAS Accredited courses. Proficiency can be demonstrated through:
- IELTS, 6.5 overall or higher, with at least 6 in all sub scores.
- TOEFL Paper based test we require a minimum of 583 with minimum 53 in all skills and for TOEFL Internet Based Test we require a minimum of 93 with minimum 20 in all skills.
- Pearson Test of English a score of 59-64
- Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) Grade B
- If you have studied in an English speaking institution, or have courses taught at your university in English (excluding English language courses) you may meet our requirements without having to supply a certificate. Evidence of this will either need to be included on a transcript or letter from your university.
- If you are unsure whether you meet the above entry requirements, please contact us to discuss your application.
Enrolment of applicants who do not meet the entry requirements is at the discretion of SOAS – please get in touch to speak to us about your application and we will be happy to help.
Once you have paid the £40 application fee and submitted the online application form, you will be informed as to whether you have a place on the summer school within 5 working days. Please do not pay your tuition fee prior to having received your offer letter.
Applications now accepted on a rolling basis for all courses