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Durham University

Faculty Handbook Archive

Archive Module Description

This page is for the academic year 2017-18. The current handbook year is 2020-21

Department: Government and International Affairs


Type Open Level 2 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2017/18 Module Cap Location Durham


  • Any Level 1 SGIA module


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • The module will give students a systematic introduction to the internal organisation and the external impact of key international organisation such as the United Nations, the European Union, the World Trade Organisation, NATO, ASEAN, OPEC/OAPEC, and the Arab League.
  • Students will gain an understanding of dynamic nature of regional and functionalist institutional integration, with a special emphasis on the dynamics of the global international environment.
  • The module is particularly focused on enabling students to apply key theoretical concepts in international relations and regional integration theory to the analysis of the multi-level framework of supranational organisations.


  • The module aims to lay the foundations for a systematic understanding of the increasingly complex network of international organisations in the contemporary global environment.
  • It introduces key concepts and theories related to the institutional framework of international relations, such as functionalism, institutionalism, social constructivism and multi-level governance.
  • The emphasis of module lies particularly in the analysis of regional institutional integration processes as substantiated in the European Union, ASEAN and Arab League and major functional international organisations such as the United Nations, NATO, the WTO and OPEC/OAPEC.
  • The module will familiarise students with the internal structural dynamics of these organisations through the analysis of key actors and decision-making processes on the basis of group simulation exercises.
  • The analysis of the institutional framework will be placed in the context of past and present political, economic, social and environmental global challenges and the dichotomy between globalisation and the revival of the nation state.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Through the module students will gain an understanding of :
  • Historical trends in the development of the existing global institutional framework;
  • Internal and external dynamics of international organisations in the context of a constantly evolving global environment;
  • The value of theoretical approaches for the academic analysis of regional and functional institutional integration;
  • An awareness of major global challenges related to institutional integration in areas such as economic development and competition for resources, security, human rights and environmental sustainability.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Students will also develop some subject specific skills, such as:
  • Identifying and analysing subject-related literature, including primary material such as reports and statistics;
  • Being able to identify and engage with conceptualisations and/or theorisations of major elements of international relations, particularly in relation to institution-building;
  • Utilising a range of resources, including primary sources and statistics;
  • Beginning to develop a self-critical approach to independent learning.
Key Skills:
  • Students will also develop some important key skills, suitable for underpinning study at this and subsequent levels, such as:
  • Finding and accessing resources such as databases and statistical pools;
  • Basic skills in planning and completing a range of academic exercises, such as group simulation exercises;
  • Effective oral and written communication of research findings;
  • Developing strategies of independent learning and evaluating their own progress.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • The module includes a mixture of teaching and learning activities, including lectures, small-group tutorials and group simulation exercises. Lectures provide an established basis for the delivery of core knowledge on the subject and encouraging self-directed research and learning. They also offer an opportunity for staff to highlight the ways in which academic analysis should be developed. Small group tutorials provide an environment in which students can debate and discuss theories, concepts and issues in order to help them assess the merits of various positions. Group simulation exercises provide students with an innovative learning environment, where they can develop their organisational and communication skills. They will also allow students to achieve an understanding of the internal dynamics of international organisations by engaging as participants in intra-institutional bargaining.
  • Summative assessment is by a final written unseen examination in which students will be tested for their subject-specific knowledge in relation to the learning outcomes and the departmental assessment criteria.
  • Formative assessment through essays and presentations gives students an opportunity to practice the written and oral communication of the knowledge they obtain during the course. It also provides feedback on their level of success in achieving the learning outcomes of the module. The group simulation exercises allow further engagement between the students as a group of learners. The individual report on the group simulation allows students to reflect on their progress regarding the practical implementation of their knowledge of major issues and procedural aspects related to international organisations.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 16 weekly; 8 in term 1, 7 in term 2 and 1 in term 3 1 hour 16
Tutorials 9 fortnightly 1 hour 9
Module-specific office surgeries 3 spread over the year 1 hour 3
Preparation and Reading 172
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Examination Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
unseen written examination 2 hours 100% August

Formative Assessment:

One tutorial presentation, one 1,500 word essay and one 1,000 word report on the individual experience gained as part of the group simulation exercise.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University