Study Political Science & International Relations with our Oxford Summer School 2018 | Students aged 16-18

Also available for students aged 13-15.

Class Summary

This course is designed to introduce students to the academic disciplines of Political Science and International Relations by exposing  to the methods of social scientific enquiry and contemporary issues dominating the discipline. The classes build a progressive understanding from the foundations of Political Science to some of the most pressing issues faced in the field of International Relations.

During the first week, students examine basic academic principles; the focus thereafter is on the development of international politics, with classes exploring issues such as the consequences of globalization, human rights, the ethical dilemma of torture, and the evolution of modern warfare (with particular emphasis on counter-terrorism legislation).

In their second week students study the conceptual basis of global governance, present to their peers on a major international institution, and participate in a class debate on whether or not war can be just. Classes are structured so as to offer the greatest opportunity for thought provoking discussion, combining lectures, issue debates, written assignments, group challenges, and student presentations.


No prior knowledge of politics or international relations is required for the course. Knowledge of Microsoft Word and PowerPoint would aid writing and the preparation of group presentations.

Suggested Reading

If students would like to explore the subject before they join the course, we recommend the following textbook, though it is not compulsory and you will not be at a disadvantage for not having read it:

  • Baylis and Smith, The Globalization of World Politics: An Introduction to International Relations

For students would would like to look into Politics and International Relations in even greater depth, the following is a selection of articles that they may wish to read, although again, they are not compulsory:

  • Stephen M. Walt, “International Relations: One World, Many Theories,” Foreign Policy, N. 110 (Spring 1998): 29-32 and 34-46
  • J. David Singer, “The Levels-of-Analysis Problem in International Relations,” World Politics, V. 14, N. 1. (October 1961): 77-92.
  • G. John Ikenberry, “The Liberal International Order and its Discontents,” Millennium – Journal of International Studies, V. 38, N. 3 (2010): 509-521.
  • John Horgan, “From Profiles to Pathways and Roots to Routes: Perspectives from Psychology on Radicalization into Terrorism,” The Annals of the American Academy of Political Science, 80 (2008): 80- 94.
  • Stathis N. Kalyvas, “New and Old Civil Wars: A Valid Distinction?” World Politics, V. 54, N. 1 (October 2001): 99-118.
  • Robert J. Art and Robert Jervis, International Politics: Enduring Concepts and Contemporary Issues, 2011.
    • Bruce Hoffman, “What is Terrorism?”
    • Robert I. Rotberg, “The Causes of Failed States.”