Introduction to World Politics

Humanities & Social Sciences
Political Science
Course Code
POLI 1103
Semester Length
Max Class Size
Method(s) Of Instruction
Course Designation
Certificate in Global Competency
Industry Designation
Typically Offered


Course Description
Why war? What is the role of the United Nations in resolving conflict? How does politics affect the nature of global economic relations? These and other central questions about the nature of global political relations are examined in this course. Students will review fundamental concepts and theoretical approaches to the study of world politics, examine the structure of the contemporary international system, and explore current issues in international security and economic relations. This course will help students recognize the importance of world politics and to develop the tools to analyze and understand current events.
Course Content

Part One: An Introduction to World Politics and the Contemporary International System

1. The study of international politics: international system, levels of analysis, states and non-state actors, sovereignty, anarchy, the security dilemma, and power.


2. Theoretical perspectives: realism, liberalism, constructivism, and critical perspectives.


3. Characteristics of the contemporary international system: sovereignty, nationalism, weak states/strong states, non-state actors, polarity, cleavages, regimes, alliances, globalization, fragmentation, integration, cooperation, and competition.


4. Foreign policy: objectives, models of decision making, bureaucratic politics, group dynamics, other individual level factors, nationalism, ideals, and values.


5. Diplomacy: purpose, functions, negotiations, and crisis management.


6. International and Regional Organizations: types and goals.


7. International Law and Regimes: development, roles, and effectiveness.


Part Two: Security Issues

1. Security I—force as a political instrument, the evolution of warfare, and types of military activity: intervention, arms transfers, demonstrations of force, low-intensity conflict, subversion, the political issues of intervention, terrorism, and WMD.


2. Security II—collective security, peacekeeping, peacemaking, humanitarian intervention, and arms control and disarmament.


Part Three: International Economic Relations

1. International Political Economy concepts: balance of trade, balance of payments, current account, comparative advantage, exchange rate, and GNP.


2. The structure of the global economy: the GATT, IMF, WTO, World Bank, and development of the G20.


3. International Trade Issues: protectionism, tariffs, and non-tariff barriers.


4. International Monetary Issues: exchange rates and currency fluctuations.


5. Economic Globalization: interdependence and dependence, development, and foreign aid.


Part Four: Contemporary Issues

1. Overview of contemporary issues: poverty, debt, environment, and human rights.

Learning Activities

The course will employ a variety of instructional methods to accomplish its objectives, including the use of formal lectures, structured group work by students, and in class discussion of assigned material. Additional readings may be assigned for each unit of the course and placed on reserve in the library. Where appropriate, audio-visual materials will be used.

Means of Assessment

The course evaluation will be based on course objectives and in accordance with the policies of Douglas College and the Department of Political Science. A minimum of 40% of the student’s course grade will be assigned to examinations, a minimum of 30% will be assigned to the various components of a formal research essay, and a maximum of 30% will be based upon components such as quizzes, short essays, participation, and

class presentations.  The instructor will provide specific evaluation criteria in course outlines.


One example of an evaluation system:


Midterm Exam                    20%

Seminar Presentation          20%

Research Essay                   30%

Participation                        10%

Final Exam                          20%  


Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of the course, the successful student will be able to:


1. describe the main approaches to the study of international politics, and the characteristics of the contemporary international system;


2. explain the concept of sovereignty, levels of analysis, foreign policy decision making, the role of international organizations, regimes, and international law;


3. describe contemporary security and economic relations;


4. apply basic concepts and knowledge of security and economic relations to the analysis of contemporary international issues.

Textbook Materials

Textbooks and Materials to be Purchased by Students:


Text and course readings will be selected by instructors after consultation with the department. Examples of texts to be used include:


Baylis, John, Steve Smith, and Patricia Owens, eds., The Globalization of World Politics: An Introduction
    to International Relations.
Fifth edition (Don Mills: Oxford University Press, 2011).


Goldstein, Joshua S. and Jon C. Pevehouse.  International Relations. Tenth edition (Toronto: Longman, 2012).


Rourke, John T. and Mark Boyer. International Politics on the World Stage: Brief Edition. Eighth edition
     (New York: McGraw-Hill Ryerson, 2010).


Sens, Allen and Peter Stoett. Global Politics: Origins, Currents, Directions. Fourth edition (Toronto:

     Nelson Thomson Learning, 2010).


Other materials may be used by instructors as supplements, and texts will be periodically updated.



No prerequisite courses.


No corequisite courses.


No equivalent courses.

Course Guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester / year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

Course Transfers

These are for current course guidelines only. For a full list of archived courses please see

Institution Transfer Details for POLI 1103
Athabasca University (AU) AU POLI 2XX (3)
Capilano University (CAPU) CAPU POL 201 (3)
College of the Rockies (COTR) COTR POLI 1XX (3)
Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) KPU POLI 1150 (3)
Langara College (LANG) LANG POLI 1140 (3)
Okanagan College (OC) OC POLI 221 (3)
Simon Fraser University (SFU) SFU POL 141 (3)
Thompson Rivers University (TRU) TRU POLI 1210 (3)
Trinity Western University (TWU) TWU POLS 211 (3)
University Canada West (UCW) UCW POLI 102 (3)
University of British Columbia - Okanagan (UBCO) UBCO POLI 221 (3)
University of British Columbia - Vancouver (UBCV) UBCV POLI 260 (3)
University of Northern BC (UNBC) UNBC INTS 100 (3)
University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) UFV POSC 260 (3)
University of Victoria (UVIC) UVIC POLI 240 (1.5)
Vancouver Island University (VIU) VIU POLI 200 (3)

Course Offerings

Summer 2023

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New Westminster - South Bldg.
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