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Program Type: 
Course Code: 
POLS 616
Course Type: 
Course Language: 
Course Objectives: 

(1) To provide students with the essentials of understanding the basic facts of learning about theory and its relevance to international relations. To explain necessary requirements in building and improving an overall conceptual capability. To conceive the spirit of the term and concept of theory and understanding its essence and relevance to international relations in reality. As the second step, taking well known theoretical stands (e.g., realism) into consideration in general terms, just to show them how can the conceptual explanations be classified into action oriented schools of thought. (2) Providing students with an ability to identify, conceive and understand the essentials of the main theoretical schools of thought and use their basic points in the explanation of the international realities. (3) Preparing the conditions necessary for raising the levels of interest and motivation towards—at least—“trying to learn” about theory since, as is the case in any particular field of study in any branch of the scientific world, the “theory” could be regarded as the hardest and unpleasant—yet necessary—part of the academic process. (4) Closely related to above statements, to provide students at least with a chance of realizing the fact that all discussions of international politics proceed upon theoretical assumptions, which we should acknowledge and investigate rather than ignore or leave unchallenged.

Course Content: 

The course—with analytical purposes—is divided into two groups of arguments.  The first group relates to the meaning and the process of the concept of theory in general and its relevance to the study field of international relations in particular; and the historical precedents leading to the development of the ınternational relations theory. The second group covers brief analytical discussions on realism, neo-realism and as the alternative views –liberal, institutional and critical approaches. Within a general framework of introductory explanations, the system thought in particular, and its relevance to international relations- -in general- -are also taken into consideration. Final arguments are to be related to such groups of thought as the radical, international society, international organization, post-modernist theories.

Teaching Methods: 
1: Lecture, 2: Discussion based lecture, 3: Case study, 4:Small group work, 5: Seminar, 6: Group work, 7: Research paper, 8: Oral presentation/exam, 9: Survey, 10: Panel, 11: Guest speaker, 12: Activities within a Student Body or Research Project.
Assessment Methods: 
A: Exam, B: Homework, C: Presentation, D: Discussion

Vertical Tabs

Course Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes Program

Learning Outcomes

Teaching Methods Assessment Methods
Define the subjects in each particular group. 1, 3 1,2,3 A, C, D
Identify the logical relationships among the subjects in each group and among the subjects groups. 4, 5, 10 1,2,3 A, C, D
Label and list the subjects in organizing his curriculum. 1, 2, 3, 4 1,2,3 A, C, D
Associate and differentiate various subjects in each group as well as among the groups. 9, 10, 11 1,2,3 A, C, D
Interpret each subject and locate or rearrange them into one and specific curriculum. 8, 9, 10 1,2,3 A, C, D
Making generalizations with comparative purpose. 9, 10, 11, 1,2,3 A, C, D

Course Flow

Week Topics Study Materials
1 Prelude to the concept of theory:  the meaning and the function of the “term theory”  K.N.Waltz,  1978 (pp. 1-18)

 M. A. Kaplan, (on  structural examples pp. 21-54)

2 Realism J.E. Dougherty & R.L. Pfaltzgraff Inc.,l997),  ( pp: 58-89:

William Wolforth, (pp.,31-49)

3 Realism (Continued) -
4 On neo-realism Kenneth N. Waltz,  (pp. 29-37).

Contending Theories in International Relations, 4th ed. (pp.80-99)

5 A Comparative Approach to Realism and Institutional Theories: J.J. Mearshimer,
6 On Systems Thought Systems Thinking:

A. Angyal, “ Logic of  Systems” : pp. 17-19.

W.Koehler, “Closed and Open Systems pp. 59-69.

D.  Katz and R.L. Kahn, “Common Characteristics of Open  Systems”   pp. 87-105.

7 Systems Thought (Continued) J.E. Dougherthy & R.L. Pfaltzgraff Jr., Contending Theories, pp. 102-138
8 Comprehensive MID TERM EXAM  
9 Radical/Critical Theory Martin Griffiths, pp. (pp. 107-144. )
10 (Continued) ---
11 Post-modernism: Fifty Key Thinkers: pp.205-217.
12 On the theory of international society C.W. Henderson, pp. 493-502
13 On the theory of international organization Fifty Key Thinkers, pp. 175-205
14 Review  
15 Conclusion  

Recommended Sources

Textbook J.E. Dougherty & R.L. Pfaltzgraff, Jr. Contending Theories of International Relations: A Comprehensive survey, 4th ed., (New York; A Wesley Longman, Inc., l997), ( pp: 58-89:

C.W.  Henderson, “Conditions and Trends at the Turn of 21st Century” in International Relations: Conflict and Cooperation at the Turn of the 21st century, New York: McGraw Hill, 1998, pp. 493-502

Kenneth N. Waltz, Theory and Practice of International Politics, Massachusetts; Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, 1978 (pp. 1-18)

Fritz and Emery, eds. Systems Thinking, (Baltimore: Penguin Books, Inc., 1970.

A. Angyal, “A Logic of Systems”: pp. 17-l9.

W. Koehler, “Closed and Open Systems, pp. 59-69.

D. Katz and R.L. Kahn, “Common Characteristics of Open Systems” pp. 87-105.

J.E. Dougherthy & R.L. Pfaltzgraff Jr., Contending Theories, pp. 102-l38

J.J. Mearshimer, “The False Promise of International Institutions” in International Security, Winter l994, v. 19, No, pp. 5-49.

Kenneth N. Waltz, “Realist Thought and Neo-realist Theory” in Journal of ınternational Affairs, Vol. 44, no. 1, Spring l990, pp.21-37 (for the students pp. 29-37).

Martin Griffiths, Fifty Key Thinkers in International Relations, New York: Routledge, 2006, pp. 107-144. .

Morton A. Kaplan, System and Process ın International Politics, Chicago: John Willey & Sons, Inc., 1967. (on the structural examples pp. 21-54)

Richard Little, “International Regimes” in The Globalization o9f World Politics; An Introduction to International Relations, ed., by John Baylis and Steve Smith (New York; Oxford University Press, 1997), pp. 232-245.

William Wolforth, “Realism and Foreign Policy”, in Foreign Policy: Theories. Actors. Cases, ed., byS. Smith, A. Hadfield, T. Dunne, New York: Oxford University Press, 2008. (pp.,31-49)

Additional Resources -

Material Sharing

Documents -
Assignments -
Exams -


Mid-terms 3 60
Total   60
Total   100

Course’s Contribution to Program

No Program Learning Outcomes Contribution
1 2 3 4 5  
1 The ability to analyze and critically evaluate basic research models, approaches and intellectual traditions in the field of political science, international relations, comparative politics, Turkish politics and foreign policy. To demonstrate the ability to create innovative and original contribution to the field by specializing and expanding on these models and approaches.   x        
2 To demonstrate the ability to make original contributions to the field with an interdisciplinary approach.     x        
3 A command of basic research models and approaches of political science and international relations discipline and the ability to apply them in academic research and project design.   x         
4 Having the ability to compare, contrast and analyze societal and political systems with an interdisciplinary approach.       x    
5 Having a command of qualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis methods and abiding by the highest levels of academic and research ethics.       x    
6 The ability to contribute to the progress of the field of political science and international relations by conducting original and independent studies that produce original thought, methods, models, and applications to the field and/or utilize existing ideas, methods, models, and applications in another field of study. x          
7 The ability to contribute to the progress of the field of political science and international relations by publishing at least one academic article at a refereed journal and/or by producing or interpreting an original contribution. x          
8 To develop current and advanced level of data into original thought and research as a specialist. The ability to develop original ideas and methods in the field of political science and international relations. x          
9 The ability to debate and make presentations within an intellectual framework, and the ability to express oneself in a professional and academic manner. The ability to apply academic writing and presentation methods to dissertations, articles, and project design.     x      
10 Having advanced reading, writing, comprehension and speaking skills in the English language.       x    
11 Having the ability to apply knowledge of political science and international relations discipline to information technologies and traditional tools so as to produce sound solutions to problems.     x      
12 Having the competency to work in the public sector, NGOs, research institutions and the academia.   x        
13 Having empathy towards diverse and differing communities, which will facilitate conducing teamwork at local as well as global platforms.   x        
14 Having competency of comprehending and interpreting local and global issues through information exchange with international academics and students.   x        


Activities Quantity Duration
Course Duration (Including the exam week: 16x Total course hours) 16 3 48
Hours for off-the-classroom study (Pre-study, practice) 16 9 144
Mid-terms 3 20 60
Final examination 1 25 25
Total Work Load     277
Total Work Load / 25 (h)     11.08
ECTS Credit of the Course      11   11