Department of International Relations

M.A. (International Relations)

The two-year Masters Programme at the Department of International Relations is designed to encourage students to develop their critical faculties, both within and outside the field of international relations. The composition of its student community, drawn from across the South Asian region gives the programme a unique edge. Through an array of courses ranging from mainstream disciplinary orientations in IR and political science to the contemporary debates in social sciences, students are encouraged to engage with the wider world of politics that inform our intellectual and creative pursuits. The faculty provides an academic direction towards this aim through its teaching and supervision within the programme. The Masters programme at DIR is unique for its emphasis on developing the research orientation of students. The dissertation forms an integral component of the programme and provides them with an early opportunity and intellectual challenge to undertake an intensive exploration of a subject of their choice. This experience will be part of an ongoing conversation between disciplines, between theory and policy and between students and faculty. We welcome you to join us and be part of this exciting exchange of ideas.




Year – I: Semester – I


International Relations Theory+

Course objectives: This course familiarises students with some of the major debates within the discipline. It introduces them to key interdisciplinary conversations between IR and other disciplines such as history, philosophy and sociology. Although the course content is largely theoretical, it refers to historical and contemporary developments as illustrative examples. The course would particularly introduce ‘critical frames’ of enquiry to students, to nudge them to critically engage for instance with the broadly ethnocentric and masculinist character of the discipline. (Read More)

History of International Relations+

Course Objectives:The course is intended to fulfill two basic objectives. First, it provides students with a sense of what one means by “International Relations” as a discipline. Second, it ex-poses students to some of the much-discussed and deliberated upon events and pro-cesses in history that have been of interest to scholars of International Relations. By focusing on these objectives, it is hoped that students will have a sufficient under-standing of the basic terrain of International Relations and will be better equipped to opt for courses during their Master’s program that will delve in detail on these issues, events, and processes that they have been initiated to in this course. (Read More)

Comparative Politics+

The objective of this course on Comparative Politics (CP) is to introduce students to various facets pertaining to this rich and dynamic field of inquiry. A fundamental concern that informs this effort relates to how we can skill students of International Relations to think and argue comparatively. Commencing with an exposure to contending logics and methodological orientations within the field, the course introduces students to some topics that are of interest to scholars of CP. (Read More)

Political Theory+

Course Objectives:The basic objective of this course is to facilitate and develop critical engagement with key concepts of political theory, particularly those which are fundamental to the understanding of International Relations. The course will underline an analytical approach, and provide a theoretical and conceptual prism to address challenges posed by issues in contemporary international relations. Readings have been selected on the basis of their relevance to the twenty-first century. The broad aim is to establish a dialogue between international relations theory and political theory and illuminate the significance of the ‘non-western other’ to the discipline of political thought and theory. (Read More)

Year – I: Semester – II


Security Studies+

Course Objectives:The course aims at introducing students to the dynamic field of security studies. It seeks to combine a comprehensive overview of the major theoretical debates in the field with an in depth understanding of the key issue areas that impinge upon the notion of security. The course provides a critical evaluation of the contemporary security studies discourse and examines the manner in which the field has responded to transformations in world politics. It will further familiarize students with debates on certain core concerns that have compelled policy makers and researchers to widen the conceptual parameters of security. (Read More)

The Global Economy+

Course Objectives:The primary objective of this course is to explore and understand links between international relations and international political economy by keeping the phenomenon of globalization in sight. The interrelationship between politics and economics is quite complex because there can be economic basis of political choice and sometimes there is primacy of ‘political’ to transform the economy. In view of this, the course will try to untangle the intricate interconnections between politics and economics to grasp the nature of contemporary international political economy.Understanding the enmeshed network of ties between economics and politics can certainly enrich our understanding of international relations. Keeping this in the background the above course has been divided into the following six units. (Read More)

Introduction to Conflict Transformation and Peacebuilding+

Course Objectives:Conflict Transformation and Peacebuilding is an expanding, innovative discipline which is opening new frontiers of learning. It is mandated by the UN, which is seeking to support education for a culture of peace. However, the field is still at it fledging stages in South Asia and has largely been dominated by Western perspectives. There is need to build a vocabulary of Peacebuilding that is more ‘context sensitive’, which facilitates cross-fertilization of ideas and strengthen Peacebuilding practice in South Asia. (Read More)

International Relations of South Asia+

Course Objectives:International Relations of South Asia is based on the study of South Asia as a region. The course will consider a number of conceptual and policy questions, and explore why is South Asia ‘international’ in contemporary world politic s. The students will be intro-duced to the idea of South Asia, its relevance as a region to international relations theory and praxis. Further, the course will cover a broad spectrum of issues which have a politi-cal and international dimension. The focus will also be on issue areas that internationalise South Asia as a region. While an imaginative exercise on engaging South Asia as region is encouraged, the students are made aware of the strategic undertones and the ‘over-developed’ nature of various South Asian states. (Read More)

Year – II: Semester – III


Research Methods+

Course Objectives:The investigation of phenomenon related to international affairs can be conducted using a range of methodological approaches. The selection of the appropriate methodology is influenced by a number of factors including the theoretical approach underlying the research project. Further, this selection is then linked to the identification of appropriate data collection and interpretation techniques. This course is geared to introduce students to these various facets of conducting research. (Read More)

International Organisations+

Course Objectives:This course examines the nature and scope of international organisations (IOs), specifically within the context of the contemporary era of global governance. First, it provides an introduction to the historical evolution of IOs as well as relevant theoretical approaches in International Relations used to study IOs. Second, the course examines processes that constitute the work of, and at, IOs, including multilateral diplomacy, rule making and implementation, and provision of services. Third, it seeks to identify and assess contemporary challenges as well as new trends vis-à-vis the role of IOs in global politics. (Read More)

Culture and World Politics+

Course Objectives:The objective of the course is to acquaint students with the complex ways in which the cultural and political realms interact. It undertakes a critical enquiry into the academic and political endeavours that offer cultural interpretations of world politics in both historical and contemporary contexts. It is based on the implicit assumption that politics is negotiated and interpreted through the lens of culture, as are cultural interpretations often imbued with power and political intent. Intended to equip students with the analytical skills to problematise the immediate contexts in which some of the major issues of international politics are embedded, the course covers a broad sweep of issues ranging from strategic culture and diaspora studies to multiculturalism and popular culture. Although it frames culture largely within the IR discourse. (Read More)

Regional Integration Process+

Course Objectives: Regional integration is not a new phenomenon and in the twenty-first century, this process has intensified. The relevance of regional integration was not questioned even after the fall of the Berlin Wall when the world politics entered into a phase of hyper-globalisation. The best example is the European Union (EU) that has not only consolidated its position but also expanded its boundary by including East and Central European countries of the former socialist bloc. At present, almost every region of the world has its regional organisation. The EU excelled in this process, ASEAN proved its viability and the SAARC still struggling to gain momentum. Briefly, regional integration is a dynamic process involving many nation states, actors and several interconnected issues ranging from politics to economics. Therefore, regional integration draws the attention of academia, particularly of those interested in International Relations. This course covers theories and concepts of regional integration. Several essential case studies are part of the course for developing a comprehensive understanding of the regional integration process. In the case studies section, South Asia is the primary focus. Along with regular class lectures and general discussions, group discussions and project work is also a part of the course structure. It is expected that students will actively participate in the class and group discussions. (Read More)

Introduction to Diplomacy and International Negotiations+

Course Objectives:This course aims to equip the students with conceptual and theoretical tools towards understanding the strategic behaviour of state and non-state actors in world politics. A theoretical study of international negotiations, backed by practical examples will also help to underline essential linkages between theory and the practice of diplomacy. Given that there are various factors influencing the behaviour of state actors, it is important that inter-disciplinarity is encouraged. It is from this perspective that choice of actors and issues has been made as diverse as possible ranging from states, non-governmental organizations, terrorists, and affected people’s groups amongst others. Thus, the course intends to engage variety of actors and issues which range from ‘high’ politics to that of ‘low’ politics, intending to go beyond the conventional parameters of IR discipline, where states remain the primary unit of analysis. Issues areas like environment, business, arms control, territorial and social conflict would be discussed to study various approaches, actors, styles and types of negotiation in an applied context. Since this is an introductory course on two important themes of diplomacy and negotiations, students are expected to catch up with the recommended readings. (Read More)

Strategic Themes: +

Past and Present: This course is situated within the broad framework of grand strategy. Students are introduced to both Western and Asian thinkers and the classics range from 5th century B.C to as recent as the 20th century. The overarching purpose of the course is to assess how some key concepts in international relations such as war, justice, power, leadership and statecraft have been understood and envisaged by some leading brains at various points of time. The twenty-first century is plagued with various traditional and non-traditional security challenges. While some of the challenges are specific to contemporary times and quite distinct from those posed in the past, the nature of threats posed to the state (internal and external) indeed remain the same. Students focus on four classics in the course of eight weeks to contextualize the strategic thought within the broad frame of strategic themes of past and present.

Year – II: Semester – IV


The Politics of Knowing Your World+

Course Objectives:This course challenges the assumption that International Relations (IR) should primarily focus on relationships between states and follow the trajectories of the powerful. Instead, it brings peoples and communities to the center of analysis and highlights alternative narratives of contemporary global politics that emerge from this analytical move. The course offers students an eclectic toolbox with which to challenge knowledge received from within and outside academia (for instance, the media) about their world, and the relationships of power that are woven into these dominant narratives and their real‐world consequences. (Read More)

War in International Relations+

Course Objectives:International Relations as a formal discipline was established in the context of the devastations caused by World War One. The initial objective of this discipline was to study wars to find out why they recurred. This course introduces students to wars as a phenomenon in the international system. Not only will this course examine the various reasons why wars break out in the international system but it will also engage with insights and theories drawn from other disciplines to add additional perspective on this issue. The course aims to be more than just answering the question, “Why do wars occur?” It will also examine the relationship between wars on the one hand and societies, the changing nature of wars and some of its salient aspects. (Read More)

India in World Affairs+

This interdisciplinary course is designed to situate India in World Affairs during the Cold War and the Post-Cold War phases. While locating India within the broader world, it will simultaneously relate India to a wide range of complex issues and events concerning India’s foreign policy. In essence by handling several specific and yet significant events as well as realities concerning India’s foreign policy since India’s independence empirically, the course will initiate a dialogue with the existing schools of thought in international theory.

Critical Approaches to Peacemaking: Theory and Practice+

Course objectives:The changing nature of contemporary armed conflict pose a significant challenge to the theory and practice of peacemaking. This course will provide a dialogic space to review theories, models and skills for theorizing and developing peace initiatives that can respond to protracted armed conflict particularly in South Asia. The course is organized around five themes for peacemaking: protracted armed conflicts, approaches to peacemaking, critical frames in peacemaking (timing, violence and spoilers), peace agreements, en-gendering peacemaking and post conflict challenges. The attempt is to critically engage with the rich body of academic literature on peace process, negotiations, mediation, dialogue, peace accords, power sharing, post conflict challenges from the standpoint of global south. Keeping in mind a representative spectrum, and space for comparative review, in-depth analysis of five case studies: Northern Ireland, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Bosnia Herzegovina and Kashmir would be offered. The attempt is to initiate a dialogical process of enquiry and creativity in thinking about protracted armed conflicts. The pedagogy for the course would be elicitive, participatory and would draw on multiple formats for the teaching -learning process. (Read More)

Maritime Geopolitics and the Indian Ocean (Optional)+

The Indian Ocean and its regional seas have become pivotal to an increasingly ocean-centric, ocean-driven regional and global geopolitics. The Indian Ocean Region —with its complex, cultural, socio-economic, and political diversity— appears to be the fulcrum of globalizing international geopolitical economy. The major shifts in geopolitical tectonic plates (e.g. simultaneous rise of Euro-Asian Rimland) and the imperatives of multi-faceted maritime security have resulted in high stakes of state as well as non-state actors and agencies in securing the uninterrupted flows of ship-borne international trade passing through the Sea Lanes of Communication (SLOCs) in the Indian Ocean and the larger Indo-Pacific maritime domain. (Read More)


All courses are for four credits each. The Dissertation to be done in the fourth semester is for eight credits.

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