International Relations & Politics

This course serves as an introduction to the theoretical background of international relations and politics. Delegates will examine a range of historical topics about international relations in trade, finance, and political institutions which helps explore the behaviour of states of international organisations.

About This Programme

LengthYou can attend for 2, 4, 6, or even 8 weeks. Each week, you can select a different course (see below).
Available DatesSummer Session 1: 01 July – 14 July 2018
Summer Session 2: 15 July – 28 July 2018
Summer Session 3: 29 July – 11 August 2018
Summer Session 4: 12 August – 25 August 2018
Lectures, Exams & CreditsDelegates will participate in one course per week.

An assignment will be given during each course (one examination per week). Course examination results will be listed in your official academic transcript. Workload of Cambridge Summer Institute is designed to be equivalent to:

– 4-6 ECTS (2-3 US credits) per two-week session
– 8-12 ECTS (4-6 US credits) per four-week session

Magdalene College (University of Cambridge, UK) will award for each delegate who successfully graduates from the programme with a Certificate of Attendance and Achievement and an Academic Transcript.

The Academic Transcript will also be presented and will contain the following information:

– Courses attended and chosen lecture track
– Results of the weekly examinations
– Workload of each course

AccommodationSingle dormitory room with shared bathroom in a college of the University of Cambridge (UK), includes daily breakfast – 980GBP.

If you would like lunch and dinner provided for you, there is an additional charge of 300 GBP.

PrerequisitesThis is an open enrolment course, we recommend applicants to have prior knowledge or strong interest in the subject/course they are enrolling in.
In addition to lectures given, this course also includes various extra-curricular activities such as social events & spare-time activities, visits to businesses and institutions in London, and excursions to famous places and historical landmarks.

Learn more about Programme Information.


Course Details

  • Course Timetable
  • Overview
  • Course Descriptions
  • Course Faculty
* Academic Programme Particulars: Each session is comprised of two weeks of tuition.
* Delegates are welcome to participate in multiple sessions. Each week, students will participate in a course of their choice in their preferred track.
* Each track offers courses in one academic discipline.
* It is possible for delegates to choose a course that is not in their track.
* As the beginning of the programme nears, enrolled delegates will be asked to select their courses.
* Delegates will be assigned to courses, subject to availability. While we are able to allocate most students to their preferred courses, on some occasions students will be allocated their second choice.
* Delegates are welcome to extend their stay by participanting in multiple sessions either in Oxford or our sister-programme Summer Institute at Oriel College, Oxford.

For a typical week at CSI, please click here.

Draft schedule for CBL International Cambridge Summer Institute (click to enlarge)

*Disclaimer* Changes to the course description, topics, programme structure, and schedules may occur due to the availability of faculty members at the actual time of the programme.

international-relationsThis course serves as an introduction to the theoretical background of international relations and politics. Delegates will examine a range of historical topics about international relations in trade, finance, and political institutions which it is possible to explore the behavior of states of international organizations.

Through this, we can provide our delegates an in-depth understanding of international relation and politics related disciplines in the complex field between nations.

1. International Relations – European Union as a Global Power and Political Systems in the Far East

a. European Union as a Global Power:
The decision by the Nobel Committee to award the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize to the European Union has been seen by many as the best choice. Despite the current crisis gripping the EU, the Nobel Committee chose ‘to focus on what it sees as the European Union’s most important result: the successful struggle for peace and reconciliation for democracy and human rights’. Nevertheless the decision faces us with a series of questions: Is the European Union actually greater than the sum of its parts? Have the achievements helped to turn the European Union into a unique global player? Can it project its soft and hard powers beyond European borders? Can we consider the European Union as a global power in other areas, such as foreign affairs, diplomacy, and security? This course will provide participants with the historical, theoretical, and practical understanding of the European Union as a global political power.
b. Political Systems in the Far East:
The three leading states of East Asia, China, Japan, and the Republic of Korea, are all in their own current self-understanding ancient states. Their territories have been expanded and consolidated over thousands of years to create nations formed as communities through a deep and purposeful process of political construction. The category of democracy is one which has reached them relatively recently and unmistakably from the outside. Two of the three now have political and legal orders modelled on the European or American paradigm of representative democracy, with constitutions and clearly competitive elections between rival political parties to select their national governments. One, the People’s Republic of China, is governed very differently. This course considers the historical process of interpreting the western category of democracy as a source of political authority and a basis for effective government in all three countries. It explains why the political forms in which they are now embodied have limited credibility in all three countries, and why those forms now make such an unimpressive contribution to handling the political challenges which each now conspicuously faces.

2. International Organisations

The course will use a combination of theoretical and cutting-edge empirical research to critically examine the role of international institutions in promoting cooperation in several different areas of global politics. The introductory sessions entitled ‘Institutions and Cooperation: Competing Theoretical Frameworks’ will introduce students to basic conceptual and theoretical questions in the study of international organisation and then delegates will move on to a thematic study of the functioning and impact of international organisations in different issue areas. Starting with ‘The International Organisation of Security’, the course will look at the theme of ‘Protecting the Global Environment’ before looking at the question of the “International Organisation of Human Rights”.

3. International Politics – European Union & China as part of International Organisations

The course looks at two key players in International Politics and international organisations, the EU and China. The EU directly, or through its Member States, is present in several international organisations such as the United Nations, the World Trade Organisation or the international climate change regime. The course explores the variation between the EU effectiveness when participating directly or when participating though Member States in the work of various organisations. The course also explores the variation in the EU work and effectiveness in specific areas (security, human rights, international trade, climate and energy) in tackling international challenges. The course includes a session on the impact that Brexit will have on the influence of the EU at the United Nations. For instance, the EU will lose the seat held by the UK in the UN Security Council. An additional session focuses on the EU-China relations and the potential synergies and clashes between the types of international organisations and international governance models that each promotes. Each course session includes a lecture followed by activities such as presentations of case studies, discussions and debates using video, audio or printed materials provided by the teacher during the session. This format is aimed to encourage students to ask questions and actively participate in the learning process.

4. International Relations and International Security

This course will provide an introduction to international relations and international disputes. Students will explore the historical roots of modern day disputes in international relations, as well as systemic obstacles to dispute settlement. While the first part of the course will focus on a theoretical and historical overview, the second part of the course will focus on an on-going dispute, namely the civil war in Syria, in order to illustrate the insights from the earlier lectures on an on-going case study.

5. World Trade Organization (WTO)

This course discusses the history, objectives, and institutional aspects (trade negotiations, decision-making, and dispute settlement) of GATT and the WTO. It also includes case studies and casework. There is a particular focus on the legality of measures adopted for the protection of the environment and human rights. The lecture also focuses on the more jurisprudential aspects of the WTO dispute settlement system. It also considers trade in services, which is of increasing importance to WTO Members and which is disciplined in a manner similar to trade in goods. It turns then to the regulation of free trade agreements and customs unions and also touches on the development dimension of the WTO, a topic of increasing importance given the Doha Development Agenda currently being negotiated by WTO Members.

6. Business and Legal Communication

During this course, the delegates will learn about the economic risks that underlie in each deal, and the legal means that are used towards their mitigation. Through the analysis of actual deals, delegates will be able to improve their understanding of transactional risks, enhance their commercial awareness, and learn the fundamentals of business and law. Moreover, they will learn and develop their negotiation skills in an interactive and practice-oriented manner.


For details please see our Faculty page:


Apply For This Programme

Applying for Cambridge Summer Institute is easy, simply fill out an application form.

If you have additional questions, contact our Academic Advisors at or call them at +44 (0) 1865 616 726. They will gladly guide you through your various options and assist with your booking.

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