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: 07 July – 20 July 2019 (session full)
Summer Session 2: 21 July – 03 August 2019 (session full)
Summer Session 3: 04 August – 17 August 2019 (session full)
Summer Session 4: 18 August – 31 August 2019
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. The workload of Cambridge Summer Institute is designed to be equivalent to:

– 6 ECTS (3 US credits) per two-week session
– 12 ECTS (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

Full Board AccommodationSingle dormitory room with shared bathroom. Single ensuite room is available for additional 250 GBP each session. 

The accommodation fee includes breakfast, lunch and dinner Monday to Friday. On weekends only breakfast will be served.

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 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 Cambridge Summer Institute, please click here.

Draft schedule for Cambridge Summer Institute at Magdalene College (University of Cambridge) (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. The European Union and Brexit: Still a Global Power?: 
This course aims to provide participants with the historical, theoretical and practical understanding of the European Union as an international political power. The course discusses the degree to which Brexit will limit the EU’s ability to project power globally. The course starts by explaining the historical development of the European Union Common Foreign and Security Policy and European Security and Defence Policy and by presenting the current institutional set-up involved in formulating EU Foreign Policy. We also discuss the Foreign Policy instruments the European Union has at its disposal: economic, diplomatic and military. We continue with the analysis of the impact the European Union has made globally when it comes to international trade, human rights and climate protection, conflict prevention, democracy and good governance promotion. The course will discuss to which degree there is a gap between the European Union global ambitions and its achievements, as well as the implications of Brexit for its ability to remain a global power. The course evaluation will consist of a group presentation.
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 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.

4. International Security and the War on Terror

This course introduces students to foundational concepts in the field of international security and illustrates their relevance through the case study of the global “War on Terror.” Teaching will be primarily through lectures, thought student participation is encouraged and there will be group discussions.

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. The Political Economy of Foreign Aid

Foreign aid—the practice whereby rich countries provide financial assistance to poorer countries—is highly controversial. For its advocates, aid is indispensible for providing poor countries with much-needed capital and technical assistance to build proper institutions. For its critics, foreign aid is a waste of taxpayer money—if not harmful for recipient countries—because it helps prop up corrupt dictators and lessens recipient-country efforts for sustainable development. This course provides a concise introduction into the political economy of foreign aid. It covers three principal sets of questions.

7. International Relations Theories and Rising Powers

This course introduces students to main International Relations theories and teaches the students how to use the theories through the current debate on rising powers. Teaching will be primarily through lectures, thought student participation is encouraged and there will be group discussions.

8. 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 the 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 2038 800 930. They will gladly guide you through your various options and assist with your booking.