Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2020-2021 (archived)

Module SGIA49130: Global Governance

Department: Government and International Affairs

SGIA49130: Global Governance

Type Open Level 4 Credits 30 Availability Available in 2020/21 Module Cap None.


  • None.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • The main goal of this module is to provide students with a better understanding of the breadth and substance of international organizations and transnational governance arrangements that exist in the international system, and help students develop the tools necessary to analyse the multitude of roles these institutions and processes play in international policy-making. The module will help students to develop an advanced understanding of the complex historical path that has brought into existence the current system of international and transnational organizations and institutions and the impact such organization and institutions have on the global political landscape.


  • The module will address issues such as the historical genesis of international organisations and transnational governance institutions, the different theoretical explanations of their current evolution, and the different theories of their impact on global politics. The module may also explore the detailed working of specific institutions and organisations (such as the Security Council, the World Bank, the IMF, the WTO and transnational governance institutions, the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization, and the International Standard Organization), or analyse specific institutional or organizational dynamics (such as voting structures, patterns of political influence, and economic drivers), which lie behind the existing shape that these institutions have acquired.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • On completion of this module, students will acquire knowledge and understanding of:
  • • an advanced knowledge of the contested theories of the genesis, development and impact of international organizations and global governance institutions;
  • • an advanced knowledge of the main theories used to explain the political and economic drivers of globalisation.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • By the end of the module students should be able to:
  • • develop the ability to analyse complex topics in Political Science and International Relations broadly construed and to do so on the basis of directed and independent learning;
  • • develop the technical, and qualitative research skills necessary to pursue research in Political Science and International Relations;
  • • carry out research in Political Science and International Relations through independent work;
  • • weigh critically qualitative and quantitative evidence in social and political analysis.
Key Skills:
  • Students will also develop some important key skills, suitable for underpinning study at this and subsequent levels, such as:
  • • Independent learning within a defined framework of study at an advanced level;
  • • Independent thought in analysing and critiquing existing scholarship on the subject area and in evaluating its contribution;
  • • Advanced ability to seek out and use relevant data sources, including electronic and bibliographic sources, as well as primary sources, and policy reports;
  • • Ability for independent thinking informed by the academic debate at an advanced level.
  • • Advanced essay-writing skills and the ability to work to a deadline;
  • • Effective written communication of research and policy applications;
  • • Ability to reflect critically on their own work and performance.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Students will be taught and learn through self-guided learning, lectures, class discussion, and seminars.
  • Students are taught through one-hour lectures, followed by one-hour seminars. Each lecture will introduce the students to the key theoretical approaches or data relevant to the theme of the lecture. The lectures will be tailored to accommodate the differential knowledge and disciplinary skills of different cohorts and to make sure that students approach subsequent seminars with an appropriate level of knowledge and understanding.
  • The lectures will be followed by one-hour seminars during which students are required to present the weekly material to their peers. During seminars students are also encouraged to explore the lecture content in greater detail and to identify areas in which they require particular guidance, for example on further reading. The seminars will enable students to develop their abilities to conduct research, to communicate, to present theoretical alternatives and data, and to develop their own argumentation skills. Class discussion encourages background reading, contributing to the students’ independent learning. It will further allow students the opportunity to exchange ideas, to explore issues and arguments that interest or concern them in greater depth, and to receive feedback from both the group and the lecturer on their own arguments and understanding.
  • Students will be assessed through a final 3000 word essay. The essay formally tests skills of synthesis, analysis and critical evaluation with reference to material drawn from the module. It tests students’ ability to formulate complex arguments in articulate and structured English, within the discursive conventions and genres of academic writing.
  • The formative work will consist of a 1500 word essay submitted at the beginning of Epiphany term. The formative essay will help students to prepare for the summative essay and hone their understanding of the key elements in the material. Students will receive written feedback on formative work to enable them to assess their understanding of the material.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 14 Weekly 1 hour 14
Seminars 14 Weekly 1 hour 14
Preparation and Reading 272
Total 300

Summative Assessment

Component: Essay Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 3000 100%

Formative Assessment:

1500 word essay

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University