Learning means the acquisition of knowledge and skills, which should be as permanent and practical as possible. Within the framework of active and dialogical participation in class, but also through autonomously organized and, as far as possible, interest-driven self-study in the context of preparation and follow-up phases, a basis is to be created which enables both experience-based and application-oriented knowledge and competence acquisition. The team of the Chair of International Relations has a great interest in making the learning phases in class as constructive and profitable as possible for everyone. Accordingly, we strive to make the courses as varied as possible along different teaching forms. This includes the use of various impulse and presentation formats. You will find courses that include excursions, simulations or even panel discussions, role plays and flipped classroom forms. In addition, practice-oriented knowledge and skills acquisition is also guided by the completion of exercises in small groups (e.g. writing press releases, designing posters, etc.) or by the assignment of various seminar impulses to be mastered individually (e.g. text expertise, moderation tasks). The use of different didactic methods is intended to keep the individual sessions of a course varied and exciting, and at the same time to facilitate an intensive and interactive engagement with the seminar reading and the course topics. The courses focus on concrete phenomena, actors and forms of action in international relations. Access is provided through structures as well as actors and theories. In this context, it is also important for us to open up the state of research, reference studies and the independent use of knowledge resources. Individual units are therefore designed in a workshop character and combine political science teaching and research.

The current teaching portfolio is available via PORTA and Stud.IP

All information regarding the new master programm International Relations & Diplomacy can be found at the bottom of this site. Please also vistit the programm's new  website.
 

Information on term papers, final theses and oral examinations

Bachelor programm (B.A. and B.Ed.)

Final thesis

If you intend to write your final thesis in the subfield of International Relations, please note the following:

The topic proposed for your thesis must be based on the key areas of interest of the department. In addition, you should have attended at least one class held by the respective supervisor beforehand. If you do not come to an agreement in the end, you will have to contact another person. Contact the lecturer you want to supervise your thesis as early as possible and present a topic proposal at this time.

Until the final confirmation of the supervision, the further work steps (preparation of the exposé, regular consultations in the office hours, etc.) will be determined and carried out in close cooperation. You are independently responsible for the fulfillment of the requirements. However, please understand that the process leading up to the registration of the thesis may take some time. Strict adherence to these intermediate steps should help you to be able to take up the processing time without major problems once you have registered your thesis.

For students writing their thesis in the subfield, attendance at the International Relations Research Colloquium and presentation of the thesis there is mandatory. Please consult your supervisor in due time.

Oral examination

The oral Bachelor examination consists of two parts:
A compulsory part from a subject area of your choice, in which you will be examined on a fixed reader. The second part is an elective part from the subject area in which you are writing your Bachelor thesis and in which you will be examined on the corresponding subject area.
If you wrote your Bachelor thesis in International Relations, the elective part of the oral examination is based on a thesis paper that you develop in cooperation with your supervisor. The thesis paper will be on a specified topic area in International Relations; again, please consult with your advisor. However, you may not be examined on the exact topic on which you are writing your thesis. Find a lternative topic in the field of International Relations and discuss the suitability of the topic with your supervisor.

At the latest (!) two weeks before your oral examination, submit a thesis paper to your supervisor. This thesis paper will include:

o 12 sources, which you will send to your examiner as pdf-versions. Suitable sources include excerpts from scholarly textbooks, essays from edited volumes, essays from scholarly journals, or relevant primary sources.

o Three theses that you have generated from these sources and that form the core of the exam. The theses serve as an introduction to and structure for the discussion - there is no claim to complete work on all theses.

o Overall, the amount of literature to be reviewed and examined should be approximately the same as the size of the reader for the oral exam, i.e. 150-200 pages.

Term papers

For writing a term paper in International Relations, we suggest that you prepare a synopsis. In addition to the topic of the paper and the research question, this should also include a (preliminary) outline, as well as a preliminary bibliography with at least 10 titles. In addition, please use the following cover sheet only for your term papers in the subfield of International Relations.

The template of the exposé can be found ► here.
A guideline for finding a topic for term papers can be found ► here.
A checklist for guidance in writing term papers can be found ► here.
The guidelines of the Department of Political Science at the University of Trier for scientific work can be found ► here.

Master programm (M.A. and M.Ed.)

Final thesis

If you would like to write your Master's thesis at the Chair of International Relations and Foreign Policy, we also ask you to consider the following:

The topic proposal of your thesis must be oriented towards the key areas of interest of the chair. In addition, you should have attended at least one course held by the respective supervisor beforehand. If you do not come to an agreement with them in the end, you will have to contact another person. Contact the person you want to supervise your thesis as early as possible and present a topic proposal at this time.

Until the final confirmation of the supervision, the further work steps (preparation of the exposé, regular consultations in the office hours, etc.) will be determined and carried out in close cooperation. You are independently responsible for the fulfillment of the requirements. However, please understand that the process leading up to the registration of the thesis may take some time. Strict adherence to these intermediate steps should help you to be able to take up the processing time without major problems once you have registered your thesis.

For students writing their thesis in International Relations, attendance at the International Relations Research Colloquium and presentation of the thesis there is mandatory. Please consult your supervisor in due time.
 

For the synopsis of your thesis we suggest the following checklist:

1. Justification of context and relevance of the topic; interest in the findings.

Name and delimit: Your epistemological interest and personal involvement in the topic. Explain where your epistemological interest stems from and how this brought you to the research question at hand. Furthermore, it is of interest what contribution you want to or can make with your project.

2. Definition and prioritization of technical terms and variables

Prioritization is particularly important here: Identify the main term(s) of your investigation. This prioritization is of great importance for the further investigation and the formulation of your variables.

3. Identify dependent and independent variable.

The independent variable explains the dependent variable. So ask yourself - based on your key terms - what you want to explain and how you could explain it.

4. Formulation of the research question

Test your research design: Do the key terms you formulated earlier reappear in your research question? If not, you already have an asymmetry in your research design here that will prove to be an obstacle as the research progresses. Be careful not to overload your research question! Formulate a main question and, based on this, sub-questions.

5. Operationalization of technical terms and variables

After you have formulated your research question and, if necessary, sub-questions, now consider the key terms contained therein and think about how you can operationalize them. How can you make these terms investigable? Are there any problems in doing so? Work transparently and illustrate any problems that arise.

6. Discussion of the choice of theory, method and case study

The theory and method used have a serving function - the theory should help you conduct the investigation (as a compass, key, goggle, etc.) and should not be an end in itself. Therefore, ask yourself whether you chose the theory because it is best suited to your purposes, or whether you chose the theory because you feel particularly attached to it. If the latter is the case, reconsider your choice and try to broaden your perspective. There may be other theories that are better suited to your inquiry. For this purpose, it can be very helpful to research whether similar studies (keyword: reference studies) like yours have already been conducted and which theories were used in such studies. The goal is usually the relatively clear designation of an analysis grid with which you approach the material.

7. Information on the material situation and investigation period

Make transparent what material you are using for the investigation. Also clearly state if you could not obtain certain sources or if there were no primary sources for certain facts. In this way, you safeguard yourself. Clearly naming the time period of the study also serves to clearly outline your research design and make it transparent. Further, justify why you chose a specific period of investigation (good source material, period of particular interest for your specific investigation, etc.).

8. Statement on the state of research

Research whether you can find so-called "literature reviews" on your topic area, in which you can get a good overview of the current state of research. Do you recognize any gaps in this overview? Where can you locate your research? If there is no directly relevant literature (yet) on your exact question or specific case study, identify adjacent, related, overlapping, or supporting returns to research that you might be able to adapt, vary, or transfer. This classification, which occurs in the theoretical section of your paper, will also help you clearly frame your inquiry and make a comprehensible contribution to the research.

9. Draft outline with estimates of the amount of time needed to complete the work

An outline can always be rearranged in the working process. But try to keep in mind while drafting the outline whether the flow you have planned will help you to conduct your research accordingly. Be honest with yourself when estimating turnaround time - you will not be able to spend 10 hours a day, five days a week, highly focused on research and writing. Allow yourself time buffers for unforeseen events. Also note that the weighting of your work may change in the course of the editing time after consultation with your supervisor.

10. First bibliography

List the basic texts that you have worked with to date and that you will use in the paper. If necessary, organize the bibliography by text type.

11. Critique, naming the limitations of the research

In the planning phase of your paper, you will already identify initial problems - name them clearly and explain how you are trying to work through them. You cannot write a sprawling treatise in the context of an MA thesis that will "solve" a problem, or clarify an issue in an all-encompassing way. Be aware of this and state it clearly. Limitations also help to mark your contribution: Do not load yourself with excessive expectations that cannot be met.

12. Open questions and problems

Openly name foreseeable questions and problems! This is not an admission of failure, but wise foresight in navigating your topic. This is also where you are most likely to find assistance or work with the supervisor to reach a consensus on dealing with or overcoming such issues.

Oral examination

The final oral examination in M.A. programms also requires the preparation of a thesis paper in the subject area of International Relations. As in the Bachelor's programm, the thesis paper will be on a specified topic in International Relations, and again: please consult with your advisor.
Please make also sure that the chosen sources correspond to the requirements of an M.A. program in terms of scope and standards!

The following is equally important to note:

o The thesis paper includes three theses you have developed and 12 sources you have researched on the topic. Again, these sources should meet the requirements of an M.A. degree programm in terms of scope and sophistication.

o Appropriate sources include excerpts from scholarly textbooks, essays from edited volumes, essays from scholarly journals, or relevant primary sources.

o The theses serve as an introduction to and structure for the discussion - there is no claim to complete processing of all theses.

Term papers

For writing a term paper at the Chair of International Relations and Foreign Policy, we suggest that you prepare a synopsis, both in the Master's and in the Bachelor's programm. This should include the topic of the paper and the research question as well as a (preliminary) outline and a preliminary bibliography with at least 10 titles.
Please make sure that the selected sources correspond to the requirements of an M.A. programm in terms of scope and standards!
In addition, please use the following cover sheet only for your term paper in the subfield of International Relations.

The template of the exposé can be found ► here.
A guideline for finding a topic for term papers can be found ► here.
A checklist for guidance in writing term papers can be found ► here.
The guidelines of the Department of Political Science at the University of Trier for scientific work can be found ► here.

"Praxismodul"/ Interships

Please note the following information regarding the implementation and recognition of study-related and career-oriented internships in the Master's programm in International Relations and International Diplomacy.