Concept and Rationale


International Studies introduces students to the formation of international system and relations between modern states since the Westphalia Agreement in 1648 through historical and theoretical frameworks. At the same time, this program examines the international system in the contemporary context that is increasingly complex with the emerging of actors and new challenges. As such, this program gives focuses on issues related to international laws, global economy, modern diplomacy, negotiation and conflict resolution, foreign policy, security and defence, and other contemporary issues. As a whole, this program, prepares students with theoretical and practical knowledge that need to be mastered by international relations' practitioners like diplomats and international trade delegates.


It is hoped that by the end of their studies, the students from this specialization programme are able to meet these learning outcomes:


  • Evaluate issues from different perspectives such as historical, theoretical, law, economic, environmental, political and security aspects,
  • Instill good and effective reading, writing, research and communication skills,
  • Apply their knowledge in the context of daily routines and interpret related global and current issues,
  • Develop good personal characteristics and able to contribute to the development of positive and ethical human capital,
  • Apply good communication skills, both verbal and written, and possess good leadership quality, efficient and able to work in a team,
  • Think in a critical, analytical and creative manner based on sound academic knowledge,
  • Apply knowledge obtained from this course in related context in everyday lives, and
  • Demonstrate the skills in planning, managing and evaluating a project, as well as exploring entrepreneurial opportunities.


Course Offered


Courses offered during the three years program are as below:


Year 1

SSF 1023 Contemporary Psychology

The course introduces students to the application of psychological concepts in contemporary society. Main areas of psychology taught in this course are general psychology, developmental, social and abnormal psychology. This also includes key topics such as learning, memory, social communication and motivation which will also be discussed in-depth in order to bring about understanding their relevancy to everyday life and work. Different core psychological domains such as cognition, social, perception and emotion that are fundamental to understanding of human behaviour will be examined.

SSF 1044 Introduction to Anthropology and Sociology

Anthropology and sociology are two distinctive disciplines BUT at the same time fundamentally share one common characteristic, that is, the study of human phenomena. More often than not sociology is perceived as the study of human social life in urban societies whereas anthropology is the study of human cultures and rural communities. While sociology is usually perceived to study social behaviors such as juvenile delinquency, family structure and criminal behaviors, anthropology tends to study cultural functions such as the rites of passage, kinship and ritual chastisement.

In this course, the student is expected to understand that anthropology and sociology do not merely give them the academic insight to society but also plays a fundamental role in their lives as they attempt to understand the wider facets of social relationships and experiences. More importantly, introducing anthropology and sociology will hopefully enable the student to critically question what they already know and claim to understand as being part of their society.

SSF 1063 Communication  and Society

This course will discuss the changes in patterns of communication within a society by focusing on the historical transition from traditional communication system, its transformation processes, to its contemporary modern forms. The characteristics of communication that will be focused in this course are human and mass communication. Among the topics that will be discussed will be culture and society, media literacy, general opinion, persuasion, new communication technology and its effects on society, and towards information society.

SSF 1083 Gender, Ethnicity and Class

Societies are not just simply an amorphous mass of people. A society is characterised by differentiation of people into various categories according to social divisions such as gender, ethnicity and class. These divisions form the basis for the distribution of power, status and opportunities. Who we are depends on how and where we fit into society. An understanding of how the intersection of these forces work in the life of an individual is imperative for all students of social sciences.

SSF 1093 Statistics for Social Sciences

This course is an introduction to statistical concepts in various fields of the social sciences.  The course consists of: (1) Descriptive statistics which cover univariate and multivariate data, probabilities, the normal distribution and variability sampling; (2) Inferential statistics which deal with hypothesis testing, analysis of variance (ANOVA), linear correlation and regression analysis.

SSF 1013 Introduction to Social Science

This course contextualises the historical development of the social sciences within world civilization. It introduces students to important social science terminology in preparation for the understanding of other courses in the faculty. It also gives students an opportunity to conceptualise and explain social reality through social science perspectives.

SSF 1033 Introduction to Malaysian Social History

This is not a conventional history course which deals with events in a chronological order.  Instead, it discusses history thematically and exposes the student to the processes of social and historical transformation.

 SSF 1053 Introduction to Politicial Science

This course highlights in detail the range of academic topics in political science to include theoretical approaches, basic concepts and definition of politics in the context of formal government institutions, power relations, value distribution systems and public policies. In addition, concepts about power, states, sovereignty and political culture will be covered. This course also discusses basic political concepts which later pave the way for constructing debates and discussions of current political affairs. There are four components in this introductory course namely; the field of political science, political institutions, political processes and politics and society. With emphasis on these four areas, it is hoped that students will be able to critically analyse and understand the subject of political science.

SSF 1074 Modern Economics

This course is divided into three major sections, namely, Section I: Understanding basic economic concepts, principles and theories; Section II: Understanding national and global Economy, and Section III: Analysing social issues from the economic perspective. Section I exposes students to topics related to the definition of economics, some basic economic concepts, principles and theories and their relationship to us.  Theories of demand and supply, the application of elasticity concept, as well as different market structures will be discussed in Section I. Section II helps students to relate national economy to their daily lives. Topics covered in this section include measuring a nation?s income, measuring the cost of living, money and banking system, unemployment, foreign exchange, international trade and its importance among nations. Some basic concepts of open-economy macroeconomics as well as economic growth and public policy will also be discussed in Section II. The final section provides students with the opportunity to apply their understanding and knowledge concerning basic economic principles on contemporary social issues that are related to their respective field of study.


Year 2

SSF 2014 Research Methods in Social Sciences

SSA 2014 Introduction to International Relations

The core of the course will be focused on the direction and development of history which have significant contribution in the formation of contemporary international relations. The course discusses how the world shifts from emphasizing on the ?hard power? of military force to the ?soft power? of economic influence. Finally, the course will also look at the evolution of the world system, the various forms of new world order as well as analysing the trends of international relations in the 21st century.

SSA 2024 Foreign  Policy  Analysis and International Relations

Dasar luar negara merupakan instrumen penting dalam hubungan antarabangsa. Dasar luar negara amat dipengaruhi oleh kedudukan sesebuah negara dalam sistem antarabangsa serta seterusnya mempengaruhi hubungannya dengan negara lain. Kursus ini dibahagi kepada dua bahagian: bahagian pertama  melihat proses pembentukan dan pelaksanaan dasar luar. Bahagian kedua pula menganalisis dasar luar dalam konteks hubungan antarabangsa yang meliputi teori dasar luar, metod and model dalam paradigma hubungan antarabangsa; instrumen-instrumen yang digunakan dalam proses pembentukan dasar luar; dan  juga isu-isu kontemporari seperti moral, etika dan undang-undang antarabangsa dalam dasar luar.

SSA 2033 International Relations: Theory and Practice

Kursus ini merupakan kursus pengenalan bagi hubungan antarabangsa. Kursus ini akan merangkumi konsep-konsep dan teori-teori yang relevan dalam isu-isu hubungan antarabangsa kontemporari/semasa. Kursus ini bertujuan untuk menganalisa subjek hubungan antarabangsa melalui pendekatan asas secara akademik.

Bahagian pertama kursus ini akan memfokuskan perkembangan falsafah hubungan antarabangsa.  Oleh yang demikian kursus ini akan memfokuskan kepada pengajian ke atas teori-teori yang telah menyumbang kepada perdebatan dan perbincangan dan pengaruhnya ke atas keputusan yang diambil oleh aktor-aktor yang terlibat. Teori-teori seperti Realisme, Neo-Realisme, Liberalism, dan Neo-Liberalism yang mendominasi dalam bidang hubungan antarabangsa akan diperkenalkan dalam bahagian pertama kursus ini. Bahagian seterusnya akan membincangkan pendekatan-pendekatan dalam pengurusan konflik berdasarkan teori-teori ini. Bahagian ini juga akan mendedahkan pelajar-pelajar tentang teori-teori ini dan juga pendekatan lain secara praktikal seperti resolusi konflik yang pernah diaplikasikan bagi menangani konflik dan juga sebagai cara memahami bagaimana alat-alat ini berfungsi dalam hubungan antarabangsa.

SSF 2063 Approaches to Social Inquiry

This course examines the philosophical foundation for the creation of knowledge in the social sciences. Students will be exposed to the major school of thoughts concerning social sciences as a science. The course explores the intersection between knowledge, society and culture, and interrogates knowledge production from a social science perspective. Topics that will be included in this course are the theoretical debates in sociology of knowledge, the relationship between empirical knowledge and cultural values or ideologies.

SSF 2034 Social Theory

SSA 2044 Introduction to International Economics

International economics is a field of study which assesses the implications of international trade in goods and services and international finance. There are two broad sub-areas under within the study of international economics. Therefore, in the first half of the course, sources of comparative advantage, gains and losses from trade, the impact of trade on economic growth and effects of trade policy interventions such as tariff, quota, export subsidies and voluntary export restraints will be highlighted. International agreements on regional economic cooperation particularly on custom union will also be discussed. In the second half of the course, topics on international finance will include balance of payments, macroeconomic policy in the open economy under different exchange rate regimes and the issue of growth, crisis and reform in developing countries.

SSA 2054 International Politics of Asia Pacific

Keselamatan serantau di Asia Pasifik telah mengalami satu perubahan selepas tamatnya Perang Dingin. Selaras dengan perubahan ini, kursus ini menganalisa isu keselamatan serantau yang banyak mempengaruhi rantau Asia Pasifik. Antara beberapa isu keselamatan yang dikaji adalah definisi dan konsep keselamatan (security) serta konsep-konsep keselamatan yang relevan, kemunculan dan pengaruh kuasa-kuasa besar seperti Amerika Syarikat, China dan India, isu tuntutan wilayah, pakatan tentera, institusi berbagai hala (multilateralism), terrorism, institusi keselamatan seperti ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) dan mekanisma lain yang digunakan dalam mengendalikan isu-isu keselamatan ini.


Year 3

SSF 3036 Final Year Project

Kursus Disertasi merupakan sebahagian daripada syarat untuk penganugerahan Ijazah Sarjana Muda Sains Sosial.

SSA 3014 Introduction to International Law

This course endeavors to introduce the system of international law to students whose interests lie in the arena of international relations. International law is pertinent to the study of governance – domestic as well as external. We will be learning the formation, development, application and effectiveness of international law.

This course introduces international law and focuses on the various sources by which international law was formed. It also discusses the scope of international law (territory and jurisdiction) followed by the responsibility of states to their own citizens and to aliens or visitors. The Law of the Sea and problems in the implementation of international law will be covered quite comprehensively. Finally, the course will tackle some contemporary issues in international law such as laws of war, international humanitarian law and international environmental law.

SSA 3024 ASEAN Politics

Pendekatan kepada kursus ini adalah mengikut beberapa bahagian. Bahagian pertama akan menumpukan kepada latar belakang penubuhan, sejarah, rasional, struktur serta keahlian dan faktor penubuhan ASEAN. Bahagian kedua pula akan membincangkan perkembangan ahli-ahli ASEAN serta polisi ASEAN dalam menangani isu-isu serantau juga isu-isu global. Tahap seterusnya akan menilai kewibaan serta kematangan ASEAN sebagai sebuah organisasi serantau  berdepan dengan isu-isu kepentingan nasional versus kepentingan organisasi. Kursus ini akan melihat peranan ASEAN  dalam konteks global serta sumbangannya di arena anatarabanga. Akhir sekali, kursus ini juga akan menyentuh sedikit sebanyak mengenai peranan yang dimainkan oleh China sebagai sebuah kuasa ekonomi serta politik yang terbesar di Asia dan membincangkan bagaimana ASEAN deals dengan China.

SSA 3033 Security and National Defence

This course focuses on the concepts of security and its relevance to the national interest. The course identifies emerging issues which threaten national security such as the ?war on drug?, economic competition, national budget and arms race. Apart from that, the course will also study the structure, the changes, the control and the importance of nuclear arm balance.

SSA 3044 Contemporary Issues in International Relations

Kadar perubahan di dalam hubungan antarabangsa semakin meningkat, malah lebih pesat dari perubahan evolusi organisasi PBB yang kita pandukan untuk mengurus perubahan di dalam masyarakat antarabangsa. Globalisasi adalah salah satu pembaharuan doktrin sosial/politik/ekonomi yang telah timbul dalam abad ke 20 dan semakin pesat/penting pada abad ke 21.  Sebagai sebuah proses perubahan, globalisasi telah menyebabkan kadar kebergantungan di antara negara-negara di dunia dalam hampir semua perkara menjadi semakin menyeluruh sementara dunia ini semakin 'mengecil' dan berbentuk 'desa sejagat'. Di dalam kuliah perbincangan dengan pelajar dibuat secara mendalam mengenai isu-isu semasa hubungan antarabangsa, termasuklah sejarah dan teori yang berkenaan. Mereka kemudian dikehendaki untuk mengkaji isu-isu antarabangsa, menganalisa sejarah dan bagaimana tindakan dan penyelesaian oleh masyarakat antarabangsa untuk mengatasi dan menguruskan isu atau keadaan tersebut.

SSF 3014 Sociology of Development

It is imperative for social science students living in the developing world to have an understanding of the theories which govern development practices. Development is a controversial term and far from that which has a taken for granted meaning.  This course takes students not only through the various theories on development but also introduces feminist critiques to these development theories.  An understanding of these critiques is imperative as development is a gendered process.

SSF 3036 Final Year Project

Kursus Disertasi merupakan sebahagian daripada syarat untuk penganugerahan Ijazah Sarjana Muda Sains Sosial.

SSA 3054 Negotiation and Conflict Resolution in International Relations

Kursus ini secara keseluruhannya menganalisa perkembangan diplomasi sebagai satu mekanisma perundingan dan resolusi konflik di abad ke 21. Kursus ini dibahagikan kepada tiga bahagian: bahagian pertama akan menganalisa bagaimana definisi serta interpretasi konsep diplomasi berubah. Selain daripada itu, alat-alat diplomasi (diplomatic tools) serta kegunaan alat-alat ini dalam perlaksanaan satu-satu konflik turut dikaji. Bahagian kedua kursus ini akan memfokuskan kepada perundingan sebagai satu alat bagi menyelesaikan masalah konflik yang wujud dalam masyarakat yang berbeza budaya. Selain itu, peranan dan limitasi PBB sebagai aktor perundingan akan turut dibincangkan. Justeru itu, beberapa kajian kes akan diketengahkan untuk menganalisa keberkesanan penggunaan alat-alat diplomasi. Bahagian ketiga akan meliputi perbincangan tentang kajian keamanan dan resolusi konflik dimana pendekata-pendekatan seperti pengurusan konflik, penyelesaian konflik dan pencegahan konflik akan dibincangkan dengan menggunakan kes-kes kajian.

SSP 3034 Politics of Developing Countries

Kursus ini pada awalnya akan memperkenalkan pelajar kepada ciri-ciri negara membangun, konsep serta teori dasar yang penting dalam perbincangan tentang negara membangun. Kajian tentang kesan-kesan kolonialisme, nasionalisme dan modenisasi ke atas perkembangan pemikiran politik serta institusi politik di negara membangun akan turut disentuh. Selain itu, kursus ini juga membincangkan peranan wanita dan elit politik, kerajaan tentera, serta proses ke arah pendemokrasian politik di negara membangun. Akhir sekali, kursus ini melihat sepintas lalu cabaran-cabaran serta isu-isu penting dalam hubungan antara negara membangun dengan negara maju.

SSP 3034 Political Ecology

Kursus ini akan membincangkan kerangka teori dan analisis kajian kes di pelbagai kawasan termasuklah di Malaysia. Kursus ini akan dibahagikan kepada lima bahagian. Bahagian pertama akan menyentuh tentang konsep ekologi politik. Bahagian kedua akan mengenalpasti sumber-sumber dan aktor-aktor yang menyebabkan perubahan alam sekitar dan kesan-kesannya. Bahagian ketiga akan membincangkan latarbelakang polisi alam sekitar negara-negara membangun dan membandingkan polisi-polisi tersebut serta keberkesanannya.  Bahagian keempat pula akan mendedahkan pelajar kepada pendekatan pengurusan ekosistem dan aplikasinya dalam menghadapi isu-isu alam sekitar. Bahagian terakhir kursus akan menyediakan pelbagai kajian kes yang akan menyentuh tentang konflik akses penggunaan sumber alam sekitar.

Department of Politics and International Relations

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