Global Study
Calton Hill Edinburgh YMCA Global Study

Debating International Relations

Edinburgh, UK

This course will appeal to any student interested in politics, international relations, and international legal and political systems, especially those who are planning a career in these fields. 

Debating International Relations will introduce you to the major principles, concepts, actors, and theories of the international system. Using examples from the world today, you will learn how to apply the topics discussed in the course to current debates, issues, and conflicts to gain an objective and informed view.

The course is divided into two major parts that will allow you to learn and apply your knowledge to current policies regarding international relations.

During the first part of the course, you will analyse theoretical ideologies drawn from several intellectual traditions in the discipline such as classical and contemporary realism, liberalism, marxism and radical approaches to international relations and lastly as well as contemporary debates on power and globalisation. You will hone your analytical skills by applying them to current policy issues such as terrorism and security, human rights, governance and global institutions, the environment, poverty and international development.

The second part of the course will examine the unique role that Scotland and the UK plays within international relations. The course will take a deep dive into Brexit and how the UK’s decision to leave the EU will effect politic and economic systems in Europe and on a global scale. You will learn about how the EU’s politic system has developed, discuss some of the current issues affecting the EU and learn more about the role the EU’s general role in international relations.


Intended Learning Outcomes & Additional Program Information

After successfully completing this short course, participants will have gained the following skills and knowledge

Demonstrate a critical understanding of the main theories in IR.

Demonstrate knowledge of, and the ability to reflect on the key structures and agents that constitute international relations and global politics.

Critically assess debates and contemporary issues in the light of different international relations theories and the structure/agent relationship.

Demonstrate an insight into the debate on and effects of globalisation.

Apply the theoretical knowledge gained in analyses of concrete processes and changes in contemporary international relations.


Coursework: 2500 word essay (100%)

A compulsory essay plan of up to 750 words (template provided) will be required as part of the formative assessment and in preparation for the final essay.


There are not enough reasons for why Scotland should be on your travel list; kilts, castles, whisky and the Loch Ness monster are just a few of these! Steeped in history, Scotland is one of the most interesting places to visit. Besides its rich history, Scotland also happens to be one of the greenest countries. From its tall mountains, rolling hills to its lush forests and islands, Scotland has taken great precaution to preserve its green spaces.

While the Highlands and islands are lightly populated, almost 70 percent of Scotland’s population lives in the Lowlands which includes Scotland’s capital, Edinburgh, and for good reason. Home to the famous Edinburgh castle, the capital has a lot of beautiful architecture and history to offer, however, don’t be fooled by its old town charm! Edinburgh is as modern as it is old-fashioned. It is brimming with new restaurants and eateries, hip bars and night-clubs not to mention fantastic breweries and whisky distilleries popping up everywhere.
If that doesn’t sell you, for all you Harry Potter fans out there – Edinburgh is also the inspiration behind some of the movie’s most famous locations such as Diagon Alley and Hogwarts.
Oh, and did we mention Castle concerts? Because that’s definitely a thing!

University & Faculty

The University of Edinburgh is currently ranked 19th in the world in the QS ranking enabling students to be been a world leader in higher education since the university was founded in 1583. The University has seen a rich history and long list of noted alumni and distinguished scholars including Charles Darwin and Alexander Graham Bell just to name a few. Following the Scottish Enlightenment of the 18th century, the University was positioned at the forefront of academia and critical thinking. Due to the determination and perseverance of a group of Edinburgh intellectuals, established facts about the world were being boldly and consistently challenged.

Profound scientific discoveries such as the element carbon dioxide, breakthroughs include the aesthetic properties of chloroform and the cloning of Dolly the sheep all occurred at the University of Edinburgh.
The university has over 42 different key subject areas and within these, there are over 1500 courses and welcomes over 2000 visiting students every year.


Each standard room has a single bed, internet access and a telephone point. You will have access to a communal kitchen/lounge/dining area and a shared shower room/ WC. Typically, a microwave, fridge freezer, linen and towels will be provided.

Each room also has access to 24-hour security facilities.

Application Process and Information

Applications for YMCA Global Study July 2019 programs will open soon. If you have any questions about our programs check out the frequently asked questions page, or if you would like to ask specific questions about the courses we offer feel free to contact us, we’re more than happy to help.

You can register your interest for future programs by clicking here.

Applications for YMCA Global Study January/February 2019 programs are now open. Places are limited and are usually oversubscribed. Students are encouraged to apply early to secure their spot.

The YMCA Global Study Application Process

Step 1: Apply Now

Click here to complete the online Registration and Application forms. This will give us the information we need to access your eligibility for a program. After you have completed the online application forms you will be prompted to book a time to have a telephone interview with one of our staff.

Step 2: Phone Interview

Phone interviews are usually about 15 minutes and give us a chance to talk to you about your program choice, make sure all the information we have is correct, and talk you through the rest of the application process.

Step 3: Finalising your application

Once you have completed YMCA Global Study will send you an email with instructions detailing how to finalise your application.

Step 4: Receive your acceptance pack

Once your application has been approved YMCA Global Study will send you an ‘Acceptance pack’. This pack will include important documents such as a course syllabus, acceptance letter from your Host University and advice on how to apply for credit with your home university, the pack may also include information on any funding specific to your university.

Step 5: Apply for credit and funding (if applicable)

Now you are ready to apply for credit and funding (woohoo!) – all the information you need will be in your acceptance pack

Step 6: Pay your deposit and confirm your place 

Once you have paid your deposit your place on the program confirmed.


For further information about the application process check out our Frequently Asked Questions, or if you would like to ask specific questions about the courses we offer feel free to contact us.

You can also keep up to date with us by following YMCA Global Study on social media and signing up to our newsletter. This is the best way to get reminders about important dates and deadlines, opportunities for funding and our blog which will provide you with helpful hints and tips for your study abroad experience.

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