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International Organizations and the Promotion of Good Governance


Admission requirements

Only students of the Advanced MSc International Relations and Diplomacy programme can take this course.


The course focuses on contemporary research and thinking around important aspects of the functioning of international organisations: the promotion of good governance by IOs for development purposes, politicisation of international governance and international organisations, international bureaucratic politics, the interaction between international organisations and states and citizens, norm diffusion by international organisations. A particular feature of this course is the attention devoted to the organizational aspects of International organisations, such as international secretariats, and to their role in agenda setting and policy making, as explored in the literature on international public administration.

The course analyses international organisations through the prism of cutting edge research into their rules and norms, tools and capacities as international bureaucracies. IOs are affected by state interests and bargains, norms and organisational structures and have both power and ‘pathologies’. In recent decades, global power shifts have also resulted in fragmentation and the creation of new international organisations reflecting the interests and approach of emerging powers. The questions of their effects and purposes will be addressed. All of the above themes will be developed with a view to a variety of organisations and an emphasis on the underlying mechanisms rather than specific organisations.

Course objectives

Students who have completed this course should be able to:

  • Acquire and demonstrate a broad awareness of key trends in multi-level governance and international organisations;

  • Understand the implications of the good governance paradigm for the work of international organisations;

  • Be capable to critically engage with theoretical and analytical approaches related to International organisations dealing with norms, power, organisational aspects, IO’s limitations and others and applying them to real life examples;

  • Understand the role different policy tools and resources IOs employ such as conditionality, expertise or standards setting play and the impact they have on countries and citizens;

  • Demonstrate understanding of the mechanisms that affect IOs performance and effectiveness.


On the right-hand side of the programme front page of the E-Prospectus you will find a link to the online timetables.

Mode of instruction

The course will be entirely seminar-based. Instructors and students will discuss readings in class based on advance preparation by the students. Key themes will be introduced by the instructor and student discussants and illustrated by guest speakers working in different International organisations.

Study load: 140 hours

Attendance Policy
Attendance is mandatory, subject to course structure (see syllabus for details).

Assessment method

  • Course participation: 10%

  • Comments and Questions on readings: submitted in advance via Brightspace: 40%

  • Final Paper addressing course themes: 50% (2500 words, with references)

Failed partial grades or components should be compensated by passed partial grades or components. The calculated grade must be at least 5,5 to pass the course. It is not possible to re-sit a partial grade or component once you have passed the course.

  • Passed partial grades obtained in the academic year 2022-2023 remain valid during the academic year 2023-2024.

  • Passed partial grades obtained in the academic year 2023-2024 remain valid during the academic year 2024-2025.
    The assessment method has changed from last academic year. Students that have valid partial grades from last academic year, may complete the course according to last years assessment methods.

  • Should a student fail the overall course, s/he can complete the course in the next academic year. In cases of exceptional circumstances, a student may apply to the board of examiners for a resit to complete the course in the same academic year.

Reading list

To be announced.


The programme will register the students in Usis based on the group division. Use Brightspace for course information.


Prof. Dr. A. Dimitrova


  • This course is an elective designed for MIRD students.

  • This elective is conditional on at least 5 students registering for this course.

  • Second year students have priority for the registration to this course.