Course guide of International Organisations (21211G2)

Curso 2024/2025
Approval date: 13/06/2024

Grado (bachelor's degree)

Bachelor'S Degree in Political Science and Public Administration


Social and Legal Sciences


Estudios de Ámbito Internacional


Organizaciones Internacionales

Year of study




ECTS Credits


Course type

Elective course

Teaching staff


Ozana Olariu . Grupo: A


Ozana Olariu Grupos: 1 y 2

Timetable for tutorials

Ozana Olariu

  • First semester
    • Wednesday de 09:00 a 11:00 (Departamento de Derecho Internacional Público y Rrii. Previa Cita)
    • Thursday
      • 11:00 a 13:00 (Departamento de Derecho Internacional Público y Rrii. Previa Cita)
      • 16:00 a 18:00 (Departamento de Derecho Internacional Público y Rrii. Previa Cita)
  • Second semester
    • Tuesday
      • 10:00 a 13:00 (Departamento de Derecho Internacional Público y Rrii. Previa Cita)
      • 16:00 a 19:00 (Departamento de Derecho Internacional Público y Rrii. Previa Cita)

Prerequisites of recommendations

There are no prerequisites to register in the course. Nonetheless, it is advisable to:

  • Have previously read the course in “International Relations”.
  • Keep up with what is happening in the world by regularly reading a current events news source.
  • Have a general knowledge of International Law.
  • Bear in mind this is a lecture-based class with as much question and answer during each class period as possible. That means you must complete the required reading before the class date to which it is attached. In order to help you keep current on the readings, periodic, in-class reading quizzes shall be used for assessing your progress.

Brief description of content (According to official validation report)

  • Structure and functioning of International Organizations.
  • Diplomatic relations and international civil service.

General and specific competences

General competences

  • CG01. Capacity for analysis and synthesis.
  • CG02. Organizational and planning skills.
  • CG03. -
  • CG05. Information management skills.
  • CG06. Problem solving skills.
  • CG07. Decision-making ability.
  • CG08. Ability to work in a team.
  • CG09. Interpersonal relationship skills.
  • CG10. Recognition of diversity and multiculturalism.
  • CG11. Critical thinking skills. 
  • CG12. Development of autonomous learning. 
  • CG13. Adaptation to new situations. 
  • CG14. Ability to develop creative activities. 
  • CG15. Leadership skills. 
  • CG16. Knowledge of other cultures and customs. 
  • CG18. Motivation for quality. 
  • CG19. Development of the ability to carry out a process well based on guidelines. 

Specific competences

  • CE03. Describe, explain and analyze the structure and functioning of political institutions. 
  • CE11. Analyze international and European Union policy. 
  • CE16. Be interested in current theoretical and methodological debates on the need to move towards more pluralistic, integrative and comprehensive approaches in Political Science and Administration. 
  • CE17. To acquire a critical and analytical attitude towards political events. 
  • CE18. To appreciate the importance of collaborating, participating and getting involved in the analysis of political processes, actors and institutions, as a guideline for the improvement of decision making. 
  • CE19. To foster an open, flexible and understanding attitude towards the complex, dynamic, social and ideological nature of politics and public administrations. 

Objectives (Expressed as expected learning outcomes)

On successful completion of the course the student will be able to:

Knowledge and understanding

  • Identify and explain the main defining characters of international organizations. To be able to show knowledge and understanding of the different types of organizations in order to grasp their political, economic, and social contexts.
  • Understand the contents and limits of the International Organization's legal status, both in international and domestic law; their different nature; and their main types.
  • Acquire and demonstrate a sound opinion on the studied Organizations and their activities.

Competence and skills

  • Pursue argumentative reasoning in writing and orally;
  • Improve critical thinking and writing skills
  • Apply theoretical concepts in the study of empirical processes;
  • Demonstrate the ability to describe the legal, social, political, and economic forces that shape IOs.

Judgment and approach

  • Compare different IOs, different material, and regional ambits;
  • Explain the significance of global problems being perceived by different IOs
  • Use knowledge of international affairs in a practical problem-solving way to address issues of immediate international concern

Detailed syllabus


This syllabus is based on Prof. Diego J. Liñán’s «Organizaciones internacionales» course. It has been adapted and translated by Proffessors Amelia Díaz and Ozana Olariu.

Part I. General theory of international organizations (IO)

  • Topic 1. Definition, nature, and general characters
    1. Emergence and growth of IOs
    2. Defining and classifying IOs
    3. Legal theory and IOs
  • Topic 2. International organizations as subjects of International Law
    1. The legal position of IOs
      1. International legal personality
      2. Powers
      3. Privileges and immunities
      4. Dissolution, succession, adaptation
    2. Constitutions of IOs
    3. Issues of membership
      1. Admission
      2. Financing
      3. Withdrawal
      4. Expulsion, suspension, and related techniques
      5. State succession and membership
    4. Standard-setting by IOs
  • Topic 3. Internal and external relations of International Organizations
    1. Institutional structures
      1. Organs and their decisions
      2. Creating subsidiary organs
      3. Delegation
    2. International Civil Service
    3. Accountability
    4. External relations

Part II. Universal organizations: United Nations system

  • Topic 4. Origins and Structure of the United Nations Organization
    1. The creation of the UN
    2. San Francisco Conference: the UN Charter
    3. Purposes and principles
    4. Institutional structure
    5. Membership
  • Topic 5. Main functions of the United Nations Organization
    1. Peace and Security
    2. Development and economic cooperation
    3. Promotion and protection of human rights
    4. Codification and development of International law
    5. The Millennium Summit
  • Topic 6. The UN system
    1. De-centralization and coordination
    2. Specialised agencies
    3. Other related organizations

Part III. Regional organizations

  • Topic 7. Political co-operation
    1. Council of Europe (CoE)
    2. Organization of American States (OAS)
    3. African Union (AU)
    4. Co-operation organizations in the Arabic Muslim world
    5. Other cooperation organizations in Asia and Oceania
  • Topic 8. Economic co-operation and integration
    1. Organization For Economic Co-operation And Development (OECD)
    2. European Union (EU)
    3. American organizations (NAFTA, MERCOSUR, Andean Community, UNASUR)
    4. Other regional economic cooperation and integration organizations
  • Topic 9. Security and defence
    1. North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)
    2. Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE)
    3. Security and Defence Dimension of the European Union
    4. Other regional organizations and security and defence arrangements


Practical activities include, amongst others (to be detailed once the semester has started, depending on the number of students enrolled):

  1. Group seminars
  2. Pop-quizzes and class discussions to assess the level of knowledge and understanding of the syllabus.
  3. Group presentations and essays on given topics.


Basic reading list

  • KLABBERS, J.: Advanced Introduction to the Law of International Organizations, Elgar Advanced Introductions series, Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, 2015.
  • CONFORTI, B.; FOCARELLI, C.: The Law and Practice of the United Nations, 5th rev. ed., Legal Aspects of International Organization Vol. 57, Brill Academic Publishers, Leiden, 2016.

Complementary reading

  • BARKIN, J. S.: International Organization. Theories and Institutions, Palgrave Macmillan Cham, 2023.
  • DAVIES, M. and WOODWARD, R.: International Organizations. A companion, Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, 2014.
  • HURD, I.: International organizations: politics, law, practice, Cambridge University Press, 2020.
  • KLABBERS, J: An Introduction to International Organizations Law, 4th ed., Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2022
  • KLABBERS, J: The Cambridge Companion to International Organizations Law, Cambridge University Press, 2022.
  • KLABBERS, J. and WALLENDAHL, A.: Research handbook on the law of international organizations, Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, 2011.
  • MORGENSTERN, F.:Legal Problems of International Organizations: Reissue with New Foreword by Jan Klabbers, Hersch Lauterpacht Memorial Lectures. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2024.
  • WEISS, T. G. and DAWS, S. (eds.): The Oxford Handbook on the United Nations, 2nd ed., Oxford Handbooks in Politics and International Relations, Oxford University Press, 2018.
  • WEISS, T. G. and WILKINSON, R. (eds.): International Organization and Global Governance, Routledge, 2023.

Teaching methods

  • MD01. Lecture/exhibition 
  • MD02. Discussion and debate sessions 
  • MD05. Field practicum 
  • MD07. Seminars 
  • MD08. Simulation exercises 
  • MD09. Analysis of sources and documents 
  • MD10. Group work 
  • MD11. Individual work 

Assessment methods (Instruments, criteria and percentages)

Ordinary assessment session

Assessment in the course is carried out in the form of continuous assessment as the general rule. Continuous assessment means assessing students’ progress throughout their course, evaluating their course assignments, and participating in classes and seminars (literature review quizzes, role play, group projects, and presentations; all assignments are designed not just to test what you know, but to help you develop your knowledge, skills, and confidence), as well as through an end-of-term assessment). The course shall be evaluated through:

  • Exams are to be determined by the course instructors (either written or oral exams or a combination of both). This assessment component shall make up 60% of the final grade. See Continuous Assessments tests for parts I, II and III of the Syllabus according to the Class Calendar
  • Summative assessment: attendance, participation, dissertations, presentations, particularly active participation in review-debate-quiz sessions, as well as individual and group assignments. This assessment component shall make up 40% of the final grade. Compulsory attendance applies to review sessions, seminars, and discussion classes. Lack of attendance or lack of effective and fruitful participation will be reflected in the final grade. See Class Calendar for small group sessions (G1 and G2).

The grading system will reflect a numeric mark, according to article 5 of R. D. 1125/2003, September 5th, regulating the European Credit System and the grading system in official university degrees, valid in the whole Spanish territory. The final mark obtained by a student will be the average grade of all assessment activities applicable to a particular course. Students are strongly advised to carefully read all documents uploaded on the PRADO Course Page.

NOTA BENE: Students who are unable, or unwilling, to pass the exam may obtain a certificate of attendance. They MUST inform the lecturer at the beginning of the term and prove attendance to at least 80% of the lectures and seminars. Failure to do so at the beginning of the term precludes the issuance of such a certificate. • Students must be aware that, to pass the course, they must pass the written exam, scheduled at the end of the term. There won’t be any exception to this rule. Accordingly, it is useless to ask for any particular arrangement, such as “other type of assessment”, “an additional paper”, a different exam date, etc.

This course amounts to 6 ECTS credits (45 lecture and seminar hours / 150 students’ independent work hours) during the first semester (September 2024- February 2025). The workload is divided into: a) 30 hours of Lectures over 15 weeks b) 15 hours of Seminars over 15 weeks c) 150 hours of independent student research, reading, writing, tutorial, and virtual activities over 15 weeks. Given the plan adopted by the Faculty of Political Science and Sociology, students will be split into two groups in class and will attend Seminars in said formation, namely Group 1 (G1) or Group 2(G2), according to the Class Calendar.

Please note that there will be no special arrangements on an individual basis. Students who cannot attend the course throughout the semester -including exams in January (first call) or February (resits or extraordinary call- are strongly advised not to enroll.

Extraordinary assessment session

Students shall sit an oral exam. This will be conducted through an individual interview, during which the instructor shall ask both theoretical and applied questions covering the overall syllabus. The exam call shall indicate the time, tools, and assessment criteria. This exam shall account for 100% of the final grade.

Single final assessment

All students who have not followed the continuous assessment and have been granted the right to sit the final exam shall be assessed using an oral exam. Instructors shall ask a minimum of three main questions, one for each part of the syllabus. Questions will cover the overall syllabus. The exam call shall indicate the details regarding, time, place, and assessment criteria. This exam shall account for 100% of the final grade.

Additional information

Individual and collective learning activities

All teaching activities will encourage students’ participation and commitment. They will be the following:

  1. Lectures. Description: The lectures provide a broad overview of a topic, highlighting the main concepts included in the syllabus.
  2. Classes or Seminars. Description: Classes or seminars are small group discussions and provide an opportunity to explore a topic in greater depth, leaving room for practical activities and coursework assessment. Teaching consists of a mixture of lectures and classes/seminars, running in parallel, in which students will work through questions and problems raised in the lectures and present and discuss their results.

Lectures are attended by all those taking the course. Classes or seminars are smaller, comprising half of the students enrolled according to the Class Calendar. Lectures are not compulsory but are strongly recommended — except for students who may require a certificate of attendance, in which case they must attend at least 80% of the course. Classes and seminars, however, are entirely mandatory and you will be expected to prepare and fully participate in every class you attend.

  1. Individual activities (autonomous learning). Description: a) Activities intended to expand or deepen certain syllabus contents (e.g. a glossary); b) Autonomous study; c) Assessment activities (tests, oral presentations, exams) Aim: To foster the students’ capability of planning, developing, and assessing their learning efforts, as well as adapting them to their particular situation and/or interests.
  2. Academic supervision. Description: inter-action “supervisor—student”. Aim: a) To offer support for the student’s autonomous learning; b) to expand or deepen particular aspects of the syllabus content; c) to offer advice related to the student curriculum.

Open Learning and Career planning

During the academic year, instructors will keep students duly informed of the Open Learning and professionalization activities organized either by the Faculty of Political Science and Sociology or the other bodies of the University of Granada. These complementary activities will strengthen their skills and competencies, and prepare students for their future professional careers.

Mentoring and counseling

To attend to the particular needs of students during the academic year, the University of Granada has at the disposal of students several units and bodies: