Department of Political Science


Foreign Policy Analysis

Course Code


Course Tutor

Dr Jonathan Monten (Department of Political Science) and Dr Outi Donovan (Department of Political Science)


2 hour exam

Credit Value


About this course

How is foreign policy made? And who makes it? The course deals with the theory, concepts, history, and practice of Foreign Policy through a comparative lens. The class will analyse the processes by which foreign policy goals are established and policy tools are designed to help meet these goals. Much of our attention will focus upon identifying the actors that influence the foreign policy making process across various institutional structures, and the models that the literature identifies to capture this process theoretically and empirically.

Students are invited to reflect upon the limits of traditional IR theory in understanding how foreign policy is made. The orientation is more theoretical than substantive. In other words, the course focuses mostly on the sources of foreign policy rather than its content, on policy inputs and the decision-making process rather than on policy outputs. Students will be asked to complete a comprehensive set of readings, to participate actively in seminar discussions, and to complete a long paper assignment.

Course aims

  • To provide an understanding of the different theoretical perspectives on foreign policy making.
  • To assist students in developing a conceptually and empirically informed understanding of the debates surrounding foreign policy.
  • To introduce students to a range of contemporary political issues within foreign policy making.
  • To qualify an international group of postgraduate students who may wish to proceed to further specialised study of foreign policy and/or employment in related field.
  • To develop key skills associated with: reading about, understanding and discussing conceptual issues and theoretical debates; applying concepts and theories to the empirical study of foreign policy; writing essays and presenting them in seminars, and to participate in group discussions.