Department of Political Science


POLS0019 International Security 

Course Code: POLS0019

Course Tutors: Dr Noele Crossley

Length: One term (Autumn or Spring term)

Teaching: 20 contact hours (10 hours of lectures, 10 hours of seminars)

Assessment: 2 hour exam (100%)

Credits: 15 credits/ 4 US Credits/ 7.5 ECTS Credits

Level: L6 (Advanced) 

Note: This is an advanced module in the Department of Political Science. The content and assessment of this module assumes students have a background in the major theories and concepts used in the study of international relations. It is strongly advised that students take a module in international relations before enrolling in this module.

international terrorism; nuclear proliferation; humanitarian
intervention; power transitions; cyber security

About this course

This module examines major debates in the field of international security. Many important issues in international politics relate to the use or threat of military force and political violence, and the insecurity this threat poses to states, communities, and individuals. This module is organised into two parts. The first part will introduce students to key questions in the field of international security and the theoretical and empirical approaches scholars use to answer them, such as the causes of war, whether democracies are more peaceful than autocracies, and how international norms and institutions shape the behaviour of states. The second part will examine a number of contemporary international security issues, including nuclear proliferation, civil conflict and terrorism, military intervention, and shifts in the global balance of power. Particular focus will be given to the research methods and empirical strategies commonly used by scholars in the field.

Module Objectives
By the end of the module, students will:

  • Understand the major theoretical debates and empirical approaches used in the study of international security;
  • Learn to critically evaluate competing theoretical and empirical claims about important international security problems; 
  • Apply diverse theoretical and empirical tools to understand and evaluate debates over international security policy;
  • Develop a more conceptually and empirically informed understanding of the current international security environment;
  • Become better consumers and producers of scholarly research in international politics.