International Security and International Relations POLITIC5069

  • Academic Session: 2019-20
  • School: School of Social and Political Sciences
  • Credits: 30
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Full Year
  • Available to Visiting Students: No

Short Description

This course is focused on the theory and politics of security. The course follows a broad agenda of Security Studies through an examination of key themes, concepts, theories and issues in contemporary global politics.


The course will be taught as weekly two-hour sessions across both semesters.

Requirements of Entry

Mandatory Entry Requirements


Recommended Entry Requirements

Excluded Courses






Assessment will comprise three essay assignments. The first two essays (due in Week 6 and Week 13 of Semester 1) will be 3000 words in length and will each count for 25% of the final grade. The final essay (due in Week 9 of Semester 2) will be 5000 words in length and will count for 50% of the grade. The first two essays will be based on questions presented to the students in the course-guide. For the final assignment, students will work with the module convenor to develop their own essay questions.  



In accordance with the University's Code of Assessment reassessments are normally set for all courses which do not contribute to the honours classifications. For non honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students, and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions are listed below in this box.

Course Aims

This course aims to provide students with an opportunity to study the key theories, themes, and concepts of international security. Students are encouraged to critically assess how security is framed in contemporary international politics. This will provide students with a broad theoretical overview of the field of Security Studies. Additionally, the course aims to introduce students to a variety of contemporary security themes and how they relate to global affairs and governance. These thematic issues include: environmental degradation, terrorism, inter-state war, crime, health, genocide and ethnic conflict and the economy. Students will be encouraged to identify the ways in which individual 'thematic issues in global security' impact upon each other and can be seen to be inter-dependent. The course will also allow students to debate how different institutional actors (i.e. NATO, UN, African Union), countries (i.e. USA, Russia, China, India etc) and regions (i.e. Africa, Europe, South America) around the world approach and combat the varied threats associated with these issues.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of the course, students will be able to:

■ demonstrate a thorough understanding of the current debates taking place within Security Studies;

■ analyse the recent shift towards Critical Security Studies;

■ explain the changing nature of international security by reference to classical and critical approaches.

■ recognise a variety of security issues and existential threats evident at a global level

■ demonstrate a thorough knowledge and critical understanding of securitization literature and link that to the development of contemporary security concerns and threats

■ apply theoretical frameworks to real world security issues, with a view to testing, critically evaluating, and refining them.

present clear, analytical and robust analyses and arguments in both written and oral form

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.