International Security and International Relations POLITIC5069

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • 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

It is impossible to make sense of global politics without reference to security. This concept is ubiquitous in political discourse and the images of actually experienced insecurity appear on our television, computer and smartphone screens almost constantly. This course is about the concept of security - of what, from what and for what. The course is based around an in-depth examination of key theories and approaches from the field of International Security Studies, addressing both orthodox approaches and the turn towards a broader security agenda and the emergence of 'critical' approaches to security.


Semester One: One hour lecture, one hour seminar per week.

Semester Two: Five group supervision meetings throughout the semester

Requirements of Entry

Mandatory Entry Requirements


Recommended Entry Requirements

Excluded Courses





The summative assessment for this course is comprised of three components. The first and second of these will be completed in the first semester. The third will be completed in the second semester.


The first assessment is a group task in which students will work collectively to research, write and deliver a lecture to the other students on this course around one of the substantive seminar topics during the first semester. This will be worth 20% of the student's grade.


The second assessment will be two essays of 2000 words (±10%) in the first semester. Students will be required to submit the first essay, with the second being optional. The highest grade from these two essays will be used for this component of the assessment which, overall, is worth 40%.


The third assessment will be an essay of 4000 words (±10%) in the second semester. Students will work with the module convenor to develop their own essay questions.  This component of the assessment will be worth 40%

Course Aims

The aim of this course is to introduce students to the fields of Strategic and Security Studies and encourage students to critically examine the meaning and practices of security and strategy. To achieve this aim, students will critically examine key theories, theorists, concepts and themes within this field and will have opportunities to apply these to make critical sense of claims, experiences and implications of security and insecurity within contemporary global politics.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

■ Demonstrate a thorough knowledge and understanding of the changing nature of security;

■ Critically evaluate different approaches to understanding and conceptualising security and strategy;

■ Identify and critically assess the political and normative implications of different claims about security and insecurity;

■ Advance reasoned and factually supported arguments both orally and in writing.

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.