Please note: there may be some adjustments to the teaching arrangements published in the course catalogue for 2020-21. Given current circumstances related to the Covid-19 pandemic it is anticipated that some usual arrangements for teaching on campus will be modified to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students and staff on campus; further adjustments may also be necessary, or beneficial, during the course of the academic year as national requirements relating to management of the pandemic are revised.

Humanitarian Intervention: Civilian or Sovereignty POLITIC5074

  • Academic Session: 2021-22
  • School: School of Social and Political Sciences
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: No

Short Description

This course will examine the political, legal and philosophical foundation and the evolution of the concept and practice of the use of force and associated measures to protect human rights, in particular in the context of conflict and mass atrocities. Broad conceptual issues will be applied to a series of cases, potentially including Darfur, Libya, Syria, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kosovo, Somalia, Rwanda, Bosnia, Haito


Once a week

Requirements of Entry


Excluded Courses





Critical case review (1500 words) - 30%

Essay (3500 words) - 70%

Course Aims

The course aims to offer students with a critical introduction to the concept and practice of humanitarian intervention and how these have evolved in the post-Cold War era.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

■ Critically discuss the principal legal, political and philosophical arguments regarding the use of force to protect human rights

■ Critically analyse and apply various theoretical approaches to understanding and explaining humanitarian intervention with reference to particular cases

■ Critically examine the actors and institutions involved in the protection of civilians in conflict situations

■ Situate humanitarian intervention within contemporary debates in international relations and the social sciences more broadly

■ Present cogent arguments on the evolution of humanitarian intervention in 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.