Thematic Issues in Global Security SPS5007

  • Academic Session: 2019-20
  • School: School of Social and Political Sciences
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: Yes

Short Description

This course will offer students the opportunity to study a range of contemporary security matters that operate and are addressed on a global level. Using a thematic approach, students will examine how these issues or threats have developed and how they are being combated.


2 Hours per week over 10 weeks.

Requirements of Entry



Portfolio Project:

Students will have to develop a portfolio project focusing on a single specific thematic global security issue. The work involved in this project will include a review of how that issue has been securitized, relates to wider security concerns and how approaches to resolving or combating the issue have been undertaken. Specific focus on key policy developments at local, regional and international levels will be central to this assessment. The portfolio should consist of 3 key sections: an academic literature review based on published material linked to that theme/issue (c.1000 words, 20%, submitted at end of week 6), a briefing report (c.1000 words, 30%, submitted at the end of week 9), and a critical policy analysis (c.2000 words, 50%, submitted at the end of week 12). The portfolio aspect of this assessment will allow students to develop an in-depth understanding of a key security issue at a global level including how it relates to other issues and how policy has been developed to deal with threat.

Course Aims

This course aims to introduce students to a variety of contemporary security concerns or themes and how they relate to global affairs and governance. Students will utilise theoretical arguments including an exploration of the concept of 'securitization' to explore the development of and our understanding of existential threats at a global level. Following a detailed critical examination of securitization literature, including the seminal works of Ole Waever, students will look at key issues that have been securitized at a global level in recent years. These thematic issues include: energy, cyber issues, terrorism, the environment, 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. This will help expand a student's understanding of security beyond the traditional Euro-Atlantic centric approaches to and paradigms of security.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

■ 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

■ Critically review key security documentation and policy focusing on specific and varied global security concerns

■ Demonstrate skills in group work and problem solving

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

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Generic regulations apply