SSST Subjects

PS 120  Modern Political History

Political Science


International Relations


Programme(s) where module is offered

  • BA in Political Science and International Relation

Status (core, option, free choice)



FHEQ Level



Unit Value



Semester taught



Pre-Requisite Modules or Qualifications



Module Code

PS 120


Module coordinator

Maja Savic Bojanic


Applicable From



Educational Aims of the Module

  • The aim of this module is to enable students to logicallyexamine the historical political foundations of the modern state, starting from the development of state sovereignty in 17th century Europe and proceeding to the transformation brought by the invention of the nation state; the traumas of the two world wars, the eventual reunification of Europe, and culminating in an assessment of contemporary social, economic and political challenges to traditional notions of the state, its scope and its power. 
  • The module also provides an introduction to major international institutions and actors that play a role in defining both the international order and disorder. 
  • As a result, students will be able to identify and analyse both the antecedents to and current problems affecting contemporary international relations in a broad historical context.

Module Outline/Syllabus

  • Early history of the modern state, 1648-1779 from the peace of Westphalia to the age of democratic revolutions
  • The First World War
  • The Rise of Fascism and Communism 
  • The Second World War
  • The Cold War and the establishment of the Soviet Bloc
  • The birth of the European Community: From economic to political union
  • Radical Change and Post Communist Europe
  • Wars of Yugoslav Secession
  • The Global South in a World of Powers
  • Non-governmental actors (minority groups, religious movements, international terrorism)
  • Globalization and the issue of vanishing borders
  • Trade and monetary issues in a globalized political economy
  • Global Migration Trends
  • Promotion and Development of Human Rights
  • Collective Security in the Modern World

Student Engagement Hours

Type Number per Term Duration Total Time
Lectures 30 2 hours 30 hours
Tutorials 15 2 hours 30 hours
Total Guided/Independent Learning Hours 140
Total Contact Hours 60
Total Engagement Hours 200

Assessment Method Summary

Type Number Required Duration / Length Weighting Timing / Submission Deadline
Final exam 1 3 hours 50% End of semester
Mid-term exam 1 2 hours 20% Week 8
Quizzes 3 10 minutes 10% Weeks 3, 6, 11
Seminar work 1 1 hour 10% Weeks 5, 10, 11 and 13
Research paper 1 1500 words 15% Week 14

Module Outcomes

Teaching and Learning Strategy:

  • Lectures (ILO 1-5)
  • Readings and group exercises (ILO 1-5)
  • Case study work and class discussion(ILO 15)
  • Preparation and writing of a research paper on selected issues (ILO 1-5)
  • Lectures and tutorials (PS: 1-3)
  • Group exercises and case study analysis (PS: 2,3)
  • Seminars (PS: 1-3)
  • Quizzes (PS: 1,2)
  • Independent, guided study (PS: 1-3)
  • Readings from varied sources representing a multidisciplinary focus (TS 1-3)
  • Seminars (TS 1-3)
  • Individual consultations with students as needed(TS 1-3)

Assessment Strategy

  •  Midterm Exam –(ILO 1-5)
  • Research Paper (ILO 1-5)
  • Quizzes  (ILO 1-5)
  • Final Examination (ILO 1-5)
  • Exams (PS 1-3)
  • Seminars and class quizzes (PS: 1,2)
  • Research Paper (PS: 1,3)
  • Exams (TS 1-3)
  • Research Paper (TS 1-3)

Key Texts and/or other learning materials

Set text

  • Blanton, S., Kegley, C., (2014), World Politics: Trends and Transformations, 15th Edition, Wadsworth Publishing

Supplementary Materials

  • Bobbitt, P., (2003), The Shield of Achilles: War, Peace and the Course of History, Anchor
  • Calvocoressi, P., (2008), World Politics Since 1945, 9th Edition, Routledge.
  • Glenny, M., (1996), The Fall of Yugoslavia: The Third Balkan War. Penguin Books.
  • Henderson, K., Robinson, N., (1997), Post Communist Politics: An Introduction. Prentice Hall.
  • Nugent, N., (2010), The Government and Politics of the European Union. Palgrave McMillan.
  • EU, (2016), History of the EU, [online], (Accessed 7 July 2016)
  • The EU, World trade, [online], (Accessed 7 July 2016)
  • Passmore, K., (2015), Fascism, a very short Introduction, 2 Edition, Oxford University Press
  • Williamson, D., (2015), Access to History: The Cold War 1941-1995, 5 Edition, Hodder Education
  • Besharov, D., Lopez, M., (2016), Adjusting to a World in Motion: Trends in Global Migration and Migration Policy, Oxford University Press

Please note

 This specification provides a concise summary of the main features of the module and the learning outcomes that a typical student might reasonably be expected to achieve and demonstrate if he/she takes full advantage of the learning opportunities that are provided.  More detailed information on the learning outcomes, content and teaching, learning and assessment methods of each module and programme can be found in the departmental or programme handbook.  The accuracy of the information contained in this document is reviewed annually by the University of Buckingham and may be checked by the Quality Assurance Agency.

Date of Production : June 2016

Date approved by School Learning and Teaching Committee:

Date approved by School Board of Study :

Date approved by University Learning and Teaching Committee:

Date of Annual Review:


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