SSST Subjects

PS290 International Security


Programme(s) where module is offered

  • BA Major in Political Science/International Relations

Status (core, option, free choice)



FHEQ Level



Unit Value



Semester taught



Pre-Requisite Modules or Qualifications

Successful completion of all 1st and 2nd year modules


Module Code



Module coordinator

Jana Jevtic


Applicable From



Educational Aims of the Module

  • This course is designed to provide students with knowledge of the concept of international security along with the evolution of the ideafrom the earliest times, through the 20th century, and beyond. It aims to introduce debates in the field including, but not limited to, war, terrorism, genocide, and ethnic conflict.
  • With a goal of providing a practical approach to security matters, several conflicts will be studied as part of the course.
  • This exercise will allow students to apply the knowledge that was adopted in the beginning of the course to conflicts that have played, or continue to play an important role in the field of international security.

Module Outline/Syllabus

  • Security Studies: an Introduction to the Field and the Core Theoretical Approaches

  • Uncertainty, Polarity, and War

  • Culture, Coericion, and Poverty

  • Terrorism

  • Genocide, Ethnic Conflict, and Crimes against Humanity

  • Nuclear Proliferation

  • Revision Week

  • Mid-Term Exam

  • Case Study 1: Israel-Palestine

  • Case Study 2: Northern Ireland

  • Case Study 3: Libya

  • Case Study 4: North Korea-South Korea

  • Climate Change and Environmental Security

  • Transnational Organised Crime and Arms Trade

  • Revision Week: what Future for Security Studies?

  • Study Week

  • Final Exam


Student Engagement Hours

Type Number per Term Duration Total Time


90 minutes

96 hours

Tutorials 32

90 minutes

48 hours

Total Guided/Independent Learning Hours 120
Total Contact Hours 80
Total Engagement Hours 200

Assessment Method Summary

Type Number Required Duration / Length Weighting Timing / Submission Deadline

Final Exam

1 presentation followed by group discussion

3 hours 50%

End of semester

Mid-Semester Exam

1 2 hours 20% Week 8

Group Presentation / Reflection Paper

1 1 hour 20%

By week 14

In-class / Seminar Participation






Module Outcomes

Intended Learning Outcomes:

  • Understand the concept of international security and its mechanisms, evolution and definitions

  • Understand the main theoretical approaches to the concept of international security studies

  • Understand contemporary state of affairs and main issues in the international security

  • Construct theoretically sound, empirically substantiated analysis of current issues relating to the subject of international security



Teaching and Learning Strategy:

  • Course readings and class discussion (ILO: 1-5)

  • Lectures (ILO: 1-5)

  • Individual tutorials (ILO: 1-5).

Assessment Strategy:

  • Course work – mid-term exam (20%), group presentation / paper (20%) and in-class participation (10%). (ILO: 1-5)

  • Final Exam – 50% (ILO: 1-5)

Practical Skills:

  • Conducting focus group interviews (on site fieldwork)

  • Writing newspaper articles

Teaching and Learning Strategy:

  • Practical with tutor-lead support (PS: 1-2)


Assessment Strategy:

  • Group presentation / paper (PS: 1,2)

Transferable Skills:

  • Understanding and interpreting media contents;

  • Capacity to understand and critically interpret media-related events and practices, using the tools and concepts of media and communications studies;

  • Public presentation skills, including oral, written and power-point presentations;

  • Ability to structure and present ideas, thoughts and arguments in clear and systematic way;

  • Ability to engage in argument-based discussions.

Teaching and Learning Strategy:

  • Course readings and class discussions. (TS: 1,2,3,5)

  • Lectures and in-class exercises (TS: 1,2,4,5)

  • In-class presentation, public speaking exercises (TS: 1-5)

Assessment Strategy:

  • Final Exam – 50% (TS: 1-5)

  • Course work –mid-term exam (20%), group presentation / paper (20%) and in-class participation (10%) (TS: 1-5)


Key Texts and/or other learning materials

Set text

  • Williams, D. Paul (Ed.), Security Studies: An Introduction, (Routledge, 2008)

Supplementary Materials

  • Buzan, Barry & Hansen, Lene, The Evolution of International Security Studies, (Cambridge UP; 2009)

  • Gurr, Robert & Harff, Barbara, Ethnic Conflict in World Politics, (Oxford, Westview Press, 1994)

  • Baylis, J. And Smith S. (eds), The Globalization of World Politics, (Oxford UP, 2004)

  • Kaldor, Mary, New and Old Wars: Organized Violence in a Global Era, (Cambridge: Polity Press, 1999)

  • Nye, S. Joseph, Soft Power: The Means To Success In World Politics,( Public Affairs, 2004)

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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