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International Relations and Foreign Policy


  • Credit value: 30 credits at Level 5
  • Convenor: Dr David Styan
  • Assessment: two 300-500-word seminar logs (5% each) and a 2000-word essay (90%)

Module description

In this module we consider the functioning of the international system of states via the analysis of foreign policy and the principles and practices of diplomatic interactions between states. We will evaluate relations between states, international institutions and some non-governmental actors, as well as the relationship between states’ foreign policies and their own citizens.

Indicative syllabus

  • Introduction: What is diplomacy?
  • ‘Old’ versus ‘new’ diplomacy in the 1930s
  • Actors: who makes foreign policy?
  • Foreign policy analysis: an overview
  • Soft power and public diplomacy
  • Data, surveillance and foreign policy
  • Gender and diplomacy
  • Environmental diplomacy
  • Decline and rise: China’s foreign policy
  • War powers and parliamentary accountability
  • NATO, defence and foreign policy
  • EU: 'strategic autonomy?'
  • Towards a common foreign and security policy?
  • UK foreign policy formulation and futures

Learning objectives

By the end of this module, you will be able to:

  • demonstrate an understanding of the evolution of international relations
  • identify and appraise key aspects of diplomatic practice
  • discuss and evaluate various forms of foreign policy analysis.