Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Intended for use in future years

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 18 x one hour
Seminars / Tutorials 6 x one hour


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 3000 word essay  50%
Semester Assessment 3000 word report  50%
Supplementary Assessment Students failing the module will repeat only the failed component(s); those re-sitting failed coursework are required to select a different essay/assignment title and must not submit re-written versions of the original essay/assignment.  100%

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module, students should be able to.
1. Critically evaluate the principal debates about conceptualising security
2. Analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the competing approaches to security
3. Evaluate the challenges facing international security
4. Critically evaluate the reasons for labelling an issue a security threat
5. Discuss the dangers of labelling an issue a security threat
6. Critically re-evaluate the direction of security studies

Brief description

The module provides an introduction to the debates on security in international relations. It examines the concept, role and making of security in the contemporary international system. It examines the main theoretical approaches and conceptualizations used in security studies and analyses a selection of important challenges that have been framed as security threats. The module is in two parts. The first part examines and debates a range of competing theories and conceptualisations of security. This part explores the different meanings of the term `security? and whose security we can talk about. The second part of the module examines contemporary security threats with implications for international politics. These will include inter and intra-state conflict, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, organised crime, poverty, health, migration, energy and the environment.


Introduction: What is Security?
Part One: Theories and Concepts
Realism and Security Studies
Constructivism and Institutionalism
The Copenhagen School and Securitisation
Critical Theory: Security and Emancipation
Post-Structuralist Approaches to `Security?
Human Security
Feminist theorising about security
Third World perspectives on security
Part Two: Threats and Responses
`New wars? and Intervention
Weapons of Mass Destruction
Transnational Organised Crime
Energy Resources
Environmental Change

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number
Communication Students will learn how to present their ideas both verbally and in writing and how to present their arguments most effectively. They will understand the importance of information and clear communication and how to exploit these. They will know how to use the many sources of information available and how to use the most appropriate form of communication to best advantage. They will learn to be clear in their writing and speaking and to be direct about aims and objectives. They will learn to consider only that which is relevant to the topic, focus and objectives of their argument or discussion. Seminars will be run in groups where oral discussion and presentations will form the main medium of teaching and the emphasis throughout the module will be on student participation and communication. This is facilitated by group-role play based on teams operating within and beyond the seminar environment.
Improving own Learning and Performance The module aims to promote self-management but within a context in which support and assistance is available from both the convener and fellow students alike. Students will be expected to improve their own learning and performance by undertaking their own research and to exercise their own initiative, including searching for sources, compiling reading lists, and deciding (under guidance) the direction of their essay and presentation topics. Group work is integral to the seminars and provides opportunities for students to reflect individually and collectively on their performance. The need to contribute to the group presentation in seminars and to meet an essay deadline will focus students¿ attention on the need to manage their time and opportunity resources well.
Information Technology Students will be expected to submit their work in word-processed format. Also, students will be encouraged to search for sources of information on the web, as well as seeking sources through electronic information sources (such as Web of Science and OCLC). Students will also be expected to make use of the resources that will be available on the Blackboard VLE.
Personal Development and Career planning The discussions in particular will help to develop students¿ verbal and presentation and team-working skills. Learning about the process of planning an essay and a presentation, framing the parameters of the projects, honing and developing the projects and seeing through to completion will contribute towards students¿ portfolio of transferable skills.
Problem solving Independent project work and problem solving will be one central goal of the module; the submission of an essay will require that students develop independent research skills as well as problem solving skills. The need to research and prepare seminar presentations will also enable students to develop independent project skills. The ability of students to solve problems will be developed and assessed by asking them to: adopt differing points of view; organize data and estimate an answer to the problem; consider extreme cases; reason logically; construct theoretical models; consider similar cases; look for patterns; divide issues into smaller problems. A final examination will ensure that an assessment of students¿ ability to work alone can be undertaken.
Research skills The submission of the essay will reflect the independent research skills of students. The need to locate appropriate research resources and write up the results will also facilitate research skills. Research preparation for a seminar presentation will also enable students to develop independent project skills. A final examination will ensure that an assessment of students¿ ability to work alone can be undertaken.
Subject Specific Skills Students have the opportunity to develop, practice and test a wide range of subject specific skills that help them to understand, conceptualise and evaluate examples and ideas on the module. These subject specific skills include: * Collect and understand a wide range of data relating to the module * Ability to evaluate competing perspectives * Demonstrate subject specific research techniques * Apply a range of methodologies to complex historical and political problems
Team work Seminars will consist in part of small group role-playing activities where students will be obliged to prepare, present and discuss as a group the core issues related to seminar topics. Such class room debates and discussions are a vital component of the module learning experience.


This module is at CQFW Level 6