Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Semester 2
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Seminars / Tutorials 20 Hours (10 x 2 hours)


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 1 x 4,000 word essay  50%
Semester Assessment 1 x 4,000 word essay  50%
Supplementary Assessment 1 x 4,000 word essay, if essay element failed  50%
Supplementary Assessment 1 x 4,000 word essay, if essay element failed  50%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

1. Discuss the capacity of the BRICS to promote structural change and transform the existing global order.
2. Identify and analyse the diplomatic strategies of emerging powers within international regimes.
3. Discuss whether it is possible to identify distinct patterns in the diplomacy of emerging powers.
4. Critically evaluate the ability of the BRICS to shape negotiating outcomes at the global level.
5. Develop an empirical knowledge of the country case studies.
6. Discuss the ability of the BRICS to improve the participation and representation of smaller states in global governance.
7. Develop research methods to study the role of rising states in international relations.
8. Examine the methodological issues which emerge when categorising rising states into different groups such as the BRICS.

Brief description

The module examines the relocation of emerging powers in the global order and explores their contemporary diplomacy across different international regimes and negotiations. The module aims to identify common patterns in the international behaviour of the BRICS, and provide a deeper understanding of the ideas, interests and strategies which inform the foreign policies of emerging powers. The module will analyse the types of diplomacy that emerging powers pursue in order to achieve the recognition of their status and the redistribution of influence within international institutions. The module will demonstrate that while emerging powers are unwilling to conform to the rules and principles of the existing order, they have been reluctant to take a revisionist stance. The BRICS have largely strived to reform the existing order from within and have not attempted to create alternative or counter-hegemonic institutions. The module will show that emerging powers have acquired the capacity to act as veto players in existing institutions but in many cases have refrained from proactively shaping negotiating outcomes. It will also be demonstrated that the preoccupation of the BRICS with providing leadership in their coalitions often determines the shape of their diplomatic strategies at the multilateral level.


1. The BRICS in the global order: revisionism, reformism and integration
2. The G-20 Leaders Summit and the role of the BRICS in managing the global economy
3. UN Security Council: voting behaviour and reform diplomacy
4. Non-proliferation and disarmament: India
5. The Doha round of the WTO: Brazil
6. Climate change negotiations: China
7. Strategic partnerships and coalition-building: Russia and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation
8. Regional organisations and leadership: South Africa and the African Union
9. The IMF and the World Bank: shifts in the voting power of the BRICS
10. Development and aid: emerging powers in Africa


The module will be the first Master's module within the Department to focus exclusively on emerging powers, an area of increasing academic interest within the discipline of International Relations. The module will examine the changing systemic role of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) in the global order and the process of these states' relocation within international regimes. The module will explore the foreign policies of emerging powers in multilateral negotiations, focusing on the multilateral diplomacy of the BRICS in the core economic and security institutions of global governance. The changing role of the BRICS will be placed within a broader focus on the International Relations literatures on diplomacy, multilateralism and global governance. The primary aim of the module will be to show that the rise of the BRICS in the global order cannot be simply attributed to their economic growth, but is conditioned by their institutional and ideational resources, and their ability to promote the interests of their follower states.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Some statistical data on the material capabilities of emerging powers will be part of the course reading material.
Communication Students will learn how to communicate their ideas both verbally and in writing. They will know how to use and assess the various sources of information available and how to use the most relevant form of communication. They will learn to be clear and direct about the aims and objectives of their essays. They will learn to focus on the information which is relevant to the topic and the objectives of their argument or discussion. Seminars will be run in groups where oral discussion and presentations will comprise the main medium of teaching. Seminars will promote student participation and communication. Students will be encouraged to question and evaluate the paper which is presented each week, or to suggest and identify other arguments for analyzing the given topic. Students will submit their work in word-processed format and the presentation of their work is expected to reflect effective expression of ideas and good use of language skills.
Improving own Learning and Performance Students will be expected to improve their own learning and performance by undertaking their own research. Students will exercise their own initiative by searching for information and resources, compiling reading lists for their essays, and deciding on the direction of their essay and the country case study. Students will also develop skills related to time management through their preparation for each seminar and the need to meet the essay deadlines.
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 and databases.
Personal Development and Career planning Seminar discussions will help to develop students' verbal and presentation skills. Learning about the process of planning a written assignment, identifying the main aspects of the project, developing the project and seeing through to completion will contribute towards their portfolio of transferable skills.
Problem solving The module will require students to develop independent project work and problem solving skills. Students will be able to develop independent problem solving skills through the preparation and submission of the two essays. In addition, students will need to research in advance and prepare for the topics of seminar discussions; this process will enable the students to develop independent project skills. The ability of students to solve various problems will be developed and assessed by asking them to: adopt differing points of view; organize and assess information and estimate an answer to a given problem; assess different theoretical perspectives; compare and consider similar case-studies; identify patterns; divide issues into smaller problems.
Research skills The submission of the two essays will allow the students to develop independent research skills. The essays will require the students to conduct independent research on a country case study of the student's choice. Research skills will also be developed by locating appropriate resources and information and analyzing the results in the two essays.
Subject Specific Skills Students will have the opportunity to develop a wide range of subject specific skills that help them to understand, examine and assess the case studies and ideas of the module. These subject specific skills include: collecting and understand a wide range of data relating to the module, developing the ability to critically evaluate competing perspectives, developing subject specific research and problem solving techniques, and applying a range of methodologies to complex strategic problems.
Team work For many of the topics of this module, seminars will consist of small-group discussions where students will be asked to discuss as a group the core issues related to the seminar topic. These class discussions and debates form a significant part of the module, and will allow students to approach and examine a given topic through team work.


This module is at CQFW Level 7