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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Social and Political Science : Postgrad (School of Social and Political Studies)

Postgraduate Course: International Security (PGSP11162)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe course will introduce students to the main theories and approaches to security through historical and contemporary security issues. The field of security studies has widened significantly over the past 25 years, moving from purely military questions to other issues such as the environment or migration, and from a systemic or state-level understanding to society and the individual (human security). The course starts by first engaging with how scholarly and practical understandings of security have evolved in the past decades. In order to do so, the course explores some key scholarly developments in the evolution of security studies, most notably by showcasing the difference between more traditional rationalist approaches with constructivist and critical ones. The course then explores the conceptual and empirical meaning of 'security' through a number of key issues and topics, including the changing nature of war, the security implications of new technologies such as drones and cyber weapons, private security companies, counter-terrorism and risk. The goal is to explore what these developing areas of empirical security research mean for the concept of 'security', how different theoretical lenses help us to answer empirical research questions in different ways, how 'new' approaches to security relate to 'traditional' approaches, and develop an appreciation of ongoing limitations and challenges in the field.
Course description - Classical security studies: an overview
- Critical security studies: an overview
- Wars, old and new (inc. the Revolution in Military Affairs and Network-Centric Warfare)
- Technology in counter-terrorism (inc. drones)
- Peacebuilding and intervention
- Securitization
- Energy and resource security
- Business and Security (including defence and arms trade, private military and security companies)
- The power of practitioners in international security
- Risk/Borders/Mobility
- Cyberwar and cybersecurity
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2015/16, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  61
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 176 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) This course is assessed by:

- 40% Literature Review of up to 1,500 words
- 60% Essay of up to 2,500 words

Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Have an extensive knowledge and critical understanding of some of the major approaches in international security studies
  2. Show a reflextive intellectual grasp of some of the most challenging security issues today
  3. Demonstrate an ability to apply specialised skills and analytical tools to a variety of empirical cases
  4. Demonstrate an ability to identify, conceptualise and define abstract problems and issues related to security
  5. Show transferable research skills such as advanced analytical thinking and communication skills
Reading List
Barry Buzan & Lene Hansen (2009), The Evolution of International Security Studies, (Cambridge University Press).
Roland Dannreuther (2007) International Security: The Contemporary Agenda (Polity).
John Baylis et al. (2010) Strategy in the Contemporary World: An Introduction to Strategic Studies 3rd Edition (Oxford University Press).
Collins, A. (ed.) (2010) Contemporary Security Studies, 2nd edition,. Oxford: Oxford University Press
Williams, Paul (ed) (2008) Security Studies: An Introduction, Routledge
Michael E. Brown et al (2005), New Global Dangers: Changing Dimensions of International Security
Barry Buzan, People, States and Fear: An Agenda for Security Studies (1991)
B. Buzan, O. Waever and J de Wilde, Security: A New Framework for Analysis (1998)
Keith Krause and M. Williams (eds), Critical Security Studies 1996
Bill McSweeney, Security, Identity and Interests: A Sociology of International Relations (Cambridge Studies in International Relations), CUP 1999
Michael Sheehan, International Security: An Analytical Survey
Michael E Smith, International Security: Politics, Policy, Prospects, Palgrave 2010
R Wyn-Jones, Security, Strategy and Critical Theory,1999
Joseph Nye, Understanding International Conflicts (2000)
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Andrew Neal
Tel: (0131 6)50 4236
Course secretaryMrs Gillian Macdonald
Tel: (0131 6)51 3244
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