Timetable information in the Course Catalogue may be subject to change.

University Homepage
DRPS Homepage
DRPS Search
DRPS Contact
DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Social and Political Science : Politics

Undergraduate Course: The Political Psychology of World Leaders (PLIT10141)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course examines the impact individual leaders can have on international relations and politics, focusing on how psychological characteristics of political leaders influence political processes and outcomes, particularly in foreign policy.
Course description This course examines the impact individual leaders can have on international relations. It focuses on how psychological characteristics of political leaders influence political processes and outcomes, particularly in foreign policy. Students learn the research-based arguments about the importance of leaders in international relations and the ways in which leaders' experiences, beliefs, and personalities affect their conduct of foreign policy and other behaviours important in international politics (such as international organisational leadership and multilateral negotiations). This course covers non-psychological approaches, non-personality psychological approaches, and several personality approaches, especially Operational Code Analysis and Leadership Trait Analysis., A theme of the course is how leaders' psychological traits interact with political contexts. While the focus is on theories, concepts and methods used to study world leaders generally, the course includes specific examples of leaders from around the world. This course runs as a seminar, with no traditional lecture time. Students conduct their own political personality profiles of leaders as part of the course assessment requirements.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: Introduction to Politics and International Relations (PLIT08004) OR Politics in a Changing World: An Introduction for non-specialists (PLIT08012) OR Politics and International Relations 1A: Concepts and Debates (PLIT08017)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students should have at least 4 Politics/International Relations courses at grade B or above (or be predicted to obtain this). We will only consider University/College level courses.

** as numbers are limited, visiting students should contact the Visiting Student Section for admission to this course **
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate knowledge of and critically evaluate ways to explain, classify, and study political leadership in international relations.
  2. Evaluate political leadership across different forms and contexts in the international system.
  3. Recognise, clearly explain, and assess the central arguments, debates, and research questions from scholarly research on the political psychology of leadership.
  4. Carry out an applied research project which employs established theories and methods for assessing world leaders.
Reading List
Badie, D (2010). Groupthink, Iraq, and the War on Terror: Explaining US policy shift toward Iraq," Foreign Policy Analysis 6(4).
Cuhadar, E, Kaarbo, J, Kesgin, B, & Ozkececi-Taner, B (2017). Personality or Role? Comparisons of Turkish Leaders Across Different Institutional Positions. Political Psychology 38(1).
Dyson, SB and MJ Parent (2018) 'The Operational Code Approach to Profiling Foreign Political Leaders: Understanding Vladimir Putin,' Intelligence and National Security 33(1).
Jentleson, B (2018) The Peacemakers: Leadership Lessons From Twentieth-Century Statesmanship.
Post, JM (2014). "Personality profiling analysis. In Rhodes. & t'Hart, (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Political Leadership.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills By the end of the course students should have strengthened their skills in:
- cognitive skills of evaluation and critical analysis (through course discussion and assessments);
- written and verbal communication skills (through course discussions and assessments, numeracy (with some readings and course discussion and some options in final assessment involving statistical analyses) and IT skills (by learning a computer programme, ProfilerPlus); and
- working effectively as an autonomous researcher (in their assessments).
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserProf Juliet Kaarbo
Tel: (0131 6)50 4252
Course secretary
Help & Information
Search DPTs and Courses
Degree Programmes
Browse DPTs
Humanities and Social Science
Science and Engineering
Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
Other Information
Combined Course Timetable
Important Information