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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Social and Political Science : Politics

Undergraduate Course: Foundations in Global Security (PLIT10154)

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 discusses a range of contemporary security challenges providing a set of key concepts that help you develop an in-depth understanding of the post-Cold war geopolitical and strategic environment. It seeks to provide you with the analytical tools for analysing and assessing respective policy responses, and for developing critical perspectives that go beyond the mere explanation of political practice. In doing so, the course draws on a range of International Relations theories, illustrating ways in which various approaches can serve as a framework for analysing global and regional security. The course places particular emphasis on the dichotomy between problem-solving and critical approaches to the study of global security and this is also reflected in the way it is assessed: the policy brief challenges your problem-solving skills whereas the essay and the tutorial discussions give you room for critical reflection.
Course description International/inter-governmental aspects and the role of power politics take on a prominent place in this course but it also includes non-conventional security issues that transcend the traditionalist focus of conventional IR on states and formal actors alone, such as the role of transnational actors, civil society and NGOs as well as the strategic implications of globalization, climate change and the eradication of the nation state as a unit of analysis. Apart from weekly lectures and tutorials, the course also involves (optional) workshop sessions on i.a. policy brief and essay writing, security policy as a profession, and strategic gaming.
The course will cover the following themes (with slight variations according to contemporary developments)

1. The Contemporary Security Agenda
2. Analyzing Global Security
3. Policy Brief Information Session
4. Global and Regional Security Governance
5. Strategy in the Age of Terror: How to win Asymmetric Wars
6. Radicalisation: Explanations & potential lessons for policy
7. Just War and Targeted Killing
8. The Politics of Securitization (and Migration)
9. Security, Development and Inequality
10. Nuclear Orientalism and the Production of Danger
11. Security, Accountability and Civil Liberties

This course consists of one lecture plus one tutorial per week. Attendance of lectures and tutorials is compulsory and both are subject of participation assessment. There are 2-hours slots scheduled for each lecture but the main session will always be held in the first part. Any additional time is used for discussions, (voluntary) student contributions, coursework guidance, and, possibly, video streamings on related topics. The tutorials are designed to give students an opportunity to engage more deeply with the topics raised in the lecture, to discuss and share your ideas with other students and to develop your communication skills. The success of each session depends on your readiness to invest time in getting prepared and to engage in informed and critical discussions with other students. You will be given specific tutorial tasks each week to guide your reading.
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 Students MUST NOT also be taking Global Security (PLIT10094)
Other requirements Students who lack the compulsory pre-requisites but have completed comparable courses should contact the Course Organiser to confirm if they are eligible to take this course.
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisites Visiting 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 Office directly for admission to this course **
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  120
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 20, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 9, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 167 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 85 %, Practical Exam 15 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Policy Brief (1500 words) - 35%
Essay (2500 words) - 50%
Tutorial participation - 15%
Feedback Assessment will be by a policy brief on a range of set topics (35%), lecture and tutorial participation (15%) and an essay on a selection of set questions (50%). The policy brief aims to serve as an opportunity for students to test their ability to assess the nature of a problem and adopt a problem-solving approach. The essay in turn aims to assess students' ability to tackle a set question from a variety of perspectives, displaying critical thinking skills, using academic references and building on high-quality and peer-reviewed literature. The participation component is based on attendance and in-class participation in group discussion and exercises set by the course organiser.
Formative assessment: Students can consult with their tutors and/or the course organiser and lecturers on various components of assessment of this course.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. understand how Global Security theory applies to international security.
  2. understand key aspects of international security.
  3. search relevant literature and sources.
  4. develop presentation and discussion skills, nurtured in the tutorials.
  5. demonstrate factual knowledge about the post-cold war international system.
Reading List
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Consuelo Thiers
Course secretaryMr Ian McClory
Tel: (0131 6)50 3932
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