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International Security



Purpose: 1. Enable students to think in a more theoretically rigorous and analytic manner about security issues. 2. Provide insight into the relation of security to the broader field of International Relations.

Content: This course is designed as an undergraduate survey of the foundations of international security and contemporary issues building on the first-year International Relations course. It introduces students to general theories, concepts and debates in the sub-field, and applies them to a set of more specific topics in present-day global security. Classes combine theoretical, conceptual and empirical themes, covering such historical topics as WWI, WWII, and the Cold War, and a range of contemporary challenges, including genocide, terrorism, US-China relations, and the Iranian nuclear program.

Methods of Instruction

The course will normally be divided into two, two-hour sessions each week. The classes are almost exclusively lectures. Workgroups combine review of the lecture material, close reading, help with written assignments, student debates and simulations.

Study Material

Course materials include a textbook, book chapters, journal articles, and online materials, including films and newspapers.


The final grade comprises four elements: attendance and active participation in the workgroups count for 10 per cent; a 1,800 word briefing counts towards 30 per cent; a 200 word policy statement and participation in a Security Council simulation counts toward 15 per cent; and a final exam rounds out the remaining 45 per cent.

Attendance and Participation – 10 per cent
Students are expected to attend the scheduled workgroups having read the assigned material and participate actively and constructively. Students are permitted one unexcused absence; any additional missed workgroups require a valid excuse communicated to the instructor via email.

Special Representative of the United Nations to Syria Assignment – 30 per cent
Writing as a UN special envoy to Syria, prepare a 1,800 word (+/- 200) confidential briefing to the UN Secretary-General recommending specific actions around the crisis to end civilian suffering and bring about a viable political solution to the crisis. Base the briefing on original research and cite sources appropriately.

UN Security Council simulation – 15 per cent
Prepare a 200 word (+/- 50) statement outlining the position of your assigned state on a proposed Security Council resolution, and then participate in a simulated Security Council meeting. Research and reference the previous policies and statements of your assigned actor around the crisis and explain how your support/opposition to the proposed resolution furthers the interests and values at stake for your actor.

Final Exam – 45 per cent

First opportunity for an exam
Thursday 19 december 2013, 13.00-16.00 hrs in the USC

Second opportunity for an exam
Tuesday 21 January 2014, 13.00-16.00 hrs in the USC

The course grade will be based on an exam and work group assignments.



Monday 28 October until 9 December, 11.00-13.00 hrs in SA41
Tuesday 10 December, 11.00-13.00 hrs in SA41
Thursday 31 October until 12 December, 11.00-13.00 hrs in 1A20 (except 28 November in SA41)


Workgroup 1: Friday 1 November until 13 December, 9.00-11.00 hrs in SA31
Workgroup 2: Friday 1 November until 13 December, 9.00-11.00 hrs in SA37
Workgroup 3: Friday 1 November until 13 December, 11.00-13.00 hrs in 1A12 (except 6 & 13 December in 1A22)
Workgroup 4: Friday 1 November until 13 December, 11.00-13.00 hrs in 1A24 (except 1 November in 5A23)
Workgroup 5: Friday 1 November until 13 December, 15.00-17.00 hrs in 5B14
Workgroup 6: Friday 1 November until 13 December, 15.00-17.00 hrs in SA29

Entrance Requirements