nl en

Foreign Policy Analysis


The course description will be available in July 2014.

Course Description

Objective: 1. In this course students will learn:

  • about the main theories that explain foreign policy decision-making;

  • how to apply these theories to understand how foreign policy decisions are made;

  • to appraise how various factors shape foreign policy decisions;

  • to assess how various variables influence the implementation of foreign decisions.

Objective 2. Students will acquire the following skills:

  • appraise the strengths and limitations of theoretical approaches to foreign policy making;

  • identify evidence that supports or eliminates a particular approach in the context of one specific event;

  • write a research paper and select the theories that best explain the case given the evidence;

  • Present research findings in a clear, concise and convincing manner and offer policy recommendations.

Content: This seminar examines theories about how states formulate and implement foreign policy. The focus is on the sources of foreign policy decisions, as well as on the decision-making process. The seminar will offer an overview of the core theoretical approaches within the foreign policy analysis scholarship (e.g., rational choice, bureaucratic, domestic politics, psychological models). The objective will be to assess the contributions and limitations of each approach. In this context, the seminar will look at specific foreign policy events to test the application of key theories. The seminar aims to sharpen the students’ skills in critical thinking, research, writing, and presentation.

Methods of Instruction


Study Material

Book and articles


Friday 5 September until 19 December, 11.00-13.00 hrs in 1A03


Registration is possible from Tuesday 19 August 10.00 a.m. until Sunday 24 August. Please send an e-mail with your full name, student number and your preference for 2 seminars in the first semester to You will receive an auto-reply with a confirmation that we have received your e-mail. You will be informed about the seminars for which you have been registered before September 1.

Research Master students in principle follow the seminars which are ear marked for the Research Master. Research Master Students have to consult the study advisor Ms. Alma Caubo if they would like to choose this seminar.