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Foreign Policy Analysis

Course 2015-2016

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


Master students that started their studies in September 2015 can register for one seminar in uSis from Tuesday 8 December 10.00 hrs. until Tuesday 15 December 10.00 hrs.

For Master students that start their studies in February 2016 registration is possible from Wednesday 13 January 2016, 10.00 hrs. until 20 January 2016, 10.00 hrs. Please send an e-mail with your full name, student number and preference for your seminar courses to the Institute Secretariat at 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 1 February 2016.

Please note that elective seminars have a maximum number of participants and placement is subject to availability. Registration is on a first come first served basis.