IR5010 - Foreign Policy Analysis

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What will I learn on this module?

You will learn about the most significant issues and challenges of our times in the domain of foreign policy. While grounded in IR theory, you will be introduced to foreign policy analysis (FPA)-specific frameworks and levels of analysis such as to systems of governance, decision making structures and models, leadership analysis, the role of the media, public opinion and special interest groups. Empirically, you will learn about the foreign policy of key actors in the international system towards a region or set of issues such as, for example, US foreign policy towards the Middle East or international cooperation in the war against the Islamic State.

How will I learn on this module?

You will learn through lectures, seminars, and independent learning. The lectures will cover theories, frameworks of analysis and concepts that will enable you to engage critically with contemporary foreign policy issues and challenges as well as to examine and assess the processes of decision making and policy outcomes in the domain of foreign policy. You will engage in critical discussion and analysis with the lecturer and your peers in guided interactive seminars. Your learning will be supported by the electronic learning platform (eLP) and electronic reading lists. You will receive formative feedback during lectures and seminars, and also summative feedback that will assist you in improving future work in response to your assignments.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

Your tutors will support you throughout your time at Northumbria. Module tutors are available for feedback and consultation during set office hours, and you will be allocated a personal tutor for the duration of your degree with whom you may discuss your progress, your specific learning interests, and any personal or professional issues. Skills development will be part of your programme, in particular in relation to the dissertation.
The university additionally offers an extensive range of support service, including careers services, disability support services and learning support services (Library and skills).

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at:
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team –

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
1. Critically analyse and discuss the nature of contemporary foreign policy issues and challenges and evaluate their impact on global politics
2. Gain a sound understanding of theories, methods and frameworks specific to Foreign Policy Analysis (FPA) and be able to contextualise them within wider theoretical debates in the discipline of IR

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
3. Apply frameworks of analysis to emergent and contemporary challenges in order to present information to a professional audience
4. Synthesise and deploy a broad range of material and evidence to deconstruct academic and public arguments, as well as policy proposals, and propose new hypotheses

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
5. Apply discipline and inquiry knowledge to complex problems in their discipline and its professional practice in order to identify appropriate solutions, which are sustainable and justifiable

How will I be assessed?

You will be assessed by a 15 minute presentation analysing a contemporary foreign policy issue and its significance in global politics. As part of this assignment you are expected to author a handout that succinctly summarises the main points of your presentation.

A 2,500 word essay will assess your ability to contextualise contemporary foreign policy issues at the theoretical and empirical level, and understand and interrogate its implications for global politics.

The presentation (incl. handout) accounts for 40%, the essay for 60% of your overall mark.





Module abstract

How did the UK come to go to war in Iraq in 2003? What motivated the Trump administration to revoke the nuclear agreement with Iran? What factors shape a country’s foreign policy, who are the main actors in the foreign policy decision making process, and how are decisions implemented? And, ultimately, what are the main foreign policy issues and challenges facing our societies in the early 21st century? This module provides students with an in-depth overview of the field of foreign policy analysis (FPA), furnishing them with the knowledge and skills to conduct critical interrogations into foreign policy decision making, leadership, media, and public opinion analysis, as well as to critically examine the foreign policy of key international players such as, for example the Trump administration in the US, or via geo-strategic hotspots such as the Middle East. The module is aimed to provide students with a solid knowledge basis to support their professional development and to prepare them for future careers as for example government analysts or case officers in NGOs.

Course info

UCAS Code T700

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years full-time or 4 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Department Humanities

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2020

Fee Information

Module Information

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