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Last modified: 22 May 2019 17:07

Course Overview

This course explores salient concepts of security and conflict, focusing on contemporary issues and problems.  It examines traditional, state-centred topics ie. interstate and intrastate war, as well as the ‘new security agenda’  involving issues like terrorism, organized crime, environmental security, health security and population trends.  Students will gain knowledge of international security and its role in contemporary International Relations through analysis of conceptual factors and case studies.  In addition, students will develop critical thinking skills, communication skills and analytical skills, including being able to formulate lucid, concise and rigorous accounts of international security affairs.

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 3
Session First Sub Session Credit Points 30 credits (15 ECTS credits)
Campus Old Aberdeen Sustained Study No
  • Professor Michael Smith

Qualification Prerequisites

  • Programme Level 3

What courses & programmes must have been taken before this course?

  • Either International Relations (IR) (Studied) or Politics (PI) (Studied)
  • Any Undergraduate Programme (Studied)

What other courses must be taken with this course?


What courses cannot be taken with this course?

  • IR3001 International Security (Studied)
  • IR3016 International Security (Studied)
  • IR3516 International Security (Studied)
  • IR3518 International Security (Studied)

Are there a limited number of places available?


One or more of these courses have a limited number of places. Priority access will be given to students for whom this course is compulsory. Please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions for more details on this process.

Course Description

The course looks at the idea of international security from a wide range of perspectives. It considers the debates over the continuing dominance of military and state-based approaches to security, examining the arguments for the widening of the security agenda. In addition to this conceptual approach, the course looks at specific case-studies of security issues in the modern world in order to illustrate the implications of widening the security agenda.

Further Information & Notes


Available only to students in Politics OR International Relations degrees.

Degree Programmes for which this Course is Prescribed


Contact Teaching Time

33 hours

This is the total time spent in lectures, tutorials and other class teaching.

Teaching Breakdown

  • 2 Lectures during University weeks 7 - 17
  • 1 Tutorial during University weeks 8 - 17

More Information about Week Numbers

Summative Assessments

1st Attempt

  • 3-hour examination (50%)
  • 3000-word essay (30%)
  • Tutorial projects (20%)


  • Examination (60%); in-course grades will be carried forward.

Formative Assessment

There are no assessments for this course.


Written feedback will be provided for continuous assessment work. This will normally be provided within three weeks of the submission date. Oral feedback on class presentations will also be provided where appropriate.

Course Learning Outcomes


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