Module Catalogue 2022/23

GEO3102 : Geopolitics

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Ingrid A. Medby
  • Lecturer: Dr Matt Benwell, Professor Simon Tate, Dr Craig Jones
  • Owning School: Geography, Politics & Sociology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 10.0
Pre Requisites
Code Title
GEO2047Political Geography
Pre Requisite Comment

Students must have studied GEO2047 Political Geography so they have the required background political geography knowledge that this module builds on.

Co Requisites
Co Requisite Comment



Building on themes introduced in GEO247 Political Geography, this course aims to give students an advanced understanding of geopolitical traditions, concepts and contemporary practices. In doing so, students will be equipped with the skills to critically analyse the creation, communication and reproduction of geopolitical ideas. It introduces students to the ideas of key geopolitical thinkers as well as a number of contemporary geopolitical practices and case studies, drawn from the lecturers’ own research interests.

Outline Of Syllabus

GEO3102 Geopolitics runs as a long, thin module across both semesters. Teaching is divided between two sections. Section 1 is shorter and will be completed in the first 6-8 weeks of semester 1; Section 2 is longer and will cover the remainder of semester 1 and all of semester 2.

Section 1 – Geopolitical concepts
In this section of the module, students will engage with a range of geopolitical thinkers and concepts. This will be taught through a number of lectures focused on the history and evolution of geopolitics as a set of connected ideas, the issues and challenges associated with these ideas, and specific concepts that have emerged within geopolitical scholarship over the last 20 years.

Section 2 – Geopolitical practices
In this section of the module, students will engage with a series of research-led lectures that focus on how geopolitical practices are visible in the world today. These may include issues such as the US-UK special relationship, war and violence in the Middle East, and the projection of state power in maritime and aerial spaces.

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

By the end of the module students will:

1. Be able to understand the tenets and background of geopolitics and be able to critically evaluate the position of the sub-discipline in relation to broader geographical and political enquiry
2. Be able to critically evaluate the relationship between geopolitical ideas and the practice of international politics
3. Be able to apply geopolitical ideas to understand a broad range of geopolitical case studies.
4. Be able to critically evaluate the production of geopolitical knowledge, including the various means by which this knowledge is communicated and reproduced
5. Be able to critically evaluate the interrelations between formal, practical and popular geopolitical ideas and practices

Intended Skill Outcomes

By the end of the module students will have developed:

1. The ability to summarise, assess, explain and critically evaluate different geopolitical theories and arguments
2. The ability to interpret, evaluate and critically reflect on geopolitical events in the news by applying relevant theories and approaches
3. The ability to formulate, present, defend and revise reasoned arguments,assessed through written work and presentations.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture162:0032:00All taught material will be delivered in 2 hour lecture blocks
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery21:002:002 x 1hr optional drop-in assessment surgery sessions split between teaching team.
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1163:00163:00Students will use this time to read around the lectures and prepare their assessments
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesScheduled on-line contact time31:003:00These 3 hours will be delivered online to introduce the module and the assessments
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

This module is split into two sections. The first section aims to provide an advanced engagement with key geopolitical concepts. This will include analysis of the history of geopolitical scholarship, and introduce cutting-edge contemporary developments in geopolitical thinking. The second section of the module refocuses to provide a series of lectures from members of the teaching team, in which they will draw on their own geopolitical research to illustrate how geopolitical concepts can be utilised to investigate and analyse the world today.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1M40Essay focusing on materials discussed in section 1 - 2000 words. Set in teaching week 2.
Oral Examination2M60Presentation linked to contemporary geopolitical events, related to materials discussed in section 2. Set in teaching week 2
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

This module provides students with two different types of assessment. In semester 1 students will choose one essay question from a list provided by the module's teaching tem. These will focus on the theories and approaches to geopolitics introduced in section 1 of the module. The essay assesses students’ knowledge and understanding of geopolitical concepts and their application, and tests their ability to summarise, assess, explain and evaluate different theories and arguments. In section 2 of the module, students will be introduced to case studies that apply geopolitical approaches to real world examples. The assessment in semester 2 will require students to produce an oral presentation linking current geopolitical research to a contemporary real world example. The presentation aims to assess students’ ability to make connections between academic literature and contemporary events, by selecting a relevant geopolitical case study from within and/or beyond the module and using geopolitical approaches to analysis to summarise, assess, explain and critically reflect on the coverage it has received in the media.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2022/23 academic year. In accordance with University Terms and Conditions, the University makes all reasonable efforts to deliver the modules as described. Modules may be amended on an annual basis to take account of changing staff expertise, developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Module information for the 2023/24 entry will be published here in early-April 2023. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.