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GEO3102 : Geopolitics

  • Offered for Year: 2023/24
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Ingrid A. Medby
  • Lecturer: Dr Alison Williams, Professor Simon Tate, Dr Craig Jones, Dr Matt Benwell
  • Owning School: Geography, Politics & Sociology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


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 short, semester-long module, allowing a deep-dive into geopolitical issues and concepts through regular (bi-weekly) sessions. The structure can be divided into two sections:

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.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture142:0028:00Taught material will usually be delivered in 2 hour 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 study1167:00167:00Students 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 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.

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 Examination1M60Presentation 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. First, students will choose one essay question from a list provided by the module's teaching team. 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 second assessment 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.

Reading Lists