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POL2110 : Security Studies

  • Offered for Year: 2020/21
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Katharine A. M. Wright
  • Owning School: Geography, Politics & Sociology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


This course will consider the historical development of Security Studies as an academic sub-discipline of International Relations. The module aims to equip students with knowledge of the major schools, approaches, traditions and debates within Security Studies.

The module deploys this theoretical vocabulary to examine a range of issues in international security of historical and contemporary significance and consider how they support or challenge theoretical standpoints.

Outline Of Syllabus

What is security? What can we know about security? Security is a contested concept and this module explores various different approaches to the study of security. It will consider questions such as: What does it mean to center the individual as the referent object of security? How does gender influence the experience of (in)security? What is the cost of state security to the individual? Is security desirable? Is security a gendered concept? Does a bipolar world support security and for whom? What does security look like for those positioned in the Global South? Each week will consider a particular aspect of security drawn from debates within Security Studies and will examine how we could account for (in)security. Students will also be exposed to a range of contemporary empirical examples which could include terrorism, the UN Women, Peace and Security agenda, climate change, asylum and immigration.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture112:0022:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching111:0011:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery22:004:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1163:00163:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The lectures introduce students to the key theoretical approaches within the sub-discipline of Security Studies, in the latter half of the module students will examine how these approaches relate to international security issues of contemporary and historical significance. The seminar activities allow students to participate in clarifying and exploring the approaches and issues underpinning the module. These support students in developing critical, analytical and oral communication skills. The essay and exam help to develop critical-analytical and written communication skills. Time management, planning and organisational skills are developed throughout the module.

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination901A70N/A
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written exercise1M301000 words
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The assessment for this module consists of two components, a critique and an exam. The critique will allow students to engage in-depth with a particular theoretical approach to international security. This will also help reinforce understanding of concepts presented and discussed in lectures and seminars. The critique is designed to feed forward into preparation for the exam through equipping students with the skills to write analytically and critically in the exam. The exam will allow students to critically engage with a Security Studies theory and apply it in the context of issues of contemporary and historical significance to international security. Both the critique and exam assess critical thinking, written communication and argumentation.

Reading Lists