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POL2110 : Security Studies

  • Offered for Year: 2021/22
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Katharine A. M. Wright
  • Owning School: Geography, Politics & Sociology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


This course will consider the concept of security in the study of international relations. The module aims to equip students with knowledge of different approaches to security and consider how these relate to debates within Security Studies as sub discipline of International Relations.

The module deploys this conceptual vocabulary to examine a range of issues in international security of historical and contemporary significance, and considers how they support or challenge competing approaches to security.

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? Is security desirable? Is security possible? How are race and empire implicated in security? Is security a gendered concept? What is the cost of state security to the individual? Students will consider different conceptualisations of security drawn from debates within Security Studies and will examine how they could be used to account for (in)security. Students will also be exposed to a range of empirical examples of new security challenges which could include climate change, health pandemics, the UN Women, Peace and Security agenda, climate change, and asylum and immigration.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture111:0011:00Lecture present in person
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials111:0011:00Recorded online lecture
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching111:0011:00Seminar present in person
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities113:0033:00Guided reading; seminar preparation
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1134:00134:00Further reading, independent research, assessment preparation and completion
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The lectures introduce students to the key theoretical approaches within the sub-discipline of Security Studies and provide an opportunity to examine how these approaches relate to international security issues of contemporary and historical significance. The seminars allow students to participate in clarifying and exploring the approaches and issues underpinning the module through discussion based on assigned readings. These support students in developing critical, analytical and oral communication skills.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written exercise2M201000 word reflective blog
Essay2M802500 word essay
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The assessment for this module consists of two components, a reflective blog and a timed essay. The reflective blog will enable students to consider a security issue of their choice and reflect critically on their own positionality to it. This will also help reinforce understanding of concepts engaged with in the learning material and discussed in webinars. The reflective blog is designed to feed forward into preparation for the timed essay through equipping students with the skills to write analytically and critically. The timed exam will allow students to critically engage with different concepts of security and apply it in the context of issues of contemporary and historical significance to international security. Both the reflective blog and times essay assess critical thinking, written communication and argumentation.

Reading Lists