AHME01-Contemporary British Foreign Policy: Issues, themes and challenges

Module Provider: Leadership, Organisations and Behaviour
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring / Summer module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2018/9

Module Convenor: Dr Adam Humphreys

Email: a.r.humphreys@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

This module provides an advanced introduction to the academic study of contemporary British foreign policy.  It explores the political context, both domestic and international, in relation to which the Army must operate and contextualizes the UK military as one among a number of instruments the UK uses to pursue its interests.


The module aims to: 

• Develop a deeper understanding of the political context, both domestic and international, in relation to which the Army must operate;

• Provide an insight into a range of non-military means by which the UK seeks to promote its national interests;

• Enable students to articulate a clear understanding of the broad contours of British foreign policy;

• Cultivate the critical skills, awareness, and understanding necessary to recognize, evaluate, and explain current and future developments in British foreign policy. 

Assessable learning outcomes:

By the end of the module it is expected that students will be able to demonstrate:

• Knowledge of a range of ideas, assumptions, and values which drive British foreign policy;

• Understanding of a range of means by which the UK seeks to promote its interests;

• An ability to contextualize the role of the military instrument as a part of UK foreign and defence policy;

• Knowledge and understanding of a range of academic arguments about aspects of British foreign policy, broadly understood, and about the political context in which it operates;

• An ability to reflect critically on the significance of the module subject matter for the Army and for individuals’ roles within the Army;

Additional outcomes:

The module also aims to:

• Develop students’ ability to think critically about the uses and limitations of evidence in relation to British foreign policy;

• Develop students’ ability to think critically about specific security challenges facing the UK and the different ways in which these may be addressed;

• Develop the knowledge and skills required to undertake an extended research project on aspects of contemporary British foreign policy in the broader context of the MSc Executive pathway.

Outline content:

The module explores a range of topics designed to build on and further develop students’ existing understanding of the contemporary security environment, the aims of British foreign policy, and the range of tools the UK uses to promote its interests.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

Students are required to:

• Work through a series of on-line teaching materials, including slides, videos, and practical activities;

• Read extensively from the supporting literature;

• Reflect on the module content and readings individually and through contributions to online discussion fora;

• Complete a variety of formative on-line tests and exercises that assess knowledge of the module material;

• Complete summative assignments on various aspects of the module.


Contact hours below are shown in the Autumn term for illustrative purposes only. 

For clarity, in the table below, the 'lectures' are online, the 'practical classes and workshops' refer to structured online activities and the 'guided independent study' is broken down into 18 hours of embedded reading and 70 hours of guided independant study.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 6
Practicals classes and workshops 6
Guided independent study 88
Total hours by term 100.00
Total hours for module 100.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 50
Portfolio 40
Set exercise 10

Summative assessment- Examinations:

No examinations

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Essay (1500 Words) 50%

Reflective Portfolio 40%

Participation and Engagement (referred to as 'Set Exercise' in summative assessment table above) 10%

Formative assessment methods:

These may include:

• A formative essay

• Quizzes and multiple choice questions

• Discussion fora

Penalties for late submission:

Penalties for late submission on this module will be applied in accordance with the arrangements for the programme as a whole.


Assessment requirements for a pass:

50% Overall

Reassessment arrangements:

Any arrangements for reassessment will be made in accordance with the principles applying to the programme as a whole. 

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

Last updated: 4 July 2018


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