PIM64-International Security Studies

Module Provider: Graduate Institute for Politics and International Studies
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2020/1

Module Convenor: Dr Andreas Behnke

Email: a.behnke@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:
This module introduces students to concepts and issues of international security with a particular focus on the changing logic of security in the post-cold war era.


This module provides students with a critical introduction into the nature and objectives of security politics from different perspectives. The module provides a concise review of traditional theories of security, before critically examining newly emerging concepts such as ‘human security’, ‘risk society’ and the way scholars and practitioners address new threats to security. It critically reflects on the emergence of new threats emerging from the ‘western way of war’. The module is the second core module for the MA in International Relations. 

Assessable learning outcomes:

During this module it is intended that students will develop:

  • an understanding of the changes that the end of the cold war have brought to the field of international security;

  • a clear appreciation of the impact and effects that new security issues have on government, the security forces, and international politics;

  • a nuanced understanding of the complexity; controversy and conceptual ambiguity involved in the study of internatio nal security and war;

  • an ability to approach theoretical debates and empirical case studies with diverse analytical tools.

Additional outcomes:

They will also be able to develop:

  • the ability to collate and evaluate arguments from different sources and perspectives;

  • the ability to formulate and articulate views coherently in written and oral forms

Outline content:

Personal and key skills:

Analytical, organisational, writing and presentation skills: Ability to select and assess quality materials on assigned topics, often using the internet; ability to organise and distil the essence of large amounts of information on contested issues, and prepare it for presentation orally and in writing; ability to understand the different sides of an argument, develop an independent view on debated questions, and support it effectively. 

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
A set of introductory lectures; student presentations and directed discussions in weekly seminars; independent study; individual consultations with lecturers as needed. Together with essay writing and examinations, these activities are designed to develop students' knowledge base as well as analytical skills.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 20
Guided independent study: 180
Total hours by term 200
Total hours for module 200

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 100

Summative assessment- Examinations:


Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Two summative essays of 3,000 words each including footnotes and references but excluding the bibliography, each of which will contribute towards 50% of the overall mark.

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:

The below information applies to students on taught programmes except those on Postgraduate Flexible programmes. Penalties for late submission, and the associated procedures, which apply to Postgraduate Flexible programmes are specified in the policy “Penalties for late submission for Postgraduate Flexible programmes”, which can be found here: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/files/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmissionPGflexible.pdf
The Support Centres will apply the following penalties for work submitted late:

  • where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.
The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

Assessment requirements for a pass:
50% overall module mark

Reassessment arrangements:

Re-assessments take place in August/September of the same year, or in April/May of the following year

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

  1. Required text books:

  2. Specialist equipment or materials:

  3. Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:

  4. Printing and binding: Students may incur photocopying costs for seminar reading or essay research at 5p per sheet.

  5. Computers and devices with a particular specification:

  6. Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

Last updated: 25 January 2021


Things to do now