module specification

GI6005 - International Security in an Era of Globalisation (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title International Security in an Era of Globalisation
Module level Honours (06)
Credit rating for module 30
School School of Social Sciences
Total study hours 300
81 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
219 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 40%   Regional Report (2000 words)
Coursework 60%   Research Essay (3000 words)
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year North Tuesday Morning

Module summary

Since the late 1980s, the implications of globalisation – economic, cultural, political, and technological – have become central to our understanding of international relations. The end of the Cold War initially brought widespread hopes for (1) enhanced international co-operation between both state and non-state actors, as well as (2) fresh commitment to strengthening the role of international organisations, especially the United Nations. These developments would, it was hoped, facilitate attempts to address a range of what were widely perceived to be issues with global relevance, including: economic and social injustices, armed conflicts, international terrorism, an increasing world population, human rights abuses, and environmental degradation.

The rise of these new, often non-military issues, has challenged existing concepts of international security, and highlighted how this and the multifaceted processes of globalisation are interlinked.

Clearly, assessment of so broad and abstract a collection of concepts is a difficult task. Nevertheless, to investigate the possibility that contemporary globalisation refers to qualitatively different global processes and relationships that have not existed before, the module examines factors which might constitute a new phase in International Relations and, by implication, International Security.  There are clearly many problems facing the world community that must be solved by a means of a different set of policies, but the one thing they all have in common is that they are now all a function of security and therefore cannot be ignored.

Module aims

The broad aims of this module are to understand the fundamentals of security studies and its importance in an increasingly connected world. In particular to:

  • Think in broad, conceptual terms about the changes in international security occasioned by the impact of globalisation, especially since the end of the Cold War in 1989, and evaluate the differing interpretations of its development and assess the processes through which it has occurred over time.
  • Understand “Security” conceptually in both its international and national contexts.
  • Evaluate the contested terrain of globalisation and security issues.


  • Exploring the globalisation debate
  • Traditional approaches to achieving security in a highly globalised world
  • The individual as the key referent object
  • Feminism and security
  • War and its causes
  • The United Nations as a global actor. Its role in maintaining peace
  • Nuclear proliferation
  • Terrorism
  • Globalisation, democracy and human rights
  • Religion and security
  • The globalisation of crime
  • Small arms
  • The role of intelligence
  • Cyber security
  • NATO as an increasingly global actor. Its role in enhancing regional and global security
  • Economic security
  • Environmental security and climate change as transnational problems
  • Territorial resource and energy security conflicts
  • Natural disasters and the global response
  • Health and food security in a world of population pressure
  • Land and sea boundary disputes
  • The commercialisation of security.
  • What future for globalisation and its impact on security

Learning and teaching

Teaching consists of a weekly one hour lecture followed by a one hour tutorial. Lectures will involve a combination of taught lectures, videos, the use of primary and secondary documents and websites. During the module seminars will combine a variety of methods including discussion based on pre-set questions and role plays. Blended Learning will be a key component of the module. Lecture notes and primary and secondary documents for use in class will be posted on line, as will web links for academic and governmental websites, as well as video links.  Some recorded material by the module convenor may also be made available on line and by e-mail.

Materials for use in class will be posted at least one week in advance on line to allow students to reflect on the subject and prepare. Questions for class discussion will be available from the beginning of the module via the Module Booklet available on WebLearn, which will include a list of resources students can use to answer the questions and study the subject in greater depth.

Reflective learning will be encouraged at all stages of the module, with the emphasis being on developing independent learning skills. At Level 6 it is expected that students will be able to carry out independent research, deep learning, and analysis. This is reflected in the percentage of time the module allows students to carry out guided independent study (80%), building on skills developed at Levels 4 and 5, and encouraging students to expand their abilities in preparation for the workplace or postgraduate study.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this module students should:

  • Be able to understand and analyse the nature of the systematic changes in international security since the onset of globalisation and  determine the forces of globalisation that have shaped, and are shaping, its development;
  • Be able to assess and critically analyse the major security issues faced by the international community
  • Understand the central role played by international organisations, specifically the United Nations, in the maintenance of international peace and security, in the post-Cold War era, and the relationship between state and non-state actors.
  • Question the ethical dimensions of the Westphalian order based on notions of sovereignty and narrow State interests and determine whether theories highlighting human emancipation need to be strengthened.

The Module will also encourage students to develop a range of important Generic Skills much wanted by employers of all types.

  • The ability to communicate effectively in speech (the ability to work under pressure in seminars, where students must demonstrate the ability to respond to questions orally) and writing (for example, writing an essay or book review using commonly accepted standards of definition, analysis, grammatical prose, and documentation);
  • The ability to work under pressure within specified time constraints, e,g, during seminar discussions and a two hour unseen examination. 
  • Research skills, including the ability to synthesise and analyse arguments, to read and understand texts on international relations, and to exercise critical judgement;
  • The capacity to work independently, demonstrating initiative, self-organisation and time-management, as well as co-operating with other students to achieve common goals.

Assessment strategy

A first formative piece of work in the form of a 500 word briefing paper on a particular country/ region. This will enable students to reflect on what they have learnt to date and form the basis of the first summative assessment.

A first summative piece will be a 2,000 word Regional Report. This will test a student’s understanding of the security dynamics of a chosen region in the post-Cold War era. 

A second summative piece of work will be an essay of 3000 words which will provide students with the opportunity to submit a major piece of work of their choosing on a key element of the module. This will enable students to develop further many of the employability skills introduced during the formative assessment, in addition to writing, reflecting on what they have learnt and making use of constructive feedback.



  • Peter Hough, Shahin Malik, Andrew Moran, Bruce Pilbeam, International Security Studies, Theory and Practice, London, Routledge, 2015.
  • Collins, Alan, Contemporary Security Studies, 4thEdition, Oxford University Press, 2015.
  • Jeff Haynes, Peter Hough, Shahin Malik and Lloyd Pettiford, World Politics, International Relations and Globalisation in the 21st Century,2ndEdition, Sage, 2017.
  • Nye, Joseph S., Understanding International Conflicts: an Introduction to Theory and History, 7th Edition, New York, Pearson Longman, 2008.
  • Hough, Peter, Understanding Global Security, 2nd Edition, Routledge, 2008.
  • Morgan, Patrick M., International Security: Problems and Solutions, Washington, CQ Press, 2006.
  • Kolodziej, Edward A., Security and International Relations, Cambridge University Press, 2005.

On-line resources include:

  • Foreign Policy at;
  • Foreign Affairs at;
  • The Washington Quarterly at;
  • and the Journal of International Affairs at;

• An increasing number of e-books and journal articles are also available via the university library.