module specification

GI7073 - Human Security (2023/24)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2023/24
Module title Human Security
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 20
School School of Social Sciences and Professions
Total study hours 200
40 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
160 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 60%   Essay 3,000 words
Individual Presentation 40%   30 Minute Recorded Presentation
Running in 2023/24

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Spring semester North Wednesday Afternoon

Module summary

Human Security is an approach to politics that focuses on the well-being of individuals and communities. Its particular focus is to identify and understand threats to peoples’ security that are not confined to armed conflict, not understood at the level of the state, and not encompassed by the general understanding of national security.

The goal of this module is to introduce a range of issues that have been construed as relevant to security in recent years, and which have changed and expanded the notion of security within the study of international relations. In the post-war period, and particularly since the end of the Cold War, it has become apparent that safety, peace and the pursuit of prosperity can be threatened in many ways other than by armed conflict.

This module will explore the concept of security as it is understood within the International Relations discipline. What has been the rationale for the development of a distinct concept of ‘human security’? What are the implications of the concept of human security for our understanding of security in the international system?  It will then examine the application of the concept to substantive problems and policy areas. These include the impact of poverty and inequality, gendered violence, the impact of environmental degradation, food insecurity, mass population movement, human trafficking and international crime. Finally, it will assess the impact of the concept on the strategies and policies of international organisations and states.

Prior learning requirements

None; Available for Study Abroad students


The syllabus will include:

1. What is Human Security?: Freedom from fear and want (1,2, 3)

2. Human Security and the impact of globalisation (2,3)

3. The gendering of Security (2,3)

4. Human Security and Development: poverty and inequality (2,3)

5. Environmental Degradation (2,3)

6. Food and Security (2.3)

7. Migration, Shelter and Hospitality (2.3)

8. Disease and security (2,3)

9. The impact on Human Security of Transnational Organised Crime (2,3)

10. Operationalising Human Security: States, International Organisations and the Human Security Network. (3,4)- Operationalising Human Security: the UN, the EU and Canada LO2

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

Learning and teaching combines lectures and seminars which will focus upon both contrasting views on Human Security and its utility.

Reflective and independent learning is encouraged through the research and writing of an Essay and students will also be required to create a presentation on a topic drawn from a list of “presentation themes”.

The module makes extensive use of blended learning, primarily through its dedicated Weblearn site. This includes interactive mail and discussion tools, module information, PowerPoint slides, full reading lists, information on key sources and importantly Recorded Lectures.

Students will be required to attend all classes, to engage in the set activities, to prepare in advance by attempting assigned readings, to complete coursework by deadlines, and to reflect and act on the feedback they receive.

Materials for use in class are posted in advance online to allow students time to reflect on the subject and prepare. Questions for class discussion are available in advance through the Weblearn site and a module booklet. This also includes an extensive list of resources that students can use to address the questions asked and understand the nature of the material in greater depth.

Learning outcomes

At the end of this module you will:

1. Gain an understanding of debates about the meaning of security within international relations and the rationale for the development of a concept of ‘human security’

2. Be able to demonstrate  a detailed knowledge and understanding of the human security debate in relation to specific problems and policy issues ranging from the environmental change through food insecurity to migration and international crime

3. Be able to demonstrate an understanding of the extent and limits of the impact of human security perspectives on the policies of the UN, EU and key states

4. Develop critical abilities to analyse primary and secondary resources focused on human security.

5. Enhance the capacity to work independently, demonstrating initiative, self-organisation and time-management, as well as co-operating with other students as partners to achieve common goals.

Assessment strategy

1. A take-home Essay: students are required to choose a question from a series of essay questions, conduct detailed research and write a concise and focused research paper which achieves in addressing the question directly. (3000 words – 60%)

2. A Recorded Presentation: Students will be required to submit a recording of a presentation on a topic drawn from a number of themes provided by the module leader. The presentation will need to be recorded, students will be expected to use slides and they will need to analyse the topic taking into account the conceptual tools available within the discipline. This will enable the module leader to ensure that they have grasped the key issues in the various debates and can critically assess the strengths and possible weaknesses of the arguments of the protagonists in the debates: (30 minute recorded presentation - 40%)



• E-International Relations - – One of the best open access websites for students and scholars of International Relations and Security Studies.
• The International Institute for Strategic Studies -
• The Centre for Strategic and International Studies -
• The European Union Institute for Security Studies -
• Royal United Services Institute -
• The Centre for Science and Security Studies at Kings College London -
• Center for Security Studies – ETH Zurich –
• Institute for Security Studies / Africa -
• Columbia International Affairs Online (CIAO) –
• The RAND Corporation –
• Stockholm International Peace Research Institute -
• Strategic Studies Institute –
• United States Institute of Peace – - Asia / Pacific Centre for Security Studies