module specification

GI7073 - Human Security (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Human Security
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 20
School School of Social Sciences
Total study hours 200
155 hours Guided independent study
45 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Seminar 25%   Seminar Assessment
Coursework 75%   Essay 3000 worlds
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Spring semester North Tuesday Afternoon

Module summary

This module examines the development of the concept of Human Security within the discipline of International Relations. It will explore its implications for our broad understanding of security. It will then examine its application to specific problems and policy areas ranging from the environment to food and disease. Finally, it will examine the concept’s operationalisation by key international bodies, such as the UN and the EU, and by individual states.

Module aims

This module will explore the concept of security as it is understood in 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 environmental degradation, 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.


- What is Human Security?: Freedom from fear and want

- Human Security and Development: poverty and inequality

- The gendering of Security

- Environmental Degradation

- Food and Security

- Migration, Shelter and Hospitality

- Disease and security

- Operationalising Human Security: the UN, the EU and Canada

Learning and teaching

This module will be taught through a mixture of lectures and seminars. It will also exploit weblearn to deliver materials (reading, seminar materials, video material, feedback) which can support seminar work and the independent learning of students.

Students will be required to present to and participate in seminar discussions and debates that will focus on both on conceptual debate and the examination of specific policy problems and initiatives.

Learning outcomes

At the end of this module students 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. Gain 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. Understand the extent and limits of the impact of human security perspectives on the policies of the UN, EU and key states

Assessment strategy

There will then be two forms of summative assessment on this module:

3000 word essay. This will constitute 75% of the overall assessment. Titles to be provided by tutor

Seminar participation. 25% of marks will be awarded seminar participation. This part of the assessment will be based on two broad components. Firstly, marks will be awarded for general participation in class discussion from week to week. Secondly, students will be required to make a presentation to the class on an agreed topic.


P. Hough, Understanding Global Security, Routledge, new ed. 2013 (ebook).
A. Sen  Development as Freedom, OUP, 2001
R. Wilkinson and K. Pickett The Spirit Level: Why Equality is Better for Everyone, Penguin, London, 2009.
C. Hughes, Security Studies, Routledge, 2006.
M. Kaldor Human Security: Reflections on Globalization and Intervention, Polity,
S. Tadjbakhsh and A. Chenoy Human Security Concepts and Implications, Routledge, 2008
S. MacFarlane and Y. Khong Human Security and the UN: A Critical History, Indiana University Press, 2006.
United Nations Trust Fund for Human Security Human Security in Theory and Practice ,

A Hunter, Human Security Challenges, CPRS, 2013