Undergraduate Modules

Introduction to Security Studies

What is the nature of security in global politics? How have international organizations, states, and civil society actors responded to major security concerns? How can such actors make the world a safer place? This module examines historical and contemporary issues, including Cold War nuclear proliferation, deterrence and alliance formation and present-day terrorism, civil wars, human trafficking, and environmental security challenges and institutions, such as the United Nations, designed to prevent and redress these challenges.

On this module you'll be introduced to traditional state-centric definitions, non-traditional human-centric definitions and critical definitions of security. Youwill learn to analyse pressing security issues using the theoretical frameworks that inform our understanding of international security, including Realism, Securitization Theory, Critical Security Studies, and Feminism. The module uses these perspectives to take a critical look at state-building, immigration policy, counter-terrorism initiatives, humanitarian crises and many other aspects of world politics that affect our daily lives and our sense of feeling secure.


Topics are subject to change for 2016/17. Topics from previous years have included:

1. What is security?
2. Human security
3. The Critical turn; Securitisation Theory, Critical Security Studies and Feminist Security Studies.
4. The Security Dilemma; Nuclear weapons and alliances
5. Collective security and the UN
6. Insecure states; rogue, weak and failed states
7. Border security; migration and human trafficking
8. Terrorism and security
9. Energy and environmental security
10. Gender and security

First Year
Spring Semester
Module Code: POL114


  • 11 one-hour lectures
  • 11 one-hour seminars


  • One 2000-word essay
  • One two-hour exam