Foreign Policy Analysis 1

This information is for the 2013/14 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Christopher Alden CLM 5.13


This course is compulsory on the BSc in International Relations. This course is available on the BSc in International Relations and History. This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit and to General Course students.

Course content

The course analyses various theoretical perspectives on foreign policy, and the means of conduct of the main actors in the international system towards each other. It focuses mainly, but not entirely, on states. Foreign Policy Analysis as a sub-discipline of IR; the problem of formulating goals and choosing policy instruments; the role of leadership and psychological elements in policy making; the rational actor model; bureaucratic politics; the impact of history and identity on foreign policy; domestic sources of foreign policy including public opinion, pressure groups and constitutions; the motivations underpinning foreign policy; the role and influence of transnational actors in relation to foreign policy making; foreign policy crises. The discussion classes combine a discussion of these themes with their application to the foreign policies of major powers in the international system. A detailed programme of lectures will be provided at the start of the session.


10 hours of lectures and 8 hours of classes in the MT. 10 hours of classes in the LT. 2 hours of classes in the ST.

Formative coursework

Students are required to write four essays of about 1,500 words each for their class teachers during the course and to make presentations in the discussion classes.

Indicative reading

C Alden and A Aran, Foreign Policy Analysis – New Approaches, Routledge, 2011; C Hill, The Changing Politics of Foreign Policy, Palgrave, 2003; Steven Hook (Ed), Comparative Foreign Policy: adaptation strategies of the Great and Emerging Powers, Prentice-Hall, 2002; S Smith, A Hadfield and T Dunne (Eds), Foreign Policies: Theories, Actors and Cases, Oxford University Press, 2007.

A full list of references will be provided at the start of the course.


Exam (100%, duration: 3 hours) in the main exam period.

Key facts

Department: International Relations

Total students 2012/13: Unavailable

Average class size 2012/13: Unavailable

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information