Foreign Policy Analysis III

This information is for the 2013/14 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Benjamin Dodge CLM 6.10


This course is available on the MSc in China in Comparative Perspective, MSc in Comparative Politics, MSc in International Affairs (LSE and Peking University), MSc in International Relations, MSc in International Relations (LSE and Sciences Po), MSc in International Relations (Research), MSc in International Relations Theory, MSc in Politics and Government in the European Union, MSc in Politics and Government in the European Union (LSE and Sciences Po) and MSc in Theory and History of International Relations. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

All students are required to obtain permission from the Teacher Responsible by completing the Student Statement box on the online application form linked to course selection on LSE for You. Admission is not guaranteed. 


Students need not have studied Foreign policy Analysis before, but some familiarity with theories of international relations and modern international history will be an advantage.

Course content

The ways in which international actors formulate decisions and strategies for dealing with other members of the international community. Critical examination of theoretical perspectives on foreign policy, involving the analysis of the foreign policy behaviour of a broad range of states through selective use of case studies. Development of the sub-discipline of Foreign Policy Analysis; the interplay between domestic and external forces; the organisation, psychology and politics of small-group decision-making; the impact of leadership and motivation upon foreign policy; the impact of public opinion, democracy and transitions upon foreign policy; the foreign policies of the major and middle powers as well as small/weak states; conventional and critical IR theories as applied to FPA; ethical foreign policy; foreign aid; geopolitics. Seminars discuss and expand on these topics, covering also questions of choice, rationality and identity and the significance of history and culture in foreign policy, as well as methodological issues, as appropriate. Students are expected to combine an interest in theoretical and comparative aspects of the subject with a solid knowledge of the main foreign policy issues and events of the contemporary era and the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. A detailed programme of lectures will be provided at the start of the session. Watch a short introductory video on this course:


10 hours of lectures and 12 hours of seminars in the MT. 10 hours of lectures and 15 hours of seminars in the LT. 1 hour and 30 minutes of seminars in the ST.

Formative coursework

All students who attend the seminar will be expected to write three 2,000 word essays for their seminar leader. Each student will also be expected to present at least one seminar topic.

Indicative reading

The following books are a necessary but not sufficient reading requirement. They provide access to most of the main themes of the course as well as to a considerable amount of empirical material: Graham Allison and Philip Zelikour, Essence of Decision, 2nd ed, Longman, 1999; Klaus Dodds, Global Politics: A Critical Introduction, Pearson Education, 2005; P T Hart, E K Stern & B Sundelius, Beyond Groupthink, University of Michigan Press, 1997; Christopher Hill, The Changing Politics of Foreign Policy, Palgrave, 2003; Steven Hook (Ed), Comparative Foreign Policy Adaption Strategies of the Great and Emerging Powers, Prentice Hall, 2002; Yuen Foong Khong, Analogies at War: Korea, Munich, Dien Bien Phu and the Vietnam Decisions of 1965, Princeton University Press, 1992; Caroline Lancaster, Foreign Aid: Diplomacy, Development, Domestic Policies, Chicago University Press, 2006; John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy, Allen Lane, 2007; Alex Mintz, ed., Integrating Cognitive and Rational Theory of Foreign Policy Decision-Making, Palgrave 2003; Volker Rittberger (Ed), German Foreign Policy Since Unification, Manchester University Press, 2001; Karen E Smith & Margot Light (Eds), Ethics and Foreign Policy, Cambridge University Press, 2001; Steve Smith, Amelia Hadfield and Timothy Dunne (Eds), Foreign Policy: Theories, Actors, Cases, Oxford University Press, 2007; David A Welch, Justice and the Genesis of War, Cambridge University Press, 2003. A more detailed reading list will be provided at the beginning of the course.


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

Student performance results

(2009/10 - 2011/12 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 17.2
Merit 55.2
Pass 24.6
Fail 3

Key facts

Department: International Relations

Total students 2012/13: 87

Average class size 2012/13: 15

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information