Foreign Policy Analysis III

This information is for the 2016/17 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof. Toby Dodge CLM 6.10


This course is available on the MSc in International Relations, MSc in International Relations (LSE and Sciences Po), MSc in International Relations (Research), MSc in International Relations Theory 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.

Students taking the MSc in China in Comparative Perspective, MSc in Comparative Politics, MSc in EU Politics, MSc in EU Politics (LSE and Sciences Po), MSc in International Affairs (LSE and Peking University) may be able to take this course if there is space but on previous years experience this is unlikely.

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 is essential.

Course content

The ways in which states 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 discipline of Foreign Policy Analysis; the interplay between domestic and external forces; the organisation, psychology and politics of decision-making; the impact of public opinion and state type upon foreign policy; the foreign policies of the major and middle powers as well as small/weak states; conventional and critical theories of FPA; ethical foreign policy. 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.

Students on this course will have a reading week in Week 6, in line with departmental policy.

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:

Chris Alden and Amon Aran, Foreign Policy Analysis: New Approaches: Understanding the diplomacy of war, profit and justice, Routledge, 2011;

Valerie M. Hudson, Foreign Policy Analysis: Classic and Contemporary Theory, Rowman and Littlefield, 2007:

Graham Allison and Philip Zelikour, Essence of Decision, 2nd ed, Longman, 1999;

Christopher Hill, The Changing Politics of Foreign Policy, Palgrave, 2003;

Yuen Foong Khong, Analogies at War: Korea, Munich, Dien Bien Phu and the Vietnam Decisions of 1965, Princeton University Press, 1992;

Steve Smith, Amelia Hadfield and Timothy Dunne (Eds), Foreign Policy: Theories, Actors, Cases, Oxford University Press, 2012;

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

(2012/13 - 2014/15 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 14.2
Merit 66.3
Pass 17.5
Fail 2

Key facts

Department: International Relations

Total students 2015/16: 69

Average class size 2015/16: 14

Controlled access 2015/16: Yes

Lecture capture used 2015/16: Yes (MT & LT)

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information