IR444      Half Unit
Strategy in Action

This information is for the 2015/16 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Michael Cox COL2.05A


This course is available on the MSc in International Strategy and Diplomacy. This course is not available as an outside option.

Course content

In this course we will be examining through lectures, seminars and workshops four major foreign policy decisions, the diplomatic background to each of these and the strategic thinking behind them. We will be asking the students through group exercises to prepare a strategy and policy paper relevant to the day.


8 hours of seminars in the ST.

The course is taught over 48 hours. This includes 3 intense sessions - a weekend of assessing strategic decisions involving drafting and crafting papers, a second weekend of formulating strategic decisions and briefing sessions on methodology. All these will lay the foundations for the dissertation plan.

Formative coursework

Group discussion and formulation of strategy/policy papers.

Indicative reading

1. Maastricht - case study: Finn Laursen (Editor), Sophie Vanhoonacker (Editor), The Ratification of the Maastricht Treaty: Issues, Debates and Future Implications (1994) 2. Middle East - case study: Daniel C. Kurtzer and Scott B. Lasensky, Negotiating Arab-Israeli Peace: American Leadership in the Middle East (United States Institute of Peace Press, 2008). 3. Northern Ireland - case study: Michael Cox, Fiona Stephen and Adrian Guelke, A Farewell to Arms; After the Good Friday Agreement (2006) 4. The decision to go to war against Iraq - case study: John Kampfner, Blair's Wars 5.National Security Strategy of the United States, 2003 6. European Security Strategy, 2003


Dissertation (100%, 3000 words) in the LT.

The formulation of a dissertation topic which must be in the form of a 3,000 word dissertation plan (100%). This should include the title, an abstract, a problem statement which should identify the features and theoretical concepts associated with the topic, the aims and objectives (including research questions or hypotheses), a literature review and the methodology. This module is taken in conjunction with IR496 Dissertation: MSc Diplomacy and International Strategy (1.5 units).

Key facts

Department: International Relations

Total students 2014/15: 27

Average class size 2014/15: Unavailable

Controlled access 2014/15: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information