Foreign Policy Analysis III

This information is for the 2019/20 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Jurgen Haacke CBG.9.01


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 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

Foreign Policy Analysis (FPA) looks at the way that decisions affecting external relations are made and shaped by actors within the state. This makes it distinct from approaches to International Relations that take the structure of the international system as a starting point for analysis. By understanding how decisions are shaped by domestic politics and structures and the rationality of decision-makers it is possible to arrive at new understandings of the foreign policies of individual states and to critique and enrich scholarship in the mainstream of International Relations. This course prepares students for such tasks by introducing them to the major theoretical approaches of FPA and how they can be applied to a range of case studies selected from a wide variety of states and international organisations.


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

Students will be expected to produce 1 essay in the MT and 2 essays in the LT.

All students will be expected to write three 2,500 word essays for their seminar leader. Each student will also be expected to present at least one seminar topic.

Indicative reading

  • Bureaucratic Politics: A Paradigm and Some Policy Implications in World Politics Article by Graham T. Allison and Morton H. Halperin 1972
  • Alden, Chris and Aran, Amnon, Foreign policy analysis: new approaches: understanding the diplomacy of war, profit and justice, (Abingdon: Routledge, 2016).
  • Smith, Steve, Hadfield, Amelia and Dunne, Tim, (eds.), Foreign policy; theory, actors, cases, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016).
  • Hudson, Valerie M., Foreign policy analysis; classic and contemporary theory (Latham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2013).
  • Neoclassical realism, the state, and foreign policy Book by Lobell, Steven E.; Ripsman, Norrin M.; Taliaferro, Jeffrey W. 2009


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

Student performance results

(2015/16 - 2017/18 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 14
Merit 54.1
Pass 30.9
Fail 1

Key facts

Department: International Relations

Total students 2018/19: 59

Average class size 2018/19: 12

Controlled access 2018/19: No

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information