Foreign Policy Analysis III

This information is for the 2021/22 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Federica Bicchi CBG.9.11


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) 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 online application form linked to course selection on LSE for You.

This course has a limited number of places (it is controlled access). In previous years we have been able to provide places for most students that apply, but that may not continue to be the case.


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 policies affecting external relations are made and shaped by actors within the state, but also below and above the state level. 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 policies are shaped by domestic and international politics and structures, 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 concepts and approaches of FPA, and applying them to a range of case studies selected from a wide variety of states and international organisations.


This course is delivered through a combination of classes and lectures totalling a minimum of 40 hours across Michaelmas and Lent Term. This year, some or all of this teaching will be delivered through a combination of online lectures and in-person classes/classes delivered online. 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 two 1,500 word essays for their seminar leader (1 essay in the MT and 1 essay in the LT). Students will also be expected to present one seminar topic.

Indicative reading

  • Alden, Chris and Aran, Amnon, Foreign policy analysis: new approaches: understanding the diplomacy of war, profit and justice, (Abingdon: Routledge, 2016).
  • Hudson, Valerie M., Foreign policy analysis; classic and contemporary theory (Latham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2019).
  • Morin, Jean-Frédéric, and Jonathan Paquin, Foreign Policy Analysis: A Toolbox, (Springer, 2018).
  • Smith, Steve, Hadfield, Amelia and Dunne, Tim, (eds.), Foreign policy; theory, actors, cases, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016).


Take-home assessment (100%) in the ST.

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Student performance results

(2017/18 - 2019/20 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 16.4
Merit 50.3
Pass 31.6
Fail 1.7

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2021/22 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the differing needs of students in attendance on campus and those who might be studying online. For example, this may involve changes to the mode of teaching delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: International Relations

Total students 2020/21: 56

Average class size 2020/21: 10

Controlled access 2020/21: Yes

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information