IR444E      Half Unit
Strategy in Action

This information is for the 2021/22 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Chris Alden


This course is compulsory 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 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

Readings vary each year depending on the cases, scenarios and policy issues examined during each policy session. Readings will be provided to registered students in advance. 


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).

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.

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: Unavailable

Average class size 2020/21: Unavailable

Controlled access 2020/21: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information