Not available in 2021/22
IR472      Half Unit
Nuclear Non-proliferation and World Politics (Advanced Topics in International Relations)

This information is for the 2021/22 session.

Teacher responsible

Professor Etel Solingen (Susan Strange Visiting Professor during 2019/20)


This course is available on the MSc in International Relations, MSc in International Relations (LSE and Sciences Po), MSc in International Relations (Research) and MSc in International Relations Theory. This course is not available as an outside option.

All students are required to obtain permission from the Teacher Responsible by completing the online application linked to the course selection on LSE for You.  Admission to the course is not guaranteed.

Course content

This course will apply theories of international relations to explain why some states have pursued nuclear weapons whereas most others have abstained. What is the role of the nonproliferation regime, major powers, international norms, democracy, and globalization on decisions to acquire or renounce nuclear weapons? How do international institutions, major powers and other states respond to violations of international legal commitments not to develop nuclear weapons? What is the relative effectiveness of sanctions and positive inducements in persuading states to abandon nuclear weapons programs? Countries under focus will be North Korea, Iran, Japan, Taiwan, Iraq, Libya, South Korea, India, Pakistan, Israel, and Egypt, among others. There will be simulations of negotiations geared to dissuade actual or potential nuclear proliferators from pursuing such designs and Oxford-style debates.


9 hours of lectures and 13 hours and 30 minutes of seminars in the LT.

In line with departmental policy, students on the course will have a reading week in Week 6.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 1 essay and 1 other piece of coursework in the LT.

1 x 1,500 word essay, 1 x 1 page outline summary for the summative essay.

Indicative reading

Solingen, Etel, Nuclear Logics: Contrasting Paths in East Asia and the Middle East (Princeton University Press, 2007)

William Potter and G. Mukhatzhanova, “Divining Nuclear Intentions” International Security 33, 1 (2008) 

Nicholas L. Miller, “The Secret Success of Nonproliferation Sanctions,” International Organization  68, No. 4 (2014): 913-944.

Nicholas L. Miller “Nuclear Dominoes: A Self-Defeating Prophecy?” Security Studies 23, No. 1 (2014): 33-73.

Nina Tannenwald, The Vanishing Nuclear Taboo? Foreign Affairs November/December 2018.

Solingen, Etel (ed.), Sanctions, Statecraft, and Nuclear Proliferation (Cambridge University Press, 2012)


Essay (100%, 4000 words) 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 36.8
Merit 52.6
Pass 7.9
Fail 2.6

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

Personal development skills

  • Leadership
  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication