Foreign Policy Analysis III

This information is for the 2023/24 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr James Strong [Office TBC]


This course is available on the 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 Political Science (Conflict Studies and Comparative Politics) 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 1) theories of International Relations and 2) contemporary international history is essential.

Course content

Foreign Policy Analysis (FPA) looks at the way in which policies affecting external relations are made and shaped by state actors, as well as by actorsbelow 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.


10 hours of lectures and 13 hours and 30 minutes of seminars in the AT. 9 hours of lectures and 13 hours and 30 minutes of seminars in the WT. 1 hour of lectures 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 two 1,500 word essays for their seminar leader (1 essay in the AT and 1 essay in the WT). 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).

• 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.

Student performance results

(2019/20 - 2021/22 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 12.6
Merit 59.1
Pass 27.7
Fail 0.6

Key facts

Department: International Relations

Total students 2022/23: 58

Average class size 2022/23: 15

Controlled access 2022/23: Yes

Lecture capture used 2022/23: Yes (MT & LT)

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Course selection videos

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