Foreign Policy Analysis

School: School of Government
Department of Political Science and International Studies

Modular value: 20 credits
Teaching: 2 hour weekly seminars
Duration: Autumn term

Why do states act the way they do in international politics? How is a state’s foreign policy made? And who is involved in the making of a state’s foreign policy? Can a state’s foreign policy best be portrayed as rational reactions to the restraints and opportunities existing in the international system? Or do factors internal to individuals or groups, such as the mindsets and psychological predispositions of political leaders, public opinion, the organisation, psychology and politics of small-group decision-making, the impact of lobby groups, culture, political institutions, and other factors, have to be considered in order to explain the making of foreign policy? These are some of the research questions that are being dealt with in this course.

The course serves as an introduction to ways of thinking critically about foreign policy analysis. The content of the course shall help students to unlock the ‘black box’ of the state in international affairs and to dismantle the state into a set of institutions and agents whilst considering their respective influence on foreign policy making.

The course covers the literature, research topics, and current issues in the area of foreign policy analysis, as well as the overall development of the sub-discipline of Foreign Policy Analysis and its interplay with general theories of International Relations. The course’s orientation is both substantive and theoretical, which means that it will focus not only on the sources of foreign policy, but also on its content and real world application. It will involve a variety of case studies involving the U.S., the UK, Germany and others.

It is not necessary for Students to have studied Foreign Policy Analysis before. Nonetheless a general knowledge on theories of International Relations and modern International History will certainly serve as an advantage.


  • One essay of 3,500 words (90%)
  • An oral presentation in class (10%).

Related modules:

Related courses:

The optional modules listed on the website for this programme may unfortunately occasionally be subject to change. As you will appreciate key members of staff may leave the University and this necessitates a review of the modules that are offered. Where the module is no longer available we will let you know as soon as we can and help you make other choices.