Module code: POLM033

Module Overview

The module will examine, from both a theoretical and a practical perspective, the different kinds of international intervention in response to poverty, humanitarian crisis, abuses of human rights, state failure, and armed conflict. Following a general introduction to the topic, students will research and present a number of case studies from the post-colonial and post-Cold War periods and the group will examine strengths and weaknesses of different approaches. The different forms of intervention studied will include development and humanitarian assistance; peace-making, peace-keeping, and peace-building; use of international legal institutions and processes; and coercive military intervention to secure regime change.

Module provider


Module Leader

KITCHEN NJ Dr (Politics)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 7

JACs code: L240

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

We begin by introducing students to the concept and practice of international intervention, mapping the relevant ground in the period from 1945-2005. Early discussion focuses on the need to incorporate a range of variables into our analysis, including events, institutions, actors and norms. Students are then introduced to the case study approach to be applied in later classes and assessment. Case studies are selected to form a representative sample of interventions in both the Cold War and post-Cold War period. They include Biafra 1967-70, India-East Pakistan 1971, Northern Iraq 1991-2002, Afghanistan 2001-9. Emphasis is placed, however, on the application of theoretical material in order to understand what has been learned about intervention in the period under study.


At key intervals, lectures explore theoretical arguments surrounding intervention and include a focus on the moral and legal aspects of intervention and how it is interpreted in the international arena. Early seminars therefore require students to engage in critical analysis of the literature and to consider aspects of international law

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework CASE STUDY PLAN (1,000 WORDS) 20
Coursework CASE STUDY (3,000 WORDS) 80

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate knowledge of theoretical arguments surrounding intervention, including the moral and legal aspects of intervention and how it is interpreted in the international arena. For this reason students will choose and research on a case study throughout the course. This can include cases discussed in class as well as other cases. Students are to discuss their case study choice as well as research questions with the lecturer. They will first finish an outline (20% of the final mark), which will provides the possibility to receive feedback on initial research. Upon this feedback students will then write up the case study (80% of the final mark). This assessment pattern enables students to analyse and critique a  case of intervention in more depth and to make evident their ability to conduct research and construct a reasoned argument. Hence the assessment strategy is closely aligned to the module aims and learning outcomes as specified above.

Module aims

  • To introduce students to the underpinning concepts and competing understandings of intervention
  • To identify those factors that lead to interventionist action
  • Develop students’ ability to deliver a critical analysis of those factors that shape international intervention in situations of conflict, state collapse, humanitarian and human rights emergencies.
  • To apply students’ theoretical knowledge to case studies and to examine the fit between the two.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Knowledge of key concepts and theoretical understandings of intervention K
002 Excellent knowledge of key cases of intervention, including wider contextual issues K
003 Ability to reflect critically upon the evolution of policy and analysis of international intervention KC
004 Capacity to formulate a case study through independent research, applying theoretical frameworks to empirical evidence. KCPT
005 Develop research, writing and debating skills. PT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Overall student workload

Independent Study Hours: 128

Lecture Hours: 11

Seminar Hours: 11

Methods of Teaching / Learning

Lectures, seminars, enquiry based learning, presentations, group exercises

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list


Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
International Relations MSc 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
International Relations (International Intervention) MSc 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
Public Affairs MPA 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2018/9 academic year.