Module code: POLM033

Module Overview

The module will examine, from both a theoretical and a practical perspective, international intervention in response humanitarian crisis, abuses of human rights, state failure, and armed conflict. Students will engage the different theoretical, ethical, legal and political issues surrounding international intervention. A UN Security Council simulation provides students with the experience of negotiating a resolution for intervention in the context of an evolving humanitarian crisis. Students also benefit from experienced practitioner engagement and a career-focused session.

Module provider


Module Leader

KITCHEN Nicholas (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

The course begins with a historical introduction to intervention, before moving on to consider R2P - the state of the art today. Thereafter, the course considers how IR theory approaches intervention; issues of human rights, just war, sovereignty and law; critiques of intervention; and the relationship of great powers to the politics of international intervention. The UN Security Council simulation is prepared and executed over the course of two weeks, before week that is career-focused. The course concludes by looking forward, considering how technology may reshape practices of international intervention.

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework Simulation Report (1,000 WORDS) 20
Coursework Essay (3,500 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 understand the ethical, legal, and political issues around international intervention.
  • To 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’ knowledge and understanding in simulated diplomatic practice.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Knowledge of key concepts and theoretical understandings of intervention K
002 Knowledge of political, ethical and legal aspects of intervention K
003 Ability to reflect critically upon the evolution of policy and analysis of international intervention KC
004 Capacity to articulate state interests in a practical case of intervention, and to negotiate with others based on those interests 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: 10

Seminar Hours: 10

Methods of Teaching / Learning

Lectures, pre-read discussion seminars, simulation.

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 (International Intervention) MSc 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
International Relations MSc 1 Optional 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 2020/1 academic year.