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

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

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 122

Lecture Hours: 10

Seminar Hours: 10

Practical/Performance Hours: 8

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 reflects the modules combination of theoretical and conceptual issues around intervention with the practical contexts in which it is applied. The first assessment is a report on the UN Security Council Crisis Management simulation, in which the students are tasked with negotiating an international intervention in a case of imminent mass atrocity crimes. The report details their preparation for their role within the simulation and reflects upon their participation in it. The second assessment is an essay, which tests student’s ability to engage moral, legal, and political arguments around intervention.

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

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
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: POLM033

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.