Module code: POLM033

Module Overview

The module will examine, from a historical and practice-based perspective, international intervention in response humanitarian crisis, abuses of human rights, state failure, and armed conflict. Students will engage the historical cases of international intervention, to understand why, when, and how intervention talks place in practice. 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: 100

Seminar Hours: 22

Guided Learning: 17

Captured Content: 11

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

The course begins with a historical overview of intervention as an idea, before introducing the scenario for the UNSC simulation as an ideal-type case of humanitarian intervention to protect civilians from mass atrocity crimes. Thereafter, the course considers a number of historical cases of international intervention in detail, to draw out the ethical, legal, and political considerations involved in decisions to intervene, and the approaches taken to intervention by great powers in particular. The UN Security Council simulation is prepared and executed over the course of two weeks, before concluding with a career-focused session, exposing students to the intervention ‘industry’ in civil society, government, and international organisations.

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework SIMULATION REPORT (1,000 WORDS) 20

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate:

The assessment reflects the module’s focus on the historical practice of intervention.

The first assessment is a Simulation Report in the form of a diplomatic cable, an authentic assessment that mimics professional life. The report follows the practical UN Security Council simulation in which the students are tasked with negotiating an international intervention in a case of mass atrocity crimes. The report details from the perspective of their state-actor, their preparation for UN meeting, its process, and the implications of its outcomes. and which tests their ability to resourceful under pressure.

The second assessment is an analytical case study, which tests student’s ability to engage the moral, legal, and political arguments around intervention in a particular historical case of their choosing.

Formative feedback will be provided in a number of occasions throughout the module.

Module aims

  • To introduce students to the historical practice 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 issues and historical practice 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

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:

Lectures are used to introduce the historical practice of intervention. Pre-read discussion seminars and engagement with digital learning materials enable students to develop an understanding of case-study research. A simulation is designed to apply students’ knowledge and negotiation skills in a task-based and pressurised practical environment.

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 2023/4 academic year.