Module code: POLM015

Module Overview

The module provides an opportunity for students to investigate and discuss contemporary developments in international politics. The contents reflects  contemporary global issues, ranging from the international politics of climate change, public health, security and defence to regional politics.  The module also benefits from the participation of academic experts and practitioners in these areas and around the world, providing the students the opportunity to appreciate the challenges and complexities of engaging with policymaking across linguistic and cultural boundaries.


Module provider


Module Leader

HALL Jonathan (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

Following an introduction week, the module is taught around key contemporary issues in international politics. As such, the content of the module is adjusted each year to reflect new contemporary issues, but overall students will be exposed to real-world situational problems which will allow them to develop skills and attributes to apply theory to practice in tackling today’s diverse and complex challenges. The policy areas in this module include, but are not limited to, climate change, public health, the rise of new powers and the impact of great powers, equality, and border conflicts.  

Furthermore, the module gives students the opportunity to reflect on a range of issues relevant to sustainability, including food security and global resources. This will give students an appreciation of the scope of UN Sustainable Development Goals, which will be an integral part of the module. 

The module will introduce various approaches towards the weekly issues and highlight the diverse global perspectives from different national and international actors on these. The interconnection between each issue is also discussed to provide an interdisciplinary understanding of the complexities of international politics. 


Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework CRITICAL ESSAY (2000 WORDS) 40
Coursework Policy Paper (2500 words) 60

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to explore their academic understanding of key issues in international politics through combining theoretical arguments with empirical examples.

The assessment pattern enables students to reflect critically and creatively upon today’s international political issues by using evidence-based reasoning and applying multiple theoretical perspectives.

The first assessment (critical essay) provides students with the opportunity to combine an analytical framework with empirical analysis.

The second assessment (policy paper) enables students to critically assess policy objectives and create different scenarios of feasibility, impact assessment and recommendations. Hence, the assessments will test students’ abilities to combine theoretical knowledge of policy-making processes with empirical research reflecting the state of play in a particular policy area. Students will connect discussions in the classroom with the real-world cases and be able to illustrate the structures and constraints that policymakers have to deal with. The assessment pattern enables students to analyse and critique particular areas of international politics in depth and to make evident their ability to conduct research and construct a reasoned argument. 

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of: 

  • Critical Essay (2000 words) 

  • Policy Paper (2500 words) 

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

Module aims

  • To provide students with an opportunity to consider, analyse and debate a range of key current issues in international politics
  • To develop a critical, in depth, and advanced understanding of complex issues in international politics
  • To apply social and political theories and models to the analysis of contemporary international political events
  • To develop skills in researching fast-moving contemporary political issues through the use of not only academic resources but also resources including periodicals, databases, and newspapers
  • To develop critical debating and argumentation skills, as well as meeting the professional standards of presentation in students' chosen field

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Understand and critically analyse complex issues in contemporary politics with reference to their historical and theoretical background, thereby reflect on how relevant disciplines and topics are impacted by, and impact, social, political, economic, and environmental wellbeing, both now and into the future KC
002 Develop an awareness for the challenges of today's international political issues covering inclusion, social justice, and environmentally sustainability, as well as an awareness for the potential solutions for these issues KCPT
003 Gain in-depth knowledge of a specific issue among the areas discussed and evaluate it within a short period of time KCT
004 Communicate and present ideas effectively, in written format as policy paper as well as in critical essays PT
005 Relate to different viewpoints on complex and contentious issues by engaging with a multitude of viewpoints among the students KCPT
006 Build expertise and understanding through the holistic use of digital tools including MS Teams channels, Whatsapp and clouds for file sharing and team working PT
007 Develop effective presentation skills, both orally and in writing, to advance students' graduate prospects KCPT
008 Learn from the experience of guest speakers, which will in turn expose students to the variety of specific roles policy officials play 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:

  • Ensure that students are well prepared for class by providing the key literature which connects with the core debates. 

  • Give students an opportunity to discuss specific questions on the issues scheduled for discussion on weekly topics. 

  • Encourage students to use their own background and experiences in interpreting key issues in today’s international politics, thus developing their own judgement and opinions. 

  • Develop students’ writing skills not only in academic but also in policy contexts, thereby enabling them to be able to respond and address different demands from diverse stakeholders.  

  • Develop students’ oral skills through seminar discussions and engaging in debates. Through student presentations, the module also helps students gain an ability to share their informed opinions constructively by using evidence and be open to different opinions and able to adapt perspectives. The module in this way adopts a teaching and learning method based on resilience. 

  • Ensure that all students connect with the topic being discussed and can understand and utilise the key analytical arguments to explain/understand it. 

The learning and teaching methods include:

Lectures, seminars, presentations, group discussions, independent reading, alongside captured content and digital resources on SurreyLearn

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: POLM015

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 2025/6 academic year.