Module code: POLM038

Module Overview

This module covers the main ethical, legal, and theoretical issues arising from practices of international intervention. In doing so, it brings together and integrates different subfields from the social sciences and humanities, ranging from IR theory and law to ethics and political theory.

Module provider


Module Leader

LEVERINGHAUS Alex (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: 106

Lecture Hours: 22

Guided Learning: 11

Captured Content: 11

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites

To be taken alongside POLM033 for the International Intervention MSc pathway.

Module content

This module gives a comprehensive introduction to, and overview of, theoretical issues in the debate on intervention. It looks at the theoretical core concepts in the intervention debate, such as sovereignty and human rights, as well as the main justifications for intervention, especially those emerging from different forms of liberalism (non-cosmopolitan/cosmopolitan).

In addition, the module considers ethical issues arising from the conduct of intervention, as well as potential alternatives to traditional military interventionism, be it soft-interventionism or sanctions.

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework COURSEWORK 1 (2000 WORDS) 40
Coursework COURSEWORK 2 (3000 WORDS) 60

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

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

  • Their familiarity with core issues and concepts in the intervention debate.

  • Their ability to choose, and offer their own interpretation of, an essay question.

  • Their capacity to integrate material from different weeks, thereby showing that they have command of theoretical, legal, as well as ethical literatures.

  • Their ability to reflect critically on international intervention as a practice, as well as its potential theoretical justification.

  • Their ability to question the sustainability of contemporary international practices.

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

  • An essay of 2000 words (Coursework 1).

  • An essay of 3000 words (Coursework 2).

Feedback: Students are encouraged to submit essay plans for their two essay and to see the teaching team during their feedback and consultation hours. Each essay will receive substantial and constructive written feedback via Surrey Learn. Students are more than welcome to discuss the written feedback with the teaching team.

Module aims

  • Introduce students to theoretical issues in the study of international intervention. These include theoretical attempts to explain the occurrence of intervention, as well as attempts to justify it
  • Provide students with a comprehensive picture of the intervention debate that transcends disciplinary boundaries
  • Enable students to critically assess the arguments for and against intervention
  • Enable students to critically assess the arguments for and against intervention
  • Develop students verbal and written skills
  • Develop students cultural and global skills by asking them to consider the historical and cultural contingency of their own experiences, as well as practices of intervention as such

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Knowledge of key concepts and core issues in the intervention debate. K
002 Ability to integrate legal, theoretical, and ethical issues across sub-disciplinary boundaries.
003 Ability to reflect critically on intervention as a practice C
004 Understanding of how and why practices of intervention have differed culturally and historically. K
005 Develop Research, Debating, and Writing Skills PT
006 Develop global and cultural intelligence 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:

  • Produce 'well-rounded' students; that is, students with a comprehensive understanding of the intervention debate who are able to integrate material from different fields (and across teaching weeks).

  • Introduce students new to the intervention debate to the main academic approaches to it.

  • Develop students' reading and textual comprehension skills by asking them to engage with often difficult and challenging literature in the field of intervention.

  • Assist students in transitioning from UG to PGT level in terms of the centrality of classroom debate for the latter.

  • Support students, especially in the initial weeks of the module, in their understanding of the material via additional digital resources and captured content.

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: POLM038

Other information


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

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.