The University of Southampton

PAIR3001 International Security

Module Overview

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

• Introduce you to the main issues and trends in contemporary international security and the ways in which they affect the world we live in • Explore key issues of security in international relations, both theoretically and empirically • Encourage you to develop a deep and critical understanding of international security • Build your ability to engage critically with peers in discussions of some of the major risks and threats we face globally

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate understanding of the key security challenges facing the world today
  • Demonstrate the ability to apply theoretical and empirical analysis to contemporary security issues
  • Construct independent and well evidenced arguments on the principles and concepts of international security


The course is an introduction to the major issues, trends and theories related to international security and their application to current challenges in world affairs. As the world evolves, the nature of security is constantly changing and the range of threats and risks requires different policy responses and actions. The module will cover a wide spectrum of security issues, including the influence of nuclear weapons, the impact of terrorism, the attempts to forge collective security through, for example, the UN, and the new and emerging challenges from extremism, nationalism, migration and the environment. We will also look at how strategic policy is made and the relationships between civilian and military decision makers. We will seek to understand whether the world is more unstable now than in the past and, if so, why.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

The module combines a mixture of lectures, seminars, presentations and group work

Independent Study150
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Michael Doyle and John Ikenberry, eds, (1997). New Thinking in International Relations Theory. 

Barry Buzan (2007). People, States and Fear. 

Books, journal articles, newspaper articles, specialised website and other internet sources.. There are many journals and websites worth looking at. The main ones are: Adelphi Papers, Chaillot Papers, Co-operation and Conflict, International Organisation, Millennium, Global Society, European Security, International Security, Contemporary Security Policy; Survival, International Affairs; International Studies Quarterly, European Foreign Affairs Review, Foreign Affairs; Foreign Policy; Third World Quarterly; The Washington Quarterly; International Studies Quarterly; The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

Alan Collins, eds (2007). Contemporary Security Studies. 



MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (2500 words) 50%
Individual report  (1250 words) 25%
Presentation 25%


MethodPercentage contribution
Exam  (2 hours) 100%

Linked modules


To study this module, you will need to have studied the following module(s):

PAIR2001Theories of International Relations
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