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2018/19 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

PIED5405M American Foreign Policy

30 creditsClass Size: 20

Module manager: Dr Jack Holland

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2018/19

Module replaces

POLI5318 America in the WorldPIED5406 Ideas in US Foreign Policy

This module is approved as an Elective

Module summary

In this module students will study the foreign policy of the world’s only true superpower. They will study how foreign policy is made, the traditions of foreign policy thinking that influence policy and how the US has tried to shape and respond to the post Cold War international order.


On completion of this module, students should be able to:
- demonstrate familiarity with the making and conduct of US foreign policy including the central ideological, procedural and historical concepts, the relevant institutions, structures and personalities;
- demonstrate familiarity and critical engagement of central texts on US foreign policy and be able to distinguish authors, locate their opinions on ideological spectrums and critically assess the validity of their views;
- develop a reasoned argument, synthesise relevant information, and exercise critical judgement;
- manage, and self-critically reflect on, their own learning and make use of constructive feedback;
- communicate effectively and fluently, orally and in writing, use communication and information technologies to retrieve and present information;
- work independently and in groups, show initiative, self-organisation and time-management.


This module examines the evolution of American foreign policy since the end of the Cold War. It introduces students to Realist, Liberal and Neoconservative approaches to US foreign policy and reflects on how they have been influenced by post-Cold War policy.

Students will have the opportunity to examine in detail the global perspectives and policies of the Bush Snr., Clinton, and Bush Jnr. administrations as well as reflect on the wider context of American foreign policy making.

Teaching methods

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours278.00
Total Contact hours22.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)300.00

Private study

Students will be required to prepare for discussions in seminars through extensive reading of sources listed on the module reading list. In addition to this, students should spend time preparing for their assessments which should include finding and using sources not listed on their reading list.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Students will be separated into small reading groups and assigned reading each week. They will discuss this reading in their small groups at the start of class and then present their conclusions to the rest of the group.

Methods of assessment

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay1 x 4,000 words final essay100.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Students will be required to complete a 2 page essay plan, including the introduction and a 1,000 word critique for formative feedback. The essays will then build on this mid term extended formative preparation.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 12/12/2018 10:48:54


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