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Theories of International Security


Credits: 8 ECTS

First semester

Compulsory courses




The course offers an introduction to the field of international security studies, the core theoretical concepts and perspectives in the discipline. It will provide a comprehensive overview of theoretical approaches, from traditional realist theories, constructivist approaches, to normative approaches, and poststructuralist critiques. The theoretical part of the course will be supplemented by close examination of a range of traditional and new security issues, including the causes of war, humanitarian intervention, terrorism, and privatization of security.


Students are expected to do the required readings before each class and participate actively in discussion. A list of additional readings for each topic is uploaded in the virtual campus. These supplementary readings are not required, but they could assist you in preparing your essays and presentations for the seminar sessions, or serve as a point of departure in exploring further some of the topics covered in class.

In addition to the readings assigned for the theoretical sessions, there are required readings for the seminar sessions. The seminars will focus on discussing the posed questions and linking them to the material covered in lectures. In the seminars, students will take turns in making presentations, as well as submit three written essays of 1,200 words each. The specific seminar questions and readings will be provided two weeks ahead of the respective seminar date.

The presenter has to submit a short summary (500 words) of the main arguments of the presentation, together with the PowerPoint or other supporting materials for the presentation at the time of the presentation or email them before the start of the class.

Students also serve once as discussants of the presentations made by their colleagues. The discussant should be thoroughly familiar with the readings, provide thoughtful comments on the presentation, pose questions to the presentar and for class discussion, and guide the debate.

Feedback on the presentations and essays will be sent to you by email within 2 weeks of the assignment due date.

Further information regarding the presentations and written essays will be provided during the first class meeting when the general topics will be distributed.

Assessment Criteria

  • Class and discussion participation: 10%
  • Three written essays of 1,200 words each (+/- 10%): 30% (10% each)
  • One oral presentations and a short written summary of the main arguments in the presentation (500 words, +/- 10%): 15%
  • Once serving as a discussant of a presentation made by a colleague: 5%
  • Final exam or research paper: 40%

N.B. The essay, presentation, and discussant topics have to be different. That is, you have to do the 5 assignments on 5 different topics.