Thematic Issues in Global Security SPS5007

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Social and Political Sciences
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This course will offer students the opportunity to study a range of contemporary security matters that operate and are addressed on a global level. Using a thematic approach, students will examine how these issues or threats have developed and how they are being combated.


2 Hours per week over 10 weeks.

Requirements of Entry



Portfolio Project:

Students will have to develop a portfolio project focusing on a single specific thematic global security issue. The work involved in this project will include a review of how that issue has been approached theoretically, how it relates to wider security concerns, and how approaches to resolving or combating the issue have been undertaken. Specific focus on key policy developments at local, regional, and international levels will be central to this assessment. The portfolio will consist of 2 assessed components: a) a critical policy analysis (2,000 words, 50%) submitted at the end of week 8 and b) a briefing report (2,000 words, 50%) submitted at the end of week 12. The portfolio will also include a formative component: a literature review (week 5) of the main body of works published on the global security theme chosen by each student for their portfolio. The formative literature review assignment will provide an opportunity for students to get feedback from peers and the instructors. The portfolio aspect of this assessment will allow students to develop an in-depth understanding of a key security issue at a global level including how it relates to other issues and how policy has been developed to deal with the respective threat.

Course Aims

This course introduces students to the most pressing contemporary security challenges. Students will rely on various theoretical approaches to explore the development of current security threats. The course will cover salient thematic issues in global security, such as terrorism, transnational crime, cyber security, climate change and conflict, energy security, food security, migration. Students will be encouraged to identify the ways in which individual 'thematic issues in global security' impact upon each other and can be seen to be inter-dependent. The course will also allow students to debate how different institutional actors (i.e. NATO, UN, African Union), countries (i.e. USA, Russia, China, India etc), and regions (i.e. Africa, Europe, South America) around the world approach and combat the varied threats associated with these issues. This will help expand students' understanding of security beyond the traditional Euro-Atlantic-centric approaches to security.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ Recognise and critically evaluate a variety of security issues and existential threats that are salient, globally, regionally, and nationally 

■ Demonstrate a thorough knowledge and critical understanding of the various theoretical approaches to global security and link them to the evolution of contemporary security concerns and threats

■ Critically review key security documentation and policy focusing on specific and varied global security concerns

■ Demonstrate skills in group work and problem solving

■ Present clear, analytical, and robust analyses and arguments in both written and oral form

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Generic regulations apply