European Foreign and Security Policy in the 21st Century - POLI8140

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Module delivery information

This module is not currently running in 2024 to 2025.


Shifts in regional and international security are affecting Europe in increasingly puzzling and intense ways. The current strategic landscape is one where a plethora of internal and external security challenges confronts Europe: climate change, migration, Daesh and terrorism, energy security, disinformation, cybersecurity, Russia's annexation of Crimea and global power balances are to name but a few. Added to these challenges are new political dynamics such as the shifting nature of the Euro-Atlantic relationship and the future of relations between the European Union (EU) and the United Kingdom. This is a historical period that demands greater knowledge of and critical engagement with security dynamics and Europe’s place in the world.

To this end, the course aims to provide students with the opportunity to engage with debates and literature on the security dynamics facing Europe in the 21st century. The course draws on conceptual and theoretical approaches to international and European security, but it also provides students with empirical insights into policy responses to various crises. Accordingly, the course principally looks at the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP); the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation’s (NATO) role in deterrence; hybrid security challenges; the internal-external nexus of security; institutional responses to security crises; and the relationship between supranational and intergovernmental responses to security.


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 24
Private study hours: 176
Total study hours: 200


MA EU External Relations

Method of assessment

Essay, 5000 words (100%)

Reassessment methods: 100% coursework

Indicative reading

Reading list (Indicative list, current at time of publication. Reading lists will be published annually)

Hill, C. and Smith, M. (eds.) International Relations and the European Union (Oxford: Oxford University Press) 2nd Edition.

Missiroli, A. (ed.) A Handbook – The EU and the World: Players and Policies Post-Lisbon (Paris: EU Institute for Security Studies).

Peen Rodt, A., Whitman, R.G. and Wolff, S. (eds.) Theorising the European Union as an International Security Provider (London: Routledge).

Tocci, N. (2017) Framing the EU Global Strategy: A Stronger Europe in a Fragile World (London: Palgrave Macmillan).

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes. On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1. ensure that students acquire knowledge and understanding in theories and analysis in a supportive and responsive learning environment

2. develop students' capacities to think critically about political events, ideas and institutions

3. provide a curriculum supported by scholarship, staff development and a research culture that promotes breadth and depth of intellectual enquiry and debate

4. assist students to develop cognitive and transferable skills relevant to their vocational and personal development

The intended generic learning outcomes. On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1. communicate effectively and fluently in speech and writing; organise information clearly and coherently; use communication and information technology for the retrieval and presentation of information;

2. explore personal strengths and weaknesses; time management; review working environment (especially student-staff relationship); develop autonomy in learning; work independently, demonstrating initiative and self-organisation. Important research management skills include the setting of appropriate timescales for different stages of the research with clear starting and finishing dates (through a dissertation); presentation of a clear statement of the purposes and

expected results of the research; and developing appropriate means of estimating and monitoring resources and use of time.

3. recognise and appreciate the existence of different theoretical perspectives in economics and environmental studies;

4. identify and define problems; explore alternative solutions and discriminate between them;

5. proactively manage their own career progression and development and are supported in developing skills in researching and retrieving information on opportunities for internships and employment and continuing personal and career development.


  1. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  2. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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