Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2012-2013 (archived)


Department: Government and International Affairs


Type Open Level 4 Credits 15 Availability Module Cap


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To provide students with the opportunity for an in-depth study of German foreign policy within its domestic as well as international context.
  • To provide students with an advanced understanding of relevent concrpts and theories which allow a critical evaluation of the foreign policy of both the Bonn as well as the Berlin Republic and come to a well balanced judgment regarding questions of continuity and change.
  • To enable students to critically evaluate contemporary scholarship and the complex academic debate on Germany's foreign policy.
  • To allow students to gain an advanced understanding of the coplexity of bilateral and multilateral relationships in which Germany's foreign policy operates.


  • Session 1: The historical context
  • Session 2: The foreign policy traditions of the Bonn Republic
  • Session 3: Continuity or change? The foreign policy debate of the Berlin Republic
  • Session 4: IR approaches to evaluate Germany's foreign policy
  • Session 5: Germany's key bilateral relations: the US and France
  • Session 6: Germany and Europe
  • Session 7: Germany and Multilateral and supranational organisations: UN, NATO, EU
  • Session 8: Not a civilian power any more? Germany at wat (Kosovo, Afghanistan)
  • Session 9: Germany and the Middle East
  • Session 10: Concluding Discussions

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • By the end of the module students should have:
  • An advanced understanding of the main features of Germany's foreign policy since 1949
  • A sophistocated appreciation of the changing role Germany's Nazi past has been playing in for eign policy formulation
  • Advanced knowledge and understanding of the academic debate on continuity and change in post-unification Germany's foreign policy
Subject-specific Skills:
  • By the end of the module students should be able to demonstrate:
  • the ability to use and critisise relevent advanced theoretical IR models and approaches to the study of developments in Germany's foreign policy
  • an enhanced awareness of the multitude of factors which have contributed to Germany's foreign policy past and present
  • the ability to critically evaluate competing contemporary scholarly contributions to the debate on Germany's foreign policy
Key Skills:
  • By the end of this module students should be able to demonstrate:
  • the ability to work independantly with only limited guidance
  • the ability for independent thinking informed by the academic debate at an advanced level
  • advanced communication skills in their written work
  • the ability to reflect critically on their own work
  • time managment skills by complying with deadlines for individual work

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Teaching will take place in the form of 9 two-hour sessions. The first three sessions will consist of a one hour lecture followed by a one hour tutorial. The aim of the lecture is to introduce the historical context in which Germany's foreign policy since 1949 has been operating. The tutorial following the lecture will give students the oppertunity to explore issues raised in the lecture in more detail. These first three sessions will ensure that students from different academic backgrounds receive detailed guidance and a common foundation is laid from which specific issues can be further explored.
  • The following five sessions will conssit of student presentations followed by guided group discussions. The presentations will allow students to acquire and demonstrate detailed subject-specific knowledge on a chosen topic. It will also give students an oppertunity to interpret specific dvelopments and show an appreciation of the contested nature and knowledge. The discussions will allow students to further enhance their communication skills as well as advocating particular perspectives and coherently arguing their implications.
  • The last session will be used for concluding discussions.
  • Students will be required to submit one formative essay which will allow them to further develop their essay writing skills. They will receive feedback which will give them an indication of their performance in terms of subject-specific as well as key skills.
  • At the end of the module students are required to submit a 4,000 words summatively assessed essay in which they can demonstrate the acquisition of relevent subject-specific knowledge as well as subject and key skills (listed above).

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 3 Weekly for the first three weeks of term 1 hour 3
Tutorials 3 Weekly for the first three weeks of term (to follow the lectures) 1 hour 3
Seminars 6 weekly 2 hour 12
Preparation & Reading 132
Other: 150

Summative Assessment

Component: Essay Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 4,000 words 100%

Formative Assessment:

Students will be required to submit a 1500-word formative essay.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University