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International Security


Admission requirements

Admission to the MA International Relations, specialisation International Studies.


Security is one of the most important and yet most elusive concepts in international relations. Due to its essentially contested nature, the concept of security has been approached from very different theoretical and normative standpoints.
In order to provide students with an understanding of the key debates in security studies, this course will be divided as follows. The first part of the course will discuss the main theories and approaches to the study of security, ranging from realism to constructivism and critical theory. The second part will then apply these theoretical tools to the study of both new and old security challenges, such as, interstate and intrastate wars, terrorism, the proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction, cybersecurity and migration and pandemics.

Course objectives

By the end of the course, students should be able to:

  • understand the concept of security, its evolution over time and its theoretical and normative underpinnings

  • identify the main state and non-state actors involved in the provision of security

  • evaluate the key debates and theories in the study of security

  • apply those theories to the study of relevant security issues



Mode of instruction


Course Load

Total course load for the course: 280 hours.

  • Lectures and seminars: 2 hours per week x 12 weeks = 24 hours

  • Readings: 8 hours per week x 12 = 96 hours

  • Preparation for presentation and class assignments: 5 hours per week x 12 =72 hours

  • Writing of the final paper: 88 hours

Assessment method

  • Participation: 20%

  • Presentation: 20%

  • Final Paper: 60%

Retake paper: there will be a retake of the final paper.


Yes, see Blackboard.

Reading list

A reading list will be distributed at the start of the course.


Students can sign up to the class via uSis.


Dr. E. Cusumano