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Global Challenges: From Theory to Practice - POL00012C

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  • Department: Politics and International Relations
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Sara Van Goozen
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: C
  • Academic year of delivery: 2024-25
    • See module specification for other years: 2023-24

Module summary

This module explores a range of contemporary global challenges, by combining empirical research and theoretical (normative) analysis. Students will reflect on the challenges and barriers to progress, and develop critical, analytical skills to help them propose solutions.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 1 2024-25

Module aims

Through this module, you will explore three era-defining issues of international politics. In relation to each of the contemporary global challenges covered, you will be guided to explore the ‘theory’ of what should be done, and the ‘practice’ of what is (or isn't) being done. You will consider examples of good practice for addressing global challenges, and gain a better understanding of accelerants and barriers to progress. With this broad scope, the module consciously draws together scholarship from across ‘normative’ and ‘empirical’ traditions within the discipline of Politics. This will allow you to develop and defend your ideas about the causes, responses and solutions to key global challenges.

Module learning outcomes

  1. Identify the core concepts and debates surrounding the origins of and solutions to key global challenges (PLO1).

  2. Apply critical reasoning skills to analyze global challenges and articulate solutions (PLO2).

  3. Work, with appropriate guidance, to set goals and objectives in order to complete assigned tasks both independently and in a team (PLO4).

  4. Communicate according to established academic conventions in the disciplines of Politics and International Relations to present arguments using key facts and concepts through appropriate media, including communicating to a non-expert audience orally and in writing (PLO5).

  5. Demonstrate intercultural awareness through identifying differing points of view in relation to key global challenges (PLO6).

Module content

This module consideres a range of era-defining global challenges. Each challenge will be examined empirically (why is it a challenge, how did it happen?) and conceptually/normatively (what is it, what should we do). Examples of questions we will ask include: Why is it so difficult to get states to address climate change? Is climate change unjust, and what does “climate justice” look like in a post-colonial, unequal world? What is the source of global inequality? Why does it matter? What is terrorism, and why is it different from other forms of political violence? What is the best counterterrorism strategy?


Task Length % of module mark
Blog Post : Blog Post
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Blog Post : Blog Post
N/A 100

Module feedback

Students will receive written timely feedback on their formative assessment. They will also have the opportunity to discuss their feedback during the module tutor’s feedback and guidance hours.

Students will receive written feedback on their summative assessment no later than 25 working days; and the module tutor will hold a specific session to discuss feedback, which students can also opt to attend. They will also have the opportunity to discuss their feedback during the module tutor’s regular feedback and guidance hours.

Indicative reading

Bhavani, Kum-Kum, John Foran, Priya A. Kurian, Debashish Munshi (eds.). 2019. Climate Futures: Reimagining Global Climate Justice. London: Zed Books.

Fabre, Cecile. 2007. Justice in a Changing World. Cambridge: Polity.

Hutchings, Kimberly. 2018. Global Ethics: An Introduction (2nd ed). Cambridge: Polity.

Singer, Peter. 2009. The Life You Can Save. New York: Random House.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.