Case Studies in Foreign Policy Decision Making (Foreign Policy Analysis) - 2016

To enrol in this unit, you must be accepted into a course from the provider. Read before you start
This page is for past year, View 2017 unit details.

Unit summary


  • Level of Study: Postgraduate
  • Study load: 0.125 EFTSL
  • Delivery method: Fully Online
  • Prerequisites: No
  • Duration: 14 weeks
  • Government loans available: FEE-HELP
  • Availability for 2016: Sess 1
  • Assessment: Essay (40%) , Online Discussion (20%) - Learn more

Unit provided by

2016 Fees
Domestic 2,518.00
International 2,768.00

John Kennedy once wrote that the essence of ultimate decision [was] impenetrable to the observer, indeed often to the decider himself [or herself]. There will always be the dark and tangled stretches even to those who may be most intimately involved. Furthermore, in recent decades, issues that were once the preserve of 'domestic' politics have now crossed territorial borders to become precursors of 'international' politics.

Consequently, a traditional approach in which an analysis of national interest alone could satisfactorily explain foreign policy decisions is no longer possible, if it ever was. In 2011, any valid understanding of the world requires a movement beyond traditional levels of analysis to incorporate an assessment of the new dynamics and new complexities that are shaping international relations. This unit draws together these two contexts and provides a number of conceptual approaches to analyse foreign-policy decision-making.

At the completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. understand the major models for the understanding of policy formulation in foreign affairs
  2. understand the implications of political ideas, institutions and structures, policies and values in the policy formulation process
  3. understand the political and historical contexts of the Cuban Missile Crisis, Vietnam War and the post-Cold War strategic environment
  4. carry out independent research.
  • Essay (40%)
  • Online Discussion (20%)
  • Report (40%)

There are no prerequisites for this unit.

In order to enrol in this unit, you must be accepted into one of the following courses:

Please visit the course details page and read the Requirements tab for more information about eligibility.

This unit addresses the following topics.

2International relations theory and foreign policy
3Case study One
4Foreign Policy decision-making
5Case study Two
6The implementation of national interest
7Case study Three
8Constraints on Foreign Policy
9Case study Four
10Writing the Case Study

This unit is delivered using the following methods and materials:

Instructional Methods

  • Discussion Forum/Discussion Board
  • Online assignment submission
  • Standard Media
  • Streaming Multimedia
  • Web links

Online materials

  • Printable format materials

This unit is a core requirement in the following courses:

This unit is an approved elective in the following courses:

This unit may be eligible for credit towards other courses:

  1. Many undergraduate courses on offer through OUA include 'open elective' where any OUA unit can be credited to the course. You need to check the Award Requirements on the course page for the number of allowed open electives and any level limitations.
  2. In other cases, the content of this unit might be relevant to a course on offer through OUA or elsewhere. In order to receive credit for this unit in the course you will need to supply the provider institution with a copy of the Unit Profile in the approved format, which you can download here. Note that the Unit Profile is set at the start of the year, and if textbooks change this may not match the Co-Op textbook list.

Textbook information for this unit is currently being updated and will be available soon. Please check back regularly for updates. Alternatively, visit the The Co-op website and enter the unit details to search for available textbooks.

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