Core Modules

PP5901 International Relations: Theory and Practice (4 Modular Credits)

This course will introduce students to the predominant ways in which scholars of world politics go about making sense of the contemporary world. Three main approaches will be emphasized: realism, liberalism, and constructivism. In particular we will explore theories of the balance of power, the balance of threat, the rise and decline of great powers, hegemony, cooperation theory, the role of international institutions in global governance, and the structures and relations of identity between and among states and societies. Major contemporary issues that will be addressed include the relations among China, Europe, and the United States; the global political economy, including trade and development, and the prospects for global cooperation on issues such as climate change.

Students should accomplish several major goals: have a conversational familiarity with the three primary streams of IR theory; have a collection of concepts that will travel well beyond IR and political science; develop some habits of mind for analysing competing interpretations of the world; and have a better knowledge of, and critical perspective on, events in the world.

PP5902 International Security – Concepts, Issues and Policies (4 Modular Credits)

This course is an overview of international security. It begins by asking “what is security?” and what are the causes of war and the use of coercion. The course then goes on to deal with “non-traditional” security: terrorism, climate change, water security, health security, and gender and violence. A key aspect of International Relations is the possibility of war – the use of force between states for political ends. Students will focus on the problem of inter-state war and the resources in the international system for managing violence between countries. Students will then go on to review some of the leading causes of war: power distributions/transitions, the security dilemma/offence-defence, misperceptions, ideas/frames/cognition, and the possibility of war between nuclear-armed powers (US-China, China-India, India-Pakistan). The course will consider ways of dealing with the war: balance of power, deterrence, and disarmament. From here, it will proceed to consider “non-traditional” security issues. The focus throughout the course will be: what are the causes of war and the drivers of various non-traditional security challenges; and what can policy makers do to deal with these threats to human safety and well-being?

PP5903 International Political Economy (4 Modular Credits)

This course brings together politics, economics and international relations on issues relevant to the global economy. It introduces students to various approaches to International Political Economy (IPE) and applies them to important policy issues. It aims to give students a critical understanding of how politics and economics, and domestic and international forces, interact to shape modern policy. The course is divided into four parts: 1) IPE concepts; 2) history of the world economy, focusing on the post-1945 era; 3) globalisation and modern policy; 4) countries, regions and actors. Part Three emphasizes globalisation, which is the frame for looking at policy issues – macroeconomics and finance, trade and investment, energy and environment, international migration, and urbanisation and cities. In Part Four, major regions of the world economy are covered, as are the key actors – governments, international governmental organisations, business and NGOs.

PP5904 Research Methods in International Affairs (4 Modular Credits)

To successfully identify and address the critical questions in international affairs, we need tools both to advance our own analysis and to critically assess what others propose. This course provides an introduction to the principal research methods in international affairs. Students will assess the strengths and weaknesses of alternative approaches, learn how and when to use different lines of attack, and gain experience in critically evaluating published research. By the end of the module, students will have developed for their own use a toolkit that includes small-N case studies, comparative case studies, process tracing, hypothesis testing, analysis of variance, basic statistical methods (including regression analysis), and discourse analysis.

PP5906 International Economic Development in Asia (4 Modular Credits)

This course is an introduction to international economic development with applications to/examples from Asia, exploring selected aspects of Asian economic development and the region's interactions with the rest of the world. The focus is on developing simple analytical tools to understand key trends and macroeconomic, financial and trade policy issues that confront Asia in the world economy. Topics include sources of growth in the Newly Industrialising Economies (NIEs) in East Asia, role of industrial policy and regional trade, foreign direct investment, currency crisis in Asia, Asian reserve build-up, exchange rate regimes and issues relating to Asian economic regionalism.

PP5908 Global Governance in a Changing World (4 Modular Credits)

Intractable conflict, global terrorism, organized crime, cyber threats, nuclear proliferation, pandemics, financial markets’ meltdown, extreme poverty, climate change, food and water insecurity are some of the global problems that states cannot manage alone. All require cooperation among governments and increasingly with their citizens and the private sector; some need international norms and mechanisms; others call for international and regional organizations. This course explores the theoretical foundations of global governance and international law, its elements, and then provides a hands-on and in-depth analysis of the actors, norms, and challenges in the supply of some of today’s critical global public goods, including peace and stability, development, climate change mitigation, trade, food security, global health and a secure internet.

PP5010 The LKY School Course (0 Modular Credits)

The LKY School Course is a core module comprising a series of lectures on public policy innovations in Singapore and elsewhere, against a broad background of Asia’s development trajectory. The module will provide students with broad appreciation of the philosophy and principles that inform governance and public policy. Notably, it will explore specific public policy innovations in Singapore, like housing and healthcare, and analyse thinking behind the formulation and implementations of such policies.


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