Due to the situation surrounding Covid-19, we are currently looking into alternative options for teaching our programme this year. Full details will be announced soon, but in the meantime please get in touch with any questions you may have.
The course will provide a critical understanding of key developments and issues in contemporary world politics for students with no prior background in international relations. Focusing on the period since the end of the Cold War, an era defined by rapid institutional innovation and development, as well as a number of emergent global issues, problems and policy dilemmas, the course locates these in the context of north-south relations. Treating the international system as a dynamic whole, it examines how issues that have become central in international politics including ‘failed states’, nuclear proliferation, armed conflict and terrorism, democratisation, pandemics and the Arab Spring are intimately linked to expanding efforts since the mid-20th century to generate a liberal world order. In doing so it provides analysis of the roles played in contemporary world politics by leading members of the ‘international community’ such as the United States, the European Union, ‘rising’ non-western states China, India and Brazil, non-state actors such as NGOs, transnational corporations and armed groups, and international financial and other institutions.
Specific topics investigated include the centrality of the United States to the post-Cold War international order; the diverse north-south interventions associated with civil wars, terrorism, securitized development and peacebuilding; the rise of global resistance movements (from Seattle to Occupy and the Arab Spring); the politics of migration (refugees, diasporas and workers); the role of transnational corporations in the global political economy; and emergent patterns in the management of global health and the environment. By the end of the course, students should expect to have developed a layered and nuanced account of contemporary world politics by which to analyse concrete issues and policies as they impact the global north and south, and the hierarchical relations between them.
On successful completion of the course, a student should be able to demonstrate the ability to:
- Apply international relations theory to explain key developments and events in contemporary world politics
- Demonstrate critical knowledge of contemporary global policy frameworks, such as globalization, neoliberalism and the Global War on Terror
- Demonstrate critical knowledge of key institutional and organizational developments in world politics since the end of the Cold War.
This course is worth 15 credits in the UK system. 15 credits is equivalent to 4 credits in the US system and 7.5 ECTS in the European system. If you intend to transfer credit to your home institution, please check the requirements with them before you apply. We will be happy to assist you in any way we can, however please be aware that the decision to transfer credit rests with your home institution.
Assessment will be optional and will vary for each course. Participants will be provided with a certificate of attendance and Record of Study will be available on request.
- Introduction: Globalisation, Neoliberalism and the State
- Interventions I: Democracy, Peace and Markets
- Interventions II: New Wars, terrorism and Securitised Development
- The Rise of China and the Future of the International System
- Safer World? Nuclear proliferation and other dangers
- Money and Power: Corporations, finance and regulation
- Global Health: pandemics, food and drugs
- Migration: refugees, workers and diasporas
- Environmental Politics
- Politics of Resistance: Seattle to the Arab Spring
Assessment: is optional and will be in the form of a 2000-2500 word essay to be handed in 2 weeks after the end of the course.
Teaching & Learning
50 hours (lectures, tutorials, activities). The course will be delivered Monday - Friday over the 3 weeks.
Monday - Friday, 10am-3pm. In addition to regular lectures and tutorials, each course is composed of a range of activities relating to their academic content (e.g. museum visit, company visit etc).
Fees and Funding
- Credit-assessed: £1,750
- Non-assessed: £1,600
A one-off, non-refundable application fee of £40 will be charged to cover administration costs. Please visit the SOAS online store to make your application fee payment.
- 10% early-bird discount when you apply by 31 March
- 15% discount for SOAS Alumni (including Academic Summer School alumni)
- 20% discount for our partner institutions
- Other discounts are available for groups. Please contact us for further information.
For more information, please visit our website.
In order to join our Summer School, you will need to meet the following entry requirements:
- A university student or a graduate at the time of attending the summer school, and 18+ years of age.
- Professional experience can be acknowledged as equivalent to a university qualification.
- A minimum English language requirement if English is not your first language:
- IELTS, 6.5 overall or higher, with at least 6 in all subscores.
- TOEFL Paper-based test we require a minimum of 583 with minimum 53 in all skills and for TOEFL Internet Based Test we require a minimum of 93 with minimum 20 in all skills.
- Pearson Test of English a score of 59-64
- Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) Grade B
- If you have studied in an English speaking institution, or have courses taught at your university in English (excluding English language courses), you may meet our requirements without having to supply a certificate. Evidence of this will either need to be included on a transcript or letter from your university.
- Applicants with an alternative qualification should contact us for advice.
- Applicants whose English language level do not meet out requirements may be interested in our subject-based courses with English language support.
Enrolment of Summer School applicants who don’t meet the entry requirements is at the discretion of SOAS – please get in touch to speak to us in detail about your application.
Once you have paid the £40 application fee and submitted the online application form, you will be informed as to whether you have a place on the summer school within 5 working days. Please do not pay your tuition fee prior to having received your offer letter.
25th May 2020
About the School
SOAS University of London welcomes the brightest minds to study on its central London campus with like-minded individuals who feel passionately about contemporary world issues.