Summer Course in The United Nations and Global Advocacy


Program Description

This is an opportunity to work alongside world-leading advocates within the UN system. The key live cases are Southern women in the history and future of the UN; more effective means of holding war criminals to account; a global system of weapons elimination and control, finance for a green New Deal, and the creative origins of the United Nations will be studied along with an opportunity to engage in real-time advocacy on one of these themes and learn from the readings. Each of these websites provides a deep dive into the case that will be taught. The course will have three sections across the three weeks punctuated with external visits and activities.

Students are encouraged to take the free-start-any-day online course on the United Nations before the summer school starts, but this is not a requirement.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of the course, a student should be able to demonstrate the ability to:

  • An excellent ability to comprehend both conceptually and empirically the United Nations, and the UN system within the conceptual framework of Global International Organisations;
  • Comprehensive understanding of, and ability to critically review the relevant literature;
  • Aptitude in constructing and applying an appropriate analytical approach to issues relevant to the subject matter;
  • Capacity to the source, integrate, analyse and summarise relevant research and data in the submission of assessments;
  • The relevant skills to propose, debate and appraise feasible issues relevant to the subject.


This course is worth 15 credits in the UK system. 15 credits are 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.

Current SOAS students selecting this course as an open option module will not be charged the tuition-fee. For further information and assistance, please contact

Key Facts

  • Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings
  • Start of programme: 20 July – 7 August 2020
  • Mode of Attendance: Full-time

Entry Requirements

You will have completed one year of undergraduate study at the time of joining the Academic Summer School. Professional experience can be acknowledged as equivalent to a university qualification.


Week 1:

  • An immersion in the primary and secondary literature of the UN and Global Advocacy with focus on each of the above topics. At the end of the week or before students will choose one topic as a concentration for coursework and assessment, although others may be joined.

Week 2:

  • This will include visiting speakers who will be confirmed. In week two the study of the impact cases will involve real-time participation in ongoing activities including Social Media and comparative and reflective discussions of the merits and demerits of the cases. Students will be enabled to develop interests of their own.

Week 3:

  • Students will focus on preparing their assessments with ongoing online and face to face support from their peers and faculty. They will choose one or more of the taught topics to develop their final submissions. Students will have options to remain voluntarily engaged with the ongoing project teams.

Sample Reading List:

The United Nations Reading
  • MacQueen, Norrie, The United Nations: A Beginner’s Guide, Oneworld Publications, 2010
  • Adami, Rebecca, Women and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Routledge 2018
  • Willams, Ian, Untold: The Real Story of the UN in War and Peace, JustWorld Books,2017
  • Weiss Thomas G. Would the World be better without the UN? Polity, 2018.
  • Plesch, Dan, Human Rights After Hitler, Georgetown UP, 2017
Global Advocacy Reading
  • Keck, Margaret E and Kathryn Sikkink (1998) Activist beyond borders (Cornell)
  • Della Porta, Donatella, Hanspeter Kriesi and Dieter Rucht (eds) (2009) Social Movements in a Globalizing World 2009 (2nd edition) (Palgrave McMillan)
  • Stark, Gene (1994) From Dictatorship to Democracy (free online resource)
  • Mason, Paul (2012) Why it's kicking off everywhere (Verso)
  • Peterson, Abby, 'Review essay: Social Movement Theory' Acta Sociologica 1989 32(4) pp.419-426

Teaching & Learning

Course Convenor

Dr Dan Plesch

Contact Hours:

50 hours (lectures, tutorials, activities). The course will be delivered Monday - Friday over the 3 weeks.

Core Hours:

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).


Assessment will be in the form of various online activities throughout the course.

If you have opted to study for credit, you will be required to complete all course assessments. Should you complete the assessments with success, you will receive a transcript confirming your marks and credits. If you have not chosen to study for credit, you will be exempt from any course assignments and not receive a mark.

Fees and Funding

Tuition Fees

  • Credit assessed: £1,750
  • Non-assessed: £1,600

Application Fee

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% discount if you apply by 31st March
  • 10% discount if you apply for two courses over 6 weeks
  • 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 more information.


Academic Summer School Ambassador Scholarship 2020

  • The SOAS Academic Summer School is delighted to offer six tuition-fee waiver scholarships to passionate students with a desire to make a difference in the world.
  • The scholarships will cover the tuition-fee for one Academic Summer School course in 2020.
  • Application Deadline: 2020-03-02 00:00


Entry Requirements

In order to join the Academic Summer School, students should meet the following entry requirements:

  • A university student or a graduate at the time of attending. Professional experience can be acknowledged as equivalent to a university qualification.
  • Participants must be 18 or over at the time of attendance.
  • Fluency in the English language is recommended for non-credit courses, but essential for SOAS Accredited courses. Proficiency can be demonstrated through:
  • IELTS, 6.5 overall or higher, with at least 6 in all subscores.
  • TOEFL Paper-based test we require a minimum of 583 with a minimum 53 in all skills and for TOEFL Internet Based Test we require a minimum of 93 with a 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.
  • If you are unsure whether you meet the above entry requirements, please contact us to discuss your application.

Enrolment of applicants who do not meet the entry requirements is at the discretion of SOAS – please get in touch to speak to us about your application and we will be happy to help.

Application Procedure

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.

Application Deadline

Applications now accepted on a rolling basis for all courses.

Last updated Jan 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.

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. Read less
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