Studying online

There are now 2 possible online modes for units:

Units with modes Online timetabled and Online flexible are available for any student to self-enrol and study online.

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Unit Overview


This unit examines the art of foreign policy, providing students with foundational theoretical and empirical knowledge and developing critical skills in political and policy analysis. The unit builds directly upon introductory disciplinary study by situating the study and practice of foreign policy in relation to both public policy and international relations. The unit trains students to understand how foreign policy is both constructed and implemented, with a specific focus on how it seeks to address issues of global security, by interrogating key theories, concepts, processes and practices. It examines a range of factors that shape foreign policy, including history, culture, identity, power and political systems. The unit evaluates the roles and significance of different actors and structures in making, influencing and implementing foreign policy, such as individual decision-makers, political parties, bureaucracies, non-state actors, international organisations and the global political economy. To demonstrate the links between theory, policymaking and diplomatic practice in the contemporary international system, the unit explores and compares foreign policy in a range of case studies from the Indo-Pacific region.

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 1UWA (Perth)Face to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 2 core unit in the International Cybersecurity; Human Rights; International Relations major sequences
  • Level 2 option in the Political Science and International Relations major sequence
  • Level 2 elective

Students are able to (1) demonstrate knowledge about the nature of foreign policy and the functions of diverse foreign policy institutions, structures and agents; (2) critically analyse key foreign policy ideas, theories and concepts that seek to explain the interface between states and the international system; (3) creatively apply critical thinking and problem-solving skills to independently and collaboratively address the challenges of formulating and executing foreign policy across a range of contemporary case studies; (4) competently apply basic Political Science and International Relations methods and skills to designing and executing research on foreign policy; and (5) effectively communicate knowledge, ideas, analyses and arguments on foreign policy in different formats.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) research essay; (2) policy analysis paper; and (3) tutorial participation. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Dr Ari Jerrems
Unit rules
12 points of Social Sciences and/or Humanities study at level 1
POLS2214 Foundations of Foreign Policy
Advisable prior study
Level 1 POLS units
Contact hours
3 hours per week
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.