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IR3075   Leader Personality and Foreign Policy

Academic year(s): 2024-2025

Key information

SCOTCAT credits : 30

ECTS credits : 15

Level : SCQF level 9

Semester: 2

Planned timetable: Semester 1: 3 - 5pm Thurs; Semester 2: 3 - 5pm Mon

A thriving research area of foreign policy analysis has taken seriously the impact individuals can have on international relations. Political Psychology focuses on the characteristics of individuals and how this influences political processes and outcomes. Political psychologists who focus on political leaders have examined in detail the ways in which leaders' personalities, experiences, and personal traits affect their conduct of foreign policy and other politically important behaviours (organising political violence, heading international organisations, commanding wars, etc.). This module will examine approaches to the study of political personality, focusing primarily on social scientific methods and findings. Students will have the opportunity to conduct political personality profiles of leaders, including the use of automated computer software to analyse leaders' speeches and writings. This module involves an additional .5-hour/week political personality laboratory.

Relationship to other modules

Pre-requisite(s): Before taking this module you must pass IR2006

Anti-requisite(s): You cannot take this module if you take IR4546

Learning and teaching methods and delivery

Weekly contact: One 1-hour lecture per week, one 1-hour seminar per week, one 30 minute laboratory per week.

Scheduled learning hours: 25

Guided independent study hours: 278

Assessment pattern

As used by St Andrews: Coursework = 100%

Re-assessment: 3-hour Written Exmination = 100%


Module coordinator: Dr R K Beasley
Module teaching staff: Dr R Beasley

Intended learning outcomes

  • understand the dominant approaches to the systematic study of political leadership in foreign policy.
  • be able to recognise the strengths and limitations of individual-level factors in explaining foreign policy.
  • develop skills in content analysis and the use of machine-assisted content analysis of political leaders.
  • develop skills in designing a research study, which is a transferable skill and also relevant to the IR dissertation module (IR4099).