Skip to content

Module Catalogue

Breadcrumbs navigation

IR5070   Leaders, Psychology and Foreign Policy

Academic year(s): 2024-2025

Key information

SCOTCAT credits : 30

ECTS credits : 15

Level : SCQF level 11

Semester: 2

Availability restrictions: Available to students studying on campus MLitt programmes in the School of International Relations.

Planned timetable: Thursday 11am - 2pm

Research in the field of Foreign Policy Analysis takes seriously the impact individual leaders can have on foreign policy and 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, beliefs, and information processing affect their decision-making and their conduct of foreign policy and other politically important behaviours (organising political violence, heading international organisations, commanding wars, etc.). This module will examine psychological approaches to the study of political leaders, 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.

Learning and teaching methods and delivery

Weekly contact: 1 Lecture (X11 weeks); 1 Seminar (X11 weeks); 1 Tutorial/Laboratory (X11 weeks)

Scheduled learning hours: 33

Guided independent study hours: 253

Assessment pattern

As used by St Andrews: 100% coursework

Re-assessment: 100% Written Examination


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

Intended learning outcomes

  • Explain the dominant approaches to the study of the psychology of foreign policy leaders.
  • Assess the political conditions influencing the impact of individual leaders on foreign policy.
  • Evaluate decision-making practices and their impact on foreign policy.
  • Conduct a personality profile of a political leader using content analysis software.