Undergraduate Module Descriptor

POL2117: Great Power Politics

This module descriptor refers to the 2021/2 academic year.

Module Content

Syllabus Plan

While the content of this module is likely to change from year to year, to reflect advances in the field, it is envisaged that we will cover all or some of the following topics:

  • What are “great” powers, how do we define them, and why does it matter?
  • Why do great powers sometimes cooperate yet sometimes compete (and even fight)?  
  • What are the causes and consequences of shifts in the interstate balance of power?
  • Which states are great powers today, and what does the future hold?
  • What does technology (such as nuclear weapons) and geography (such as oceanic separation) do to great power relations?
  • What does contemporary great power competition mean for UK/Western foreign and defence policy?

Learning and Teaching

This table provides an overview of how your hours of study for this module are allocated:

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

...and this table provides a more detailed breakdown of the hours allocated to various study activities:

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning & Teaching Activity2211 x 2hr lecture-seminars
Guided Independent Study128Seminar preparation, assessment completion, and other related reading/research

Online Resources

This module has online resources available via ELE (the Exeter Learning Environment).