Global Challenges module (PO12004)

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Module details

This team-taught module introduces to the key global political debates and challenges in the third decade of the 21st Century. It delivers on this by examining two interrelated sets of challenges within the global order: the ideational debates taking place throughout the world and the main policy problems that stand in the way of ensuring a sustainable standard of living for the world population.

The first section engages with the dominant theoretical and ideological frameworks – and those which are gaining salience in contemporary global politics – through which substantive policy challenges are viewed, giving analysts, policymakers, and ordinary citizens different perspectives on the nature of the problems and potential solutions.

The second section addresses contemporary issues that have cross-cutting implications at the local, national, transnational, regional, and global levels. The focus is on problems that have been identified by the international community as pressing global concerns, ensuring engagement with academic analysis of politically relevant issues. Emphasis is placed on the opportunities and constraints to developing policy responses at the national and international levels.


The assessed components on this module are:

  • 50%: 5 Multiple Choice Quizzes (MCQs) worth 10% each
  • 50%: 1 written coursework essay (1500 words)


There will be 22 one-hour lectures (two per week); and 10 one-hour tutorials (one per week).

Intended Learning Outcomes

  • Knowledge and Understanding
    • acquired a detailed knowledge and understanding of key policy challenges and the ideational frameworks through which they are interpreted and debated
    • acquired an understanding of the interplay of theory and practice, linking key concepts to the development of politics and policy
  • Subject-specific practical and intellectual skills and attributes
    • furthered their skills in reading and evaluating academic publications and primary sources
    • developed their ability to evaluate different types of data (qualitative and quantitative)
  • Transferable, employability and enterprise skills and attributes
    • enhanced their oral and written communication skills
    • enhanced their problem-solving and critical reasoning skills

Indicative reading

Acharya, A. (2016) 'The Future of Global Governance: Fragmentation May Be Inevitable and Creative', Global Governance, 22(4), pp.453–460.

Baylis, J., Smith, S. and Owens, P. (2020) The Globalization of World Politics, 8th Edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Emanuel et al. (2020) ‘An Ethical Framework for Global Vaccine Allocation’, Science, 369(6509), pp.1309-1312

Grewal, KK. (2016) The Socio-Political Practice of Human Rights: Between the Universal and the Particular, London: Routledge

Haysom, L. (2018) ‘The gender equality discourse of the Sustainable Development Goals and other instruments: Advancing feminist agendas in Africa?’, Agenda, 32(1), pp.1-3

King, F. & Fraser, V. (2013) ‘Untreated pain, narcotics regulation, and global health ideologies’, PLoS Medicine, 10(4)

McCormick, J. (2018) Environmental Politics and Policy. London: Palgrave Macmillan

Pautz, H., Tozan, O. & Bradley, P (2019) On Target for 2030? An independent snapshot review of Scotland’s progress against the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Paisley: UWS-Oxfam Partnership.

Prah Ruger, J. (2018) Global Health Justice and Governance Oxford: Oxford University Press

United Nations (2020) Sustainable Development Goals Progress Report 2020, New York: United Nations, pp2-23


This module is available on following courses: