Syllabus for World Politics and Humanitarian Action

Global politik och humanitärt arbete

A revised version of the syllabus is available.


  • 5 credits
  • Course code: 5RT988
  • Education cycle: Second cycle
  • Main field(s) of study and in-depth level: International Humanitarian Action A1N
  • Grading system: Fail, Sufficient, Satisfactory, Good, Very good, Excellent
  • Established: 2019-03-06
  • Established by: The Faculty Board of Theology
  • Applies from: week 25, 2019
  • Entry requirements: The course on World Politics and Humanitarian Action is only available to students admitted to the Master Programme in International Humanitarian Action or the Master programme in Humanitarian Action and Conflict.
  • Responsible department: Department of Theology

Decisions and guidelines

The course is offered within the Master's Programme in International Humanitarian Action, 120 ECTS credits and the Master's Programme in Humanitarian Action and Conflict, 60 ECTS credits.

Learning outcomes

The module's aim is to provide a broad understanding of the geopolitical context for humanitarian activities. Special focus is placed on the political impact on humanitarian policies and their implementation in different cases. After completing the module successfully, students should have:

  • an understanding of central geopolitical perspectives and dimensions in humanitarian disaster situations;
  • an ability to use key concepts related to geopolitics for the analysis of the social and political dimensions of disaster situations;
  • an ability to formulate critical questions and problems in the geopolitical analysis of disaster situations;
  • justified and applied methodology and scientific methods correctly in an original piece of humanitarian research;
  • a highly specialised knowledge and a critical understanding of humanitarian concepts and theories;
  • an innovative expertise on a particular current theme in humanitarian action with an interdisciplinary understanding in terms of its political, legal, anthropological, public health and management aspects;
  • specialised skills to conceptualise, interpret and critically analyse complex humanitarian crises and interventions on the basis of a variety of sources, generating new interdisciplinary expertise to help solve complex humanitarian problems;
  • demonstrated the ability to position one's own research findings in the broader context of humanitarian action;
    developed an open attitude towards acquiring new knowledge and understanding about professional and academic developments in humanitarian action.


The course gives an introduction to basic geopolitical concepts and perspectives and applies them to a concrete case. Finally it introduces some issues of relevance to on-going humanitarian action situations.


The teaching on this campus course includes both lectures and seminars. Attendance at seminars and at least 75% of lectures is compulsory. Students who miss seminars must compensate for this absence. In general, students who miss more than 25% of lectures must also compensate. However, students who are absent for substantially more than 25% of lectures must instead take part in lectures the next time the course is provided. Participation in all lectures is highly encouraged since the lectures facilitate reading and analysis of the course literature.

The language of instruction is English.


The course is examined through written tests as well as by oral presentations and seminar assignments.

Grades: Fail (F), Sufficient (E), Satisfactory (D), Good (C), Very Good (B) and Excellent (A).

If there are special reasons for doing so, an examiner may make an exception from the method of assessment indicated and allow a student to be assessed by another method. An example of special reasons might be a certificate regarding special pedagogical support from the University's disability coordinator.

Transitional provisions

Students retain the right to be examined on the course according to this syllabus for 3 semesters after their course instance has ended. Normally, instruction will be given according to the latest version of the course syllabus only.

Syllabus Revisions

Reading list

Reading list

Applies from: week 25, 2019

Some titles may be available electronically through the University library.

Reading list valid from Autumn 2018

  • Flint, Colin Introduction to geopolitics


    Find in the library


  • Walker, Peter; Maxwell, Daniel G. Shaping the humanitarian world

    London: Routledge, 2009

    Find in the library


  • Wallace, Marshall From principle to practice. A user’s guide to do no harm.

    Collaborative Learning Project, 2015