Decision Points: The Domestic Context of US Foreign Policy Decision Making

Module code: POPP 5023

Module description

The purpose of this module is to provide context for presidential decision making and a range of key US foreign policy developments in recent decades. Foreign policy occurs in a wider framework with the nation's politics, often resulting in decision making on crucial issues being driven by domestic pressures on the president. The module will offer a critique of some key moments, examining theories and approaches to how and why these developments occurred, with specific emphasis on presidential decision-making at critical foreign policy junctures. Sessions will take a thematic approach, and as the module progresses, specific case studies will be considered in order to assess the power balance at times of crisis between the executive and for example, congress, the media and different government department such as state and defence. The influence of public opinion and external entities such as international organisations will also be examined. Towards the second half of the course, a guest speaker will be invited to come and address the class.

Contact hours per student per year

  • Lectures: 12 hours
  • Tutorials: 12 hours


  • Essay: 75%
  • Presentation: 25%

Additional costs: No extra costs other than purchase of books