Foreign Policy Analysis

Degree Programme: Political Science(8th semester – compulsory)

Teaching hours:3 per week-ECTS

CourseTutor: Sotiris Serbos, Assistant Professor

Content and brief description:

An upper-level course examines the key concepts and schools of thought in foreign policy analysis that shape our understanding of foreign policy; concentrating particularly on the process of decision making, the internal and external factors which influence foreign policy decisions, the instruments available to foreign policy decision makers and the effect of changes in the international system on foreign policy. Special emphasis is placed. Special emphasis is placed on the role of leadership, the bureaucracy and interest groups in setting the state’s foreign policy agendaThe course combines a discussion of these theories with their application to selected countries in Europe and Asia, international organizations and transnational actors.

Course outline:

  • Introduction to the central concepts in foreign policy analysis
  • The rational actor model
  • Systemic theories
  • Levels of analysis and foreign policy
  • The role of political elites: perceptions and convictions
  • Bureaucracy and organizational models
  • Power and foreign policy
  • The foreign policy of non-state actors
  • Public opinion and mass media
  • Culture, identity and ideas
  • Psychology theories
  • Case-studies

Learning outcomes:

At the end of the course and having completed the essential reading and activities students should be able to:

  • Identify, understand and critically assess the processes involved in foreign policy decision making.
  • Discuss the contexts, pressures and constraints with which foreign policy makers have to deal.
  • Analyze relevant criteria for assessing foreign policy decisions.
  • Contrast and compare the strength of theoretical approaches used in foreign policy analysis.


  • Final exam (80%)
  • Essay (20%)


  • Τσαρδανίδης, Τ., 2006. Το Σύστημα Λήψης Αποφάσεων στην Εξωτερική Πολιτική. Αθήνα: Εκδόσεις Παπαζήση.
  • Nye, J., 2009. Ηγεσίες που πρωτοπορούν. Αθήνα: Εκδόσεις Παπαζήση, 2009.
  • Βαρβαρούσης, Π., 2004. Διεθνείς Σχέσεις και Εξωτερική Πολιτική στον 21ο αιώνα. Αθήνα: Εκδόσεις Παπαζήση.
  • Breuning, M., 2007. Foreign Policy Analysis: A Comparative Introduction. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Hill, C., 2003. The Changing Politics of Foreign Policy. Basingstoke: Palgrave.
  • Allison, G. & Zelikow, P., 2006. Η κρίση της Κούβας: Η ουσία της απόφασης. Αθήνα: Εκδόσεις Παπαζήση.
  • Snyder, R. et al., 2002. Foreign Policy Decision Making (Revisited). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Ηρακλείδης, Α., 2011. Ανάλυση και επίλυση συγκρούσεων, Αθήνα: Εκδόσεις Ι. Σιδέρης.
  • Κουσκουβέλης, H., 1997. Λήψη Αποφάσεων Κρίση Διαπραγμάτευση: Θεωρία και Πρακτική. Αθήνα: Εκδόσεις Παπαζήση.
  • Hudson, V., 2005. Foreign Policy Analysis: Actor-Specific Theory and the Ground of International Relations. Foreign policy analysis, 1 (1), pp. 1-30.
  • Hagan, J., 2001. Does Decision Making Matter? Systematic Assumptions vs. Historical Reality in International Relations Theory. International Studies Review, 3 (2), pp. 5-46.