The International Politics Summer School tackles the vital issues that shape politics in the modern world, in a rigorous academic environment.
Participants will apply their knowledge to in depth analysis of key countries and regions outside of Western Europe and North America, and will engage with broader issues that affect all parts of the globe.
This programme is organised by two of Oxford University`s foremost institutions - St Antony`s College, Oxford's only college to focus exclusively on international affairs, and the Department for Continuing Education.
The academic programme consists of
- a daily lecture programme given by world-renowned academics: previous lecturers have included best-selling authors, Emeritus Professor in Politics Archie Brown, Margaret Macmillan, Rosemary Foot, William Beinart, Laurence Whitehead, Rana Mitter;
- small seminar groups with a specialist tutor, which enable participants to study their subject in meaningful detail; and
- lively daily discussion groups led by current Oxford University doctoral students.
Applicants choose one course from:
- Democracy and Authoritarianism in Russia and the Former Soviet Union
- Democratisation in Latin America
- International Relations of China and the Asia-Pacific
- Political Transformation in the Contemporary Middle East.
Each seminar has five two-hour meetings per week, and classes will usually contain no more than 12 students.
The programme provides a minimum of 45 contact hours, comprising
- 15 hours of lectures (10 lectures, each lasting 1.5 hours);
- 20 hours of seminar meetings (10 meetings, each lasting 2 hours); and
- 10 hours of discussion group sessions (10 discussions, each lasting 1 hour).
Democracy and Authoritarianism in Russia and the Former Soviet Union
This course examines the ever-evolving political developments in the former Soviet Union from the collapse of communism to the present day. It addresses the key questions that have dominated politics in this region over the last two decades:
- Why did communism collapse?
- What types of political regime have emerged?
- Do ethnic and clan conflicts pose a serious threat to regime stability?
- How have natural resources shaped the development of market economies?
- Is Russia still the dominant power in the region?
- What caused the `coloured revolutions` of the mid-2000s?
- What are the prospects for social, economic and political modernisation?
Among the dominant themes running throughout the course will be the extent to which developments since the Soviet collapse reflect basic continuities in politics as well as radical change. The focus will be on the non-EU countries of the former Soviet Union.
Tutor: Professor Paul Chaisty is University Lecturer in Russian Government at St Antony's College, Oxford, and Director of the Oxford University International Politics Summer School. His publications include Legislative Politics and Economic Power in Russia (Palgrave Macmillan, 2006), as well as articles in journals such as Europe-Asia Studies, Government and Opposition, The Journal of Legislative Studies, Legislative Studies Quarterly, Party Politics andPost-Soviet Affairs. He is the co-author of Coalitional Presidentialism in Comparative Perspective: Minority Executives in Multiparty Systems (Oxford University Press, forthcoming).
Democratisation in Latin America
This course explores the process of democratisation in Latin America since the late 1970s. While the focus will be on the contemporary or ‘third wave’ democratisation, the course will take a long historical perspective aiming at a better understanding of the achievements, failures and limitations of the long road towards democracy in the region. The topics covered include:
- Earlier ‘waves of democracy’
- The rule of law and populism
- Presidentialism and political parties
- Ethnic politics and representation
- Public opinion and civil society
- Democratic performance
Although the course will look at regional trends, the focus will be on Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, Chile, Venezuela and Bolivia.
Tutor: Professor Eduardo Posada-Carbó is Professor of the History and Politics of Latin America at the School of Interdisciplinary Area Studies, Oxford, and a Research Fellow at St Antony’s College, Oxford. His publications include: (ed.) Elections Before Democracy. The History of Elections in Europe and Latin America (Palgrave Macmillan, 1996), and La nación soñada: violencia, liberalismo y democracia en Colombia (Grupo Editorial Norma, 2006), as well as articles in the Hispanic American Historical Review, Journal of Latin American Studies, Latin American Research Review, Journal of Democracy, Revista de Occidente, Caravelle and Revista de Estudios Sociales. He is the general editor of a five volume history of Colombia, published by Santillana in Spain; with Samuel Valenzuela (University of Notre Dame, USA), he co-edited a book on the origins of democracy in the Americas (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming); and, with Andrew Robertson (CUNY, New York), he is co-editing the Oxford Handbook of Revolutionary Elections in the Americas, 1800-1910, to be published by Oxford University Press.
International Relations of China and the Asia-Pacific
This course will explore China’s evolving role in the international political and economic system and will examine the country’s external relations with key state, non-state, and institutional actors. No prior knowledge of China or the East Asian region will be assumed. The classes will lay emphasis on a policy-led but theoretically-informed analysis of the character of China’s international relations. The course will seek to explain how the overlaps between political and economic policy impact China’s external relations. It will examine a number of important relationships with the aim of creating a balanced perspective on issues such as:
- Tensions in the East and South China Seas
- The dynamics of cross-Taiwan Strait security
- Strategic rivalry with the United States
- The role of competing values in relations with the European Union
- China’s growing visibility in the institutional structure of global governance
Tutor: Dr Paul Irwin Crookes is Lecturer in the International Relations of China and Director of Graduate Studies for the School of Interdisciplinary Area Studies at Oxford University. He gained Mphil and PhD degrees from the Centre of International Studies at the University of Cambridge and holds a BSc(Economics) from the LSE. He has research interests in East Asian security, EU-China relations, and China’s innovation capabilities. Publications include The Politics of EU-China Economic Relations: Constraints on Cooperation in the 21st Century(Palgrave, forthcoming in 2016) and Cross-Taiwan Strait Relations in an Era of Technological Change: Security, Economic and Cultural Dimensions (co-edited with Jan Knoerich; Palgrave, 2015), as well as articles in journals such as China Information, International Politics, andEuropean Foreign Affairs Review.
Political Transformation in the Contemporary Middle East
Popular protests have shaken governments all across the Middle East over the past five years. The wide range of changes that have taken place since 2011 can be seen in four crucial countries: Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia and Iraq. This course will explore:
- How authoritarian regimes came to be challenged by large-scale popular mobilisation
- Why some uprisings overturned well-entrenched leaderships, while others did not and still others precipitated civil war
- What role militant Islamic movements played in the uprisings
- How the revolts that erupted in 2011 resulted in the emergence of the Islamic State
Tutor: Professor Fred Lawson is Professor of Government at Mills College, USA, and a Visiting Fellow of St Antony's College, Oxford. He is one of the world’s leading authorities on the politics and international relations of the Middle East. He was Fulbright Lecturer in International Relations at the University of Aleppo, Syria, in 1992-93, and Fulbright Lecturer in Political Science at the University of Aden, Yemen, in 2001. His publications include Bahrain: The Modernization of Autocracy (Westview Press, 1989), Why Syria Goes to War (Cornell University Press, 1996), Constructing International Relations in the Arab World (Stanford University Press, 2006) and Global Security Watch Syria (Westview Press, 2013). He is editor ofDemystifying Syria (Saqi Books, 2009).
All students who complete the programme will receive an `attendance certificate`.
Those seeking credit at their home institution may request a `detailed certificate` which lists contact hours (for lectures, seminars and discussion group sessions) and the grade achieved for their written work. Certificates will usually be sent to students' home institutions within a month of the end of the summer school.
Please note that, as Oxford University does not offer credit for this summer school, those wishing to obtain credit from their home institution for attending this programme must make appropriate arrangements with that institution in advance.
Level and demands
Who is the programme for?
- Graduates with a subject-appropriate academic background: this could include students who are currently engaged in postgraduate study, or former students who wish to refresh and update their knowledge of international affairs
- Teachers of politics, international relations or political science in schools and colleges
- Professionals in the field of international politics
- Senior undergraduates who have completed two years of a full-time university degree course in a relevant academic discipline - ie politics, international relations or political science
This is an intensive programme of study taught to an informed international audience.
Applicants should be confident that they are academically and linguistically prepared for such a programme.
Participants are expected to
- undertake preparatory reading in advance of the programme;
- attend all lectures, seminar meetings and discussion group sessions;
- be actively engaged with their seminar topic;
- submit an assignment of 2000 words in length; and
- undertake approximately 80 hours of private study during the programme (elements of private study will include: reading and other preparation between seminar meetings and discussion sessions, work in libraries, writing a paper, etc).
English language requirements
As students are expected to participate fully in seminar and group discussions and are required to produce written work it is important that applicants can demonstrate an appropriate level of proficiency in the four language skills - listening, reading, writing and speaking.
Applicants for whom English is not their first language must provide evidence of their competency in the form of an original certificate or a certified copy that is not more than two years old on the date the summer school starts. These applicants must satisfy one of the following requirements:
- IELTS Academic - minimum overall score of 6.5, with not less than 6.5 in each of the four components
- TOEFL iBT - minimum overall score of 100, with not less than 25 in each of the four components
- Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) - grade C or above
For further information on English language qualifications:
However, non-native speakers of English who have successfully completed a full-time degree-level programme at a university where English is the language of instruction or who have significant business and professional experience in an English-speaking environment may not need to provide a certificate of English language qualification. Please contact the Programme Administrator for further details.
Important information regarding immigration and visa requirements
If you are an European Economic Area (EEA) or Swiss national you do not need a visa to enter the UK to participate in the summer school. You are free to enter the UK as long as you show your EEA or Swiss passport on arrival.
If you are not an EEA or Swiss national, you may need to apply for a visa to enter the UK depending on which passport you hold. Click here to check whether you require a visa
If the system shows that you require a visa: you should apply for a short-term study visa,which allows students over the age of 18 to study either part-time or full-time for up to 6 months in the UK - click here for details
If the system shows that you do not require a visa: you will still need to bring certain documents to show at the border in order to be admitted as a short-term student - click here for details
If you are not an EEA or Swiss national we strongly recommend that you establish whether you will require a visa before submitting your application. Please check current visa processing times to find out how long getting a visa might take in the country you are applying from. Please note that you should ensure your summer school application is submitted as early as possible to allow yourself sufficient time to complete the visa application process.
The Programme Administrator will provide all non-EEA students with a standard format letter confirming enrolment and course details once their fees have been paid in full.
Please note that, for legal reasons, the Programme Administrator is not permitted to provide any visa advice to applicants: all such enquiries should be submitted to Oxford University’s student visa and immigration advisers via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Disabled students (including those with mobility difficulties)
The aim of Oxford University Department for Continuing Education (OUDCE) is to treat all students equally and welcomes applications from people with disabilities. Individuals` needs are taken into account as far as possible, providing reasonable adaptations and assistance within the resources available. We ask that people let us know of any disability or special need (confidentially if required) so that we can help them participate as fully as possible.
When applying for OUDCE`s college-based summer schools, prospective students with mobility difficulties or visual or hearing impairments may want to make preliminary enquiries to the Programme Administrator, as the age and layout of these colleges often makes them user-unfriendly (although adaptations are often possible). Oxford, as an ancient city, tends to be difficult to navigate for people with disabilities. The number of very old buildings, designed in an age less sensitive to issues of disability, makes access to much of the city centre difficult. However, OUDCE will do as much as it is able to make study with the department possible.
Applicants should contact us if they will have problems gaining access to a bedroom or a teaching room that is located on upper or basement floors.
St Antony's College was founded to be a centre of advanced study and research in the fields of modern international history, philosophy, economics and politics. Today St Antony’s College is the leading graduate college at Oxford University dedicated to international, interdisciplinary and area studies. It houses several regional centres focused on Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, Japan, Russia, Eurasia and the Middle East. St Antony’s can boast some of the world’s most revered academics, industrialists and politicians.
Bedrooms and meals
Students will normally have a single study bedroom with private bathroom facilities; a limited number of standard rooms with shared bathroom facilities is also availaible for a reduced fee.
Students cannot be accommodated by St Antony's College either prior to or beyond their programme dates. Family members and/or friends who are not enrolled on this summer school cannot be accommodated in college.
Students will take meals in the college's dining hall. All meals are self-service with a range of options available. The only exception is the summer school's closing dinner, which is a served set menu meal. Should applicants have any dietary requirements (eg vegetarian, gluten-free) they are required to complete the relevant section on the application form.
Students will be enrolled as readers at Oxford University`s main reference library, the Bodleian. They will also have access to St Antony`s College Library, and the Social Science and Continuing Education Libraries.
Students will be eligible to use the computers and printers in St Antony`s College's computer room. Wireless internet access is available in all bedrooms and some communal spaces of the college.
- Residential: En suite - private shower and toilet - £2,695
Fees include tuition; access to IT facilities and libraries; accommodation in a single en suite room with private shower and toilet for the nights of Sunday 31 July to Friday 12 August 2016 inclusive; meals in hall from dinner on Sunday 31 July to breakfast on Saturday 13 August 2016 (except lunch on Saturdays and Sundays).
- Residential: Standard - shared bathroom facilities - 2,285 (limited availability)
Fees include tuition; access to IT facilities and libraries; accommodation in a standard single room with shared bathroom facilities for the nights of Sunday 31 July to Friday 12 August 2016 inclusive; meals in hall from dinner on Sunday 31 July to breakfast on Saturday 13 August 2016 (except lunch on Saturdays and Sundays).
Please note that there are no sources of funding (scholarships, bursaries, etc) available for applicants.
Invoicing and payment
Successful applicants who accept their offer of a place on the summer school will be invoiced for the appropriate programme fee once they have been formally enrolled on the programme.
Invoices will be posted to students together with full instructions for payment. Fees may be paid online with a credit or debit card, or by bank transfer.
Students are required to pay the full fee within 30 days of the date on which their invoice was issued. Late applicants (see 'Apply for this course', below) are required to pay the full fee within 7 days of their invoice date.
Please note that:
- students are expected to take out vacation cancellation insurance to cover the programme fee and travel costs (see 'Cancellations', below);
- a student's place on the summer school is not confirmed until their fees have been paid in full;
- places will not be held for students whose fees are not paid in full by the due date; and
- in no circumstances will students be admitted to the summer school unless all fees have been paid in full.
When you have paid your fees
Your place on the summer school is confirmed as soon as your payment is received by OUDCE.
You will receive a receipt for your payment: by email if paid online, or by post if paid by bank transfer.
If you are a non-EEA student you will receive a letter confirming your enrolment and course details which may be used to support your application for a short-term study visa: this letter will be sent by post (see 'Level and demands', above).
All enrolments are subject to OUDCE's Terms and Conditions for Course Registration and Fee Payment
A contract between OUDCE and a student comes into being when an offer of a place on the summer school is made.
You have the right to cancel this contract at any time within 14 days, beginning on the day you received the offer, by declining the offer of a place.
Please be aware that if you cancel your place at any time after the expiry of the 14-day period you will not be entitled to a refund of the price paid for the summer school.
If you wish to cancel your place on the summer school you must inform the Programme Administrator by email at email@example.com
You are expected to take out vacation cancellation insurance to cover the programme fee and travel costs, and you should consult your travel agent and/or insurer for information and advice. Please note that OUDCE does not provide any insurance cover.
OUDCE reserves the right to alter details of any course should illness or any other emergency prevent a tutor from teaching, and to cancel a course or seminar if exceptionally low enrolment would make it educationally unviable.
The status of this course will be reviewed on 1 May 2016. If it is likely that individual seminars or the course may be cancelled, all those affected will be notified by email within 7 days, and possible options clearly explained.
If you have not heard from OUDCE by 8 May 2016, you should assume that the course and your seminars will be running; there is no need to contact us to confirm. You may wish to delay finalising your travel arrangements until after this date.
Apply for this course
Before you submit your application
- ensure you meet the admissions criteria (see 'Level and demands', above);
- make sure you have all the required supporting documents listed below;
- ensure you are familiar with the terms and conditions of enrolment on the summer school, especially those relating to payment of fees and cancellations (see 'Payment', above); and
- Read the 'Important information regarding immigration and visa requirements' (see 'Level and demands', above).
The application process
Please ensure all sections are completed fully, clearly, and in BLOCK CAPITALS.
The form must be accompanied by:
- A brief statement of purpose (350-400 words) detailing your academic reasons for wishing to attend the summer school. This should include what you hope to get out of the programme, and what you are likely to contribute to the intellectual life of the summer school. This may include details of politics, international relations or political science courses you have previously taken, or the relevance of the summer school to your present course of study or professional development. It is essential that you clearly state your reasons for wishing to enrol on a specific seminar.
- Copies of your university transcripts. These must be in English.
- In the case of non-native speakers of English, official evidence of English language competency.
- A letter of recommendation, ideally from a person who knows your academic work, though in the case of those no longer engaged in courses of academic study, recommendations from other sources (eg your employer or head teacher) will be accepted. A reference from a family member is not acceptable. Please note that the letter of recommendation must refer specifically to your application to the Oxford University International Politics Summer School.
- Four photographs (UK passport-sized - ie 4.5cm high x 3.5cm wide), with your full nameprinted on the back of each - click here for passport photo requirements.
Please note that incomplete applications will not be considered.
Applications should be posted to: International Politics Summer School, OUDCE, 1 Wellington Square, OXFORD, OX1 2JA, UK
You may wish to send your application by a courier service or registered post for speed and/or security of delivery.
Please note that we are currently unable to receive applications by email or fax.
After you have submitted your application
You will receive an email from firstname.lastname@example.org confirming receipt of your application materials, and informing you when your application will be reviewed by the Programme Director.
Applications will be reviewed on a first come, first served or rolling basis until 15 April 2016.
There is a limited number of places available on every seminar, and in assigning successful applicants to classes the Programme Director will pay particular attention to applicants' personal statements.
Subject to the availability of places, late applications may be considered until 15 May 2016.
Notification of the Programme Director's decision
Applicants will normally be notified of the Programme Director's decision by email from email@example.com within 14 days of their application having been received.
Applicants who are offered a place on the summer school must respond in writing within 14 days to accept or decline the offer. In accepting an offer of a place applicants are committing to paying their programme fees in full by the due date.
Please note that late applicants will be notified within 7 days of their materials having been received, and successful applicants will then have 7 days in which to accept or decline the offer of a place.
Students will be formally enrolled on the summer school once they have accepted their offer of a place.
The enrolment process includes the issuing of invoices, which will be posted to students together with full instructions for payment (see 'Payment', above).
Further course information
Students will receive the following information by email from firstname.lastname@example.org prior to the summer school:
- In February 2016 - academic and course information, including further course content and required preparatory reading*
- In February 2016 - joining instructions, containing a wealth of practical information to assist students as they prepare to travel to to the summer school (eg how to get to Oxford, arrangements at St Antony's College)*
- In May 2016 - details of the lecture programme
- In June 2016 - detailed seminar information, giving a session-by-session breakdown of topics to be covered and required readings (students will receive this information direct from their tutor)
- In June 2016 - confirmation of arrival day arrangements.
*Successful applicants who accept their offer of a place from March 2016 onwards will receive this information on enrolment.
Please contact the Programme Administrator by email at email@example.com
If you have any questions about this course, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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