Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Semester 2
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 14 hours (14 x 1 hour)
Seminars / Tutorials 8 hours (8 x 1 hour)


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Seminar performance  10%
Semester Assessment 1 x 2,500 word essay  40%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   exam  50%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

On completion of the module, students should be able to:

- Critically assess the literature on the causes of war
- Discuss a range of key concepts and historical and contemporary events in relation to the evolution of war
- Understand the role of legal and moral restraints on war
- Assess the conflicting theories on whether force can be controlled or abolished as a tool of inter-state relations

Brief description

This module provides an analytical foundation to the critical study of war, politics and strategy. The study of the inter-relationships between war, politics and strategy has been at the heart of academic international relations. Both the subject-matter and the approaches adopted, however, have attracted considerable controversy. The module covers a range of key concepts, theoretical explanations and historical events/trends insofar as they relate to important questions about war, peace, politics, security, force, military power and strategy. The understanding of this material is the basis for examining pressing questions of international security in the world today.



1. Introduction to the module
2. What is war?
3. Political philosophy of war
4. How to study war in international politics
5. Balance of power
6. Cooperation under anarchy
7. Collective security
8. Peacemaking
9. The obsolescence of war
10. Militarism
11. The military-industrial complex
12. Civil-military control
13. Defense expertise vs. democratic politics
14. Conclusion: Every war must end (?)


By introducing a wide variety of intellectual traditions and contemporary ideas about the subject, it is the aim of this module to provide students with a comprehensive basis (concepts, theories and some, especially intellectual, history) for understanding and explaining the most salient issues of war, politics and strategy in the contemporary world.

Transferable skills

Students will have the opportunity to develop, practice and test a wide range of transferable skills that will help them to understand, conceptualise and evaluate examples and ideas. Throughout the course, students should practice and enhance their reading, comprehension and thinking skills, as well as basic numeric skills and self-management skills. In lectures students will develop listening and note taking skills, as well as analytical skills. In seminars students will enhance their analytical skills and will practice listening, explaining and debating skills, as well as team-work and problem solving. Essay writing will encourage students to practice their independent research, writing and IT skills, and the examination will test these skills under time constraint conditions.

10 ECTS credits

Reading List

Should Be Purchased
Von Clausewitz, Carl (1832) On War Various translations & editions in print. Recommended editions: Everyman's Library, 1993 or Princeton University Press, 1989 Primo search Waltz, Kenneth Neal. (1959.) Man, the state and war :a theoretical analysis. Any reprint is good. Columbia U.P.; Primo search War, Politics and Strategy study pack. (to be purchased from InterPol office) Primo search


This module is at CQFW Level 6