Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Semester 1
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 16 x 1 hour lectures
Seminars / Tutorials 8 x 1 hour seminars


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 1 x 3,000 word essay  50%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   50%
Supplementary Assessment Students failing the module will repeat only the failed component(s); those re-sitting failed coursework are required to select a different essay/assignment title and must not submit re-written versions of the original essay/assignment. 

Learning Outcomes

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

1. Discuss the effect of nuclear weapons upon International Politics.
2. Describe and analyse the key features of nuclear history during the Cold War.
3. Demonstrate, through written work and in seminars, an ability to apply historical and theoretical analysis of the nuclear age.
4. Critically analyse the major nuclear policies of the two Cold War superpowers.
5. Discuss why other nuclear states chose to acquire the bomb.
6. Illustrate and evaluate larger theoretical conceptions of the nuclear dilemma.


This module adds to the Departmental provision in the area of international history, nuclear history, and Cold War politics. It complements existing provision in this area and allows interested students to gain specialist knowledge of the history of nuclear crises, proliferation, and war-avoidance during the period 1941-1991.

Brief description

This module examines the nuclear rivalry between the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War, especially during the period 1945-62, together with the proliferation of the bomb to other states, the establishment of Mutual Assured Destruction after the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the role of nuclear fear in the ending of the Cold War in the late 1980s and early 1990s.


Dawn of the Atomic Age.
International Politics during the American Monopoly.
The advent of Mutual Assured Destruction.
Years of Crisis.
The acceptance of Mutual Assured Destruction.
Nuclear Weapons and the End of the Cold War.
Theoretical Debates: Robert Jervis and the idea of the Thermonuclear Revolution.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number N/A
Communication Students will learn how to present their ideas both verbally and in writing and how to assert themselves to advantage. They will understand the importance of information and clear communication and how to exploit these. They will know how to use the many sources of information available and how to use the most appropriate form of communication to the best advantage. They will learn to be clear and direct in their and to be direct about aims and objectives. They will learn to consider only that which is relevant to the topic, focus and objectives of their argument or discussion. Seminars will be run in groups where oral discussion and presentations will form the main medium of teaching and the emphasis throughout the module will be on student participation and communication.
Improving own Learning and Performance The module aims to promote self-management but within a context of assistance from both the convenor and the fellow students alike. Students will be expected to improve their own learning and performance by undertaking their own research and to exercise their own initiative, including searching for sources, compiling reading lists, and deciding (under guidance) the direction of their essay and presentation topics. The need to conduct a seminar presentation and to meet an essay deadline will focus students' attention on the need to manage their time and opportunity resources well.
Information Technology Students will be expected to submit their work in word-processed format. Also, students will be encouraged to search for sources of information on the web, as well as seeking sources through electronic information sources (such as Web of Science and OCLC).
Personal Development and Career planning The discussions in particular will help to develop students' verbal and presentation skills. Learning about the process of planning an essay and a presentation, framing the parameters of the projects, honing and developing the projects and seeing through to completion will contribute towards their portfolio of transferable skills
Problem solving Independent project work and problem solving will be one of the central goals of the module; the submission of an essay will require that the student develops independent research skills as well as problem solving skills. The need to research and prepare seminar presentations will also enable the student to develop independent project skills. The ability of students to solve problems will be developed and assessed by asking them to: adopt differing points of view; organize data and estimate an answer to the problem; consider extreme cases; reason logically; construct theoretical models; consider similar cases; look for patterns; divide issues into smaller problems. A final examination will ensure that an assessment of the student's ability to work alone can be undertaken.
Research skills The submission of an essay will reflect the independent research skills of the student. The need to locate appropriate research resources and write up the results will also facilitate research skills. Research preparation for a seminar presentation will also enable the student to develop independent project skills. A final examination will ensure that an assessment of the student's ability to work alone can be undertaken.
Subject Specific Skills
Team work Seminars will consist in part of small-group discussion where students will be obliged to discuss as a group the core issues related to seminar topics. Such class room debates and discussions are a vital component of the module.


This module is at CQFW Level 6