Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Intended for use in future years

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 18 Hours. 18 x 1 hour lectures
Seminars / Tutorials 8 Hours. 8 x 1 hour seminars


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 1 x 2,500 word essay  40%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   60%

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module, students should be able to:
1. Identify the principal concepts, issues and threats currently dominating European security and justify their selection, thus demonstrating the changing nature of security
2. Identify and apply appropriate concepts and theories to enable students to critically analyse the complexities of the European security environment.
3. Describe and analyse the role of the principal security institutions and key state actors.
4. Discuss and compare competing influences on European security.
5. Demonstrate, through written work and in seminar discussions, an awareness and understanding of different national and European level policies, capabilties and interests.
6. Effectively deploy skills of: identification and location of appropriate sources; independent study; writing (essays and examinations); IT skils and time-management.

Brief description

This module provides the foundation for a comprehensive analysis and understanding of the concepts and dynamics of contemporary European security. It aims to develop a broad knowledge of the security concerns affecting Europe, the recent evolution of NATO and the EU in the security field and of selected national foreign, security & defence policies, emphasising the critical juncture at which European security now finds itself.


The module examines the key institutional actors in European security, the different national perspectives towards security and the transatlantic security relationship. It begins with a brief comparison of the characteristics of the pre- and post-1989 security environment in Europe, before moving on to examine how NATO and the EU have adapted to the dramatic changes and discussing the potential of the OSCE in today's Europe. The focus then turns to the interests, attitudes and policies of selected states: the traditional major players (e.g. the UK, France and Germany), the so-called 'post-neutrals', the EU's forthcoming members and the outside influence of the US and Russia. The module moves on to discuss the changing security agenda, exploring the new security risks on the European continent, including environmental and societal security and an assessment of the lessons to be learned from European experiences in the recent Balkan crises. Finally, the module discusses European attitudes to current international tensions, especially the 'war on terror', before concluding with an examination of the conceptualisation of Europe's role in international security and its potential to act effectively in the international security environment, with or without the US.


1.Introduction: The Transformation of European security
2. Conceptualising Europe
3. The OSCE: Useful or Useless?
4. NATO in the 1990s
5. NATO in the 21st Century
6. The Emergence of an EU Security and Defence Policy
7. An Operational ESDP?
8. Large European States: France, Germany & the UK
9. The Small States and the states of CEE
10. Russian Security Policy and Europe
11. The United States & Europe after the Cold War
12. The United States and Europe after September 11
13. A Widening Security Agenda: Environmental & Energy Security
14. Societal Security: Identity, Migration and Human Rights
15. European Interventionism: Values or Interests?
16. European Approaches to the Proliferation of WMD
15. Europe and the 'War on Terror'
18. Conclusion & Exam Briefing

1. Transformation & Conceptualisation
2. What Role for NATO?
3. The Militarization of the European Union?
4. The Role of European State Actors
5. Russia: Partner or a Competitor?
6. US-European Security Relations: Shift or Rift?
7. The Widening Security Agenda
8. Europe and International Terrorism


The main aim of the module is to allow students to develop a broad knowledge of the security concerns affecting Europe, the recent evolution of NATO and the EU in the security field and of selected national foreign, security and defence policies, emphasising the critical juncture at which European security now finds itself. It sets out to examine the different concepts and theories of security with the aims of providing students with the knowledge and analytical abilities to critically evaluate the changing nature of security in Europe and the role of Europe in international security.

Transferable skills

Students will develop, practise and test a range of transferable skills. On a broad level, throughout the module they will enhance their oral and written communication skills, augment their reading and comprehension abilities, improve their analytical and research capabilities, develop time management skills and strengthen their use of IT resources. More specifically in lectures the students will strengthen their listening, note taking and summarising skills; further develop effective presentation and debating abilities in seminars; and enhance their writing proficiency and independent research abilities. The essay and the examination will test the ability to write in an organised, focused and succinct manner under time constraint conditions.

Students have the opportunity to develop, practice and test a wide range of subject specific skills that help them to understand, conceptualise and evaluate examples and ideas on the module. These subject specific skills include:

  • collect and understand a wide range of data relating to the module
  • ability to evaluate competing perspectives
  • demonstrate subject specific research techniques
  • apply a range of methodologies to complex political problems
  • 10 ECTS Credits

Reading List

General Text
Cottey, Andrew. (2007.) Security in the new Europe /Andrew Cottey. Palgrave Macmillan Primo search


This module is at CQFW Level 6