Module Information

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

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Seminars / Tutorials 11 x 2 hour seminars


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 1 x 3,000- 3,500 word essay  60%
Semester Assessment 1 x 2,000-2,500 word essay  40%
Supplementary Assessment Students may, subject to Faculty approval, have the opportunity to resit this module, normally during the supplementary examination period. For further clarification please contact the Teaching Programme Administrator in the Department of International Politics. 

Learning Outcomes

On completing the module students will be able to:
1. Thorough knowledge of the different theoretical understandings of security.
2. Critically assess key concepts, related theories and related issues.
3. Critically engage with and identify, analyse and evaluate the assumptions and theories that underpin contending conceptualizations of security.
4. Critically analyse and discuss the practical implications of these different conceptualizations of security, and participate in postgraduate level discussions about contending positions in contemporary security studies.
5. Articulate, concise, persuasive and well-paced presentations in small groups.
6. Engage in critical and constructive debate.

Brief description

This module explores the 'critical' turn in thinking about security through an examination of the main alternative conceptualisations of security that have emerged in recent years and is an optional module for students on the Master's in Food and Water Security.


Students will develop the ability to analyse, evaluate and discuss:
- the assumptions, theories and practices that have defined post World War II 'traditional security studies'
- the assumptions and theories that underpin alternative conceptualisations of security, namely various forms of constructivism, post-structuralism and critical theory
- the implications of these alternative standpoints as refracted through recent debates in the area of security studies


This module provides a critical overview of the study of security in world politics from the perspective(s) of those employing alternative conceptualisations of security to the military-focused, state-centrism at the heart of traditional security/strategic studies. Following in-depth discussion of traditional understandings of security the module discusses various other contemporary attempts to conceptualise the nature of security. The differences and common ground between these approaches is highlighted through a consideration of key debates in contemporary security studies.


This module is at CQFW Level 7