Module Information

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

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 16 Hours. (16 x 1 hour)
Seminars / Tutorials 8 Hours. (8 x 1 hour)


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

Learning Outcomes

1. Understand key concepts related to the study of war and politics, security and strategy.
2. Understand the ongoing debates about the causes of war and production of peace.
3. Distinguish between several levels of analysis when studying war and politics.
4. Discuss and analyse competing theories about conflict prevention in international politics.
5. Read and evaluate academic literature related to the module subject.

Brief description

This module provides an analytical foundation to the critical study of war, politics and strategy.


This module is concerned with the relationship between war and politics, strategy and security in modern international relations.

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. By introducing students to 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.

By the end of the module students should be able to discuss 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.

The objectives of the module are both subject-specific and general. The latter include the development of oral, written and research skills because of the need at all stages in the module to assimilate, use, assess and communicate large amounts of complex and often contradictory material. Week-by-week reading of assigned materials is deemed a necessary component of the learning process.

The subject-specific objectives involve the attainment of an honours-level ability to discuss the causes and significance of war, the meanings and practices of peace, the understandings and possibilities of security, the theory and practice of strategy and the roles of politics in war and war in politics.


The module is divided into three parts:

(1) the causes of war;
(2) the changing character of warfare;
(3) legal and moral restraints on war;

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