Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
The Making of National Security Policy
Academic Year
Semester 1
Other Staff

Course Delivery



Due to Covid-19 students should refer to the module Blackboard pages for assessment details

Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 1 x 2000 word book review  40%
Semester Assessment 1 x 3000 word research essay  60%
Supplementary Assessment 1 x 2000 word book review  40%
Supplementary Assessment 1 x 3000 word research essay  60%

Learning Outcomes

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

1. Identify and critically discuss key analytical concepts in the study of the making of national security policy.
2. Apply these analytical concepts in detail to a range of historical and contemporary cases.
3. Identify and critically discuss key elements of processes of national security policy-making.
4. Identify and systematically evaluate the complex relationships between such elements in specific instances of policy decisions


The module is taught through a combination of lectures and seminars. The key thematic areas of focus for analysis through the lectures and seminars are identified below:
- Systemic pressures on policy-making
- Domestic, bureaucratic, cultural influences on policies
- Acquisition of weapons systems
- Alliance commitments, collaboration and discord
- Decisions to use military force

Brief description

This module examines factors influencing processes of policy-making in the area of national security. Why do states adopt certain security policies from among the range of possible options? Why are particular issues deemed security issues, while others remain beyond the purview of security policy-making? What is the significance and meaning of such designation? How are security policies constructed and which factors and/or actors influence policy decisions? These are just some of the questions the module will address. The module will explore processes of national security policy-making across a range of issues and countries. It will focus on systemic, domestic, and bureaucratic factors as well as main actors, institutional mechanisms, economic and societal constraints, and knowledge claims which influence the processes of national security policy-making.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number N/A
Communication Students will learn how to present their ideas verbally and in writing, and how to present their arguments most effectively. They will develop skills in using the many sources of information available to best advantage. They will learn to be clear in their writing and speaking 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. Students will also be required to submit their written assessments in word-processed format and the presentation of work should reflect effective expression of ideas and good use of language skills in order to ensure clarity, coherence and effective communication.
Improving own Learning and Performance The module aims to promote self-management but within a context in which support and assistance is available from the module convenor and other students. Students will be expected to improve their own learning and performance by undertaking their own research and exercising their own initiative, including searching for sources and deciding how to answer assessed essay questions.
Information Technology Students will enhance their proficiency using Blackboard, where materials to support learning will be made available. Students will also develop skills in searching for, and assessing the validity of, online information sources as part of preparation for lectures, seminars and assessed tasks. Assessed work will be presented in electronic format, according to standard expectations.
Personal Development and Career planning The module is designed to hone and test skills of use to students in their working lives, particularly in speaking to small groups, listening, thinking and responding to the statement of others. Moreover, the written work requires students to write clearly and concisely, which is a common task in the workplace. Students will be encouraged throughout to reflect on their performance and to consider lessons for future application.
Problem solving Independent work and problem solving will be one central goal of the module; the submission of written assignments will require that students develop independent research skills as well as problem solving 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
Research skills Students will be required to undertake independent research in order to complete the assessed work. This will involve utilizing a range of information sources, including core academic texts, journal articles, electronic publications, and online news sources.
Subject Specific Skills 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 • Evaluate competing perspectives • Apply a range of methodologies to complex historical and contemporary social and political problems.
Team work Students will undertake team exercises in the seminars. For many of the topics of this module, seminars will consist of small-group discussions where students will be asked to discuss as a group the core issues related to the seminar topic. These class discussions and debates form a significant part of the module, and will allow students to approach and examine a given topic through team work


This module is at CQFW Level 6