Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
A War on the Mind: Propaganda and Secret Intelligence from the Great War to the 21st Century
Academic Year
Semester 2
Reading List
Other Staff

Course Delivery



Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Seminar participation  10%
Semester Assessment Essay  2000 Words  50%
Semester Assessment Propaganda piece  1500 Words  40%
Supplementary Assessment Essay  2000 Words  50%
Supplementary Assessment Propaganda piece  1500 Words  40%
Supplementary Assessment Report in lieu of seminar participation  500 Words  10%

Learning Outcomes

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

Demonstrate an understanding of key definitions and theories of propaganda;

Demonstrate an understanding of the historical evolution of propaganda media and techniques;

Demonstrate skills in the utilisation of propaganda and political communication techniques

Analyse and evaluate the historical evolution of the relationship between secret intelligence and propaganda

Brief description

The module introduces students to the historical evolution of propaganda as a feature of international politics and political conflict in the 20th and 21st centuries. It provides an analysis of the development of propaganda media and techniques, introducing students to the role of propaganda and psychological operations in relation to major historical events and processes from 1914 to the present day and encourages them to think, both on a theoretical and practical level, about how propaganda functions as an element of diplomatic, military and strategic policy. The module places particular emphasis on the relationship between propaganda and secret intelligence, exploring how intelligence services have pursued strategic and tactical goals through techniques of persuasion and deception.


The module is taught through a combination of lectures, workshops and seminars. The key thematic areas of focus for analysis are identified below:
- Debates about the definition of propaganda
- Key theories of propaganda and communication
- Practical propaganda methods and techniques
- The relationship between propaganda and secret intelligence
- Propaganda in the age of the two world wars
- Propaganda and the Cold War
- Propaganda and Information Warfare in the post-Cold War era

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number N/A
Communication Students will be expected to demonstrate skills of political communication and persuasion in relation to the specific and individual assessment requirements of this module. 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.
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 not only to write clearly and concisely, which is a common task in the workplace, but to develop and demonstrate advances skills of communication and persuasion. 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 5