Module Identifier IP10320  
Academic Year 2003/2004  
Co-ordinator Dr Alastair J Finlan  
Semester Semester 2  
Mutually Exclusive GW10320  
Course delivery Lecture   8 Hours (18 x 1 hour)  
  Seminars / Tutorials   18 Hours (8 x 1 hour)  
Assessment TypeAssessment Length/DetailsProportion
Semester Exam2 Hours  70%
Semester Assessment 1 x 2,000 word essay  30%
Supplementary Exam 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

By the end of this module students will:

- have been introduced to the key issues and ideas concerning the role of force in International Relations, including its evolution, modern strategic thought and a number of contemporary issues in strategy;
- have a basic familiarity with the concepts utilized in contemporary strategic discourse;
- be able to apply these concepts to a range of issues and problems.
- Effectively deploy skills of: identification and location of appropriate sources; independent study; writing (essays and examinations); IT skills plus time-management.

10 ECTS credits

Brief description

This module is intended to provide an introduction to the study of the role of force in international relations, the manner of its use, and how assessments are made over its possible use. It includes a consideration of the utility of force, the evolution of warfare, contemporary strategic thought, the nature of intelligence and contemporary issues in strategy.


This module provides an introduction to the role of force in International Relations, to thinking about force and to debates surrounding the issue of force. Specifically the module aims to address:

- The utility of force in the modern age.
- The evolution of modern warfare from Napoleon to the nuclear age.
- Strategy in the nuclear age.
- The role of intelligence.
- Contemporary issues in strategy.


The module is in five linked sections. Each section is taught by one member of staff; together they provide a thorough introduction to the subject. Each section consists of a number of lectures and 1 or 2 seminars. The module begins with a discussion of the utility of force in the modern age, including debates over the use of force and the obsolescence of war. It then considers the evolution of modern warfare from Napoleon to the nuclear age, covering the Napoleonic revolution and the birth of modern warfare, the emergence of total war and the impact of technology upon war, bringing students up to the advent of the nuclear age. The third section is concerned with strategic thought in the nuclear age, including deterrence theory, nuclear strategy, arms control, revolutionary-guerrilla warfare and terrorism. Fourthly the role of intelligence is considered, including the legitimacy of intelligence gathering activities, intelligence and the state, and counter-espionage. Finally the module addresses a number of contemporary issues in strategy, including humanitarian intervention, nuclear proliferation and the war against terrorism.

Transferable skills

Throughout the module students will practice and enhance their reading, comprehension and thinking skills, as well as self-management skills. In seminars, students will enhance listening, explaining and debating skills, as well as oral presentational skills. Preparing for and writing-up essays will encourage students to practice independent research skills including data retrieval, selection, assembly and organization, writing, IT and time management.


This module is at CQFW Level 4