Module Identifier IP38920  
Academic Year 2006/2007  
Co-ordinator Professor Len Scott  
Semester Semester 2  
Course delivery Lecture   11 x 1 hour  
  Seminars / Tutorials   5 x 2 hours  
Assessment TypeAssessment Length/DetailsProportion
Semester Exam2 Hours Examination  50%
Semester Assessment 1 x 3000 word essay  50%
Supplementary Assessment Students may, subject to Faculty approval, have the opportunity to resit this module. For further clarification please contact the Academic Administrator in the Department of International Politics. 

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:
1. Evaluate key debates and issues in the development of British nuclear weapons policy
2. Analyse the development of UK nuclear strategy and its integration with US and NATO war planning.
3. Evaluate the role of nuclear weapons in UK/US relations
4. Assess critiques of British nuclear weapons policy and associated ideas of nuclear deterrence
5. Examine and evaluate the politics of postwar nuclear issues
6. Assess intelligence aspects of nuclear weapons development
7. Analyse British perspectives on and roles in international frameworks to control nuclear weapons (e.g. Limited Test Ban Treaty, Non-Proliferation Treaty and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty)
8. Critically evaluate emerging future options for Britain'r nuclear weapons policy.


The module builds upon long standing departmental interests in nuclear history and strategic studies, and the research interests of the Module Convener. It seeks to provide additional options of interest to students in strategic studies, military history, intelligence, and politics. It is a timely venture as the British government has made clear that the decision on whether to replace Britain's nuclear deterrent is needed soon. Debates about British nuclear weapons are therefore likely to re-emerge in British politics and public life.

Brief description

The module examines British nuclear weapons policy since 1945,   including the development and deployment of UK weapons and their means of delivery. It traces and evaluates British nuclear strategy, including targeting issues, and examines the integration of British strategy with that of the United States and NATO. The ethical, military and economic dimensions of British policy are explored and evaluated. The attitudes and roles of political parties are assessed as are those of anti-nuclear groups and coalitions


-   Themes and Issues: Technology, International Politics and Strategy
- Britain and the Atomic bomb: construction and explosion
- UK-US relations: Procurement, Deployment and Strategy
- Building the H-bomb ┬┐ Protesting the H-bomb
- Independent Deterrent: Strategy and Targeting
- Genies and Bottles: Limited Test Ban Treaty, Non-Proliferation Treaty and Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty
- Second Cold War: Cruise and Pershing - alliance politics and NATO strategy
- Second Cold War: Cruise and Pershing - protest and critique
- The Politics of Nuclear Weapons
- Espionage, Intelligence and Weapons of Mass Destruction
- The Once and Future Debate? The follow-on to Trident?

Module Skills

Problem_solving Independent project work and problem solving will be one central goal of the module; the submission of an essay will require that the student develops independent research skills as well as problem solving skills. The need to research and prepare seminar presentations will also enable the student to develop independent project 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. A final examination will ensure that an assessment of the student┬┐s ability to work alone can be undertaken.  
Research skills The submission of the essay will reflect the independent research skills of the student. The need to locate appropriate research resources and write up results will also facilitate research skills. Research preparation for a seminar presentation will also enable the student to develop independent project skills. A final examination will ensure that an assessment of the student's ability to work alone can be undertaken.  
Communication Students learn how to present their ideas both verbally and in writing and how to assert themselves to advantage. They will understand the importance of information and clear communication and how to exploit these. They will learn how to use the many sources of information available and how to use the most appropriate form of communication to best advantage. They will learn to be clear and 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. Seminars will be run in groups where oral discussion and presentations will form the main medium of teaching and the emphasis throughout the module will be on student participation and communication. This is facilitated by group-role play based on teams operating within and beyond the seminar environment.  
Improving own Learning and Performance The module aims to promote self-management but within a context of assistance from both the convener and the fellow students alike. Students will be expected to improve their own learning and performance by undertaking their own research and to exercise their own initiative, including searching for sources, compiling reading lists, and deciding (under guidance) the direction of their essay and presentation topics. Group work is integral to the seminars and provides opportunities or students to reflect individually and collectively on their performance. The need to contribute to the group presentation in seminars and to meet an essay deadline will focus students' attention on the need to manage their time and opportunity resources well.  
Team work Seminars will consist in part of small group role-playing activities where students will be obliged to prepare, present and discuss as a group the core issues related to seminar topics. Such class room debates and discussions are a vital component of the module learning experience.  
Information Technology Students will be expected to submit their work in word-processed format. Also, students will be encouraged to search for sources of information on the web, as well as seeking sources through electronic information sources (such as Web of Science and OCLC).  
Personal Development and Career planning The discussions in particular will help to develop students' verbal and presentation and team-working skills. Learning about the process of planning an essay and a presentation, framing the parameters of the projects, honing and developing the projects and seeing through to completion will contribute towards their portfolio of transferable skills.  
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 - Ability to evaluate competing perspectives - Demonstrate subject specific research techniques - Develop the conceptual and practical skills necessary to maintain their own strategic nuclear capability. - Apply a range of methodologies to complex political problems  


This module is at CQFW Level 6