POL42060 International Security

Academic Year 2021/2022

This module provides an overview of the field of international security studies. It examines how and why states and other international actors compete, why they at times engage in military conflict, and how they use coercion, diplomacy, and other tools to advance and protect their interests in international politics. Covering both classic and contemporary readings on international security, this module aims to provide students with a clear understanding of the central problems, issues, and debates in international security. We will address debates such as the effectiveness of deterrence, the causes of war, and technology’s impact on the balance of power and military effectiveness. We will also examine key concepts central to international relations theory and international security, such as anarchy, the security dilemma, the balance of power, and levels of analysis. This module will emphasize providing students with the tools and concepts necessary to formulate and justify their own positions on issues central to war and peace in the twenty-first century.

Show/hide contentOpenClose All

Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this module students should:
- have a good understanding of the various debates in the field of security studies;
- be able to critically engage with the scholarly literature on international security;
- be able to apply theories and concepts from the field of security studies to understand and explain real-world events.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Seminar (or Webinar)


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
This course will present some of the most important issues and approaches in the field of security studies. The first part will examine core theories and approaches in the field of international security, such as realism, liberalism, constructivism, and critical theories, as well as key concepts such as power, anarchy, and the security dilemma. The second part will examine issues and debates central to international security, such as the causes of war, military effectiveness, the nuclear revolution, and coercion and crisis bargaining. Close attention will be given to applying theories and concepts in the study of international security to contemporary and historical issues and debates. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Essay: Essay 1 - 5000 words Unspecified n/a Graded No


Essay: Essay 2 - 5000 words Unspecified n/a Graded No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Autumn No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment
• Group/class feedback, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Not yet recorded.