Module code: POLM016

Module Overview

The module expands and develops upon the issue of international security, as introduced in other modules. It begins by providing a background to the study of security and defence. This leads into a consideration of contemporary themes and their inter-relation including the various security and defence actors from international, regional and sub-regional organisations to NGOs and private military companies

Module provider


Module Leader

CHAPPELL Laura (Politics)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 7

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 128

Seminar Hours: 22

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Topics are likely to include:      

  • Introduction: What do we mean by security?

  • The study and causes of war – an overview of the theoretical landscape in security and defence and the weaknesses and strengths of the various approaches

  • The role of the UN, NATO, the EU and ECOWAS in security and defence

  • An assessment of non-state actors, in particular the impact of NGOs and private-military companies in the security field.

  • Defence reform in the post-Cold War era

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework ESSAY (2000 WORDS) 40
Coursework ESSAY (3000 WORDS) 60

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate their theoretical and empirical knowledge of a particular topic by enabling them to apply relevant International Relations theories to complex issues in international politics. The assessment pattern enables students to analyse and critique two areas in more depth and to make evident their ability to conduct research and construct a reasoned argument. Hence the assessment strategy is closely aligned to the module aims and learning outcomes as specified above.

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

  • Essay 1 (2000 words) – 40%

  • Essay 2 (3000 words) – 60%


Module aims

  • Provide students with an opportunity to consider, analyse and debate a range of key current issues in international politics
  • Develop a critical understanding of complex issues in international politics
  • Apply relevant International Relations theories to the analysis of contemporary events
  • Develop skills in researching fast-moving contemporary political issues, using periodicals, databases, newspapers, etc.
  • Develop critical debating and argumentation skills

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Understand and critically analyse complex security and defence issues in contemporary international politics KCT
002 Understand and utilise a range of theories which can be applied to the study of contemporary security and defence issues KC
003 Understand and assess the challenges which different state and non-state actors face in the new security environment and the tasks emanating from these KCPT
004 Gather, organise and deploy evidence, data and information from a variety of secondary and some primary sources on security and defence to construct a reasoned argument KCT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:

  • Ensure that students are well prepared for class by providing the key literature which connects with the core debates.

  • Enable all students to participate in the discussion. Hence a range of techniques are used including whole glass and small group discussions and debates.

  • Develop students’ presentation skills through student presentations as well as reporting back from seminar discussions.

  • Ensure that all students connect with the topic being discussed and can understand and utilise the key analytical arguments to explain/understand them.


The learning and teaching methods include: Seminars, presentations, group work, prescribed reading, independent study

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: POLM016

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
International Relations (International Intervention) MSc 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
International Relations MSc 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
Public Affairs MPA 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2020/1 academic year.