Module code: POLM016

Module Overview

The module expands and develops upon the key issues in international security and defence. Beginning by providing a background to the study of security and defence, the module introduces theoretical perspectives into contemporary themes in security and defence, as well as their inter-relation. The module also examines various security and defence actors ranging from international, regional and sub-regional organisations to NGOs and private military companies. Through readings from diverse scholarly and cultural backgrounds, individual and group work, and in-class simulations, students actively and critically engage with issues including, but not limited to, humanitarian intervention, nuclear deterrence, the role of gender in conflict, and African peace and security architecture.

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: 100

Seminar Hours: 22

Guided Learning: 17

Captured Content: 11

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

An indicative list of topics is as follows:  

  • 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 

  • Gendering 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 

  • Nuclear deterrence in the post-Cold War context 

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 enable students to develop the knowledge, skills and critical thinking to be able to engage with international security and defence through applying theory to real situations. The assessment pattern enables students to analyse and critique  the key theoretical and practical topics in international security and defence 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%

Formative feedback will be provided in a number of occasions throughout the module.

Module aims

  • Provide students with an opportunity to consider, critically analyse and debate a range of key issues in international security and defence in the contemporary context.
  • Develop an appreciation and critical understanding of complexity that surround issues in international security and defence, and draw insight from diverse perspectives within international relations scholarship to critically investigate them.
  • Develop skills in researching fast-moving contemporary issues in international security and defence by using not only academic resources but also periodicals, databases, newspapers, and official documents.
  • Develop critical debating and argumentation skills, as well as gain presentation experience, through which students will learn from peer feedback.¿

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Understand and critically analyse complex security and defence issues in the contemporary context KCT
002 Understand and critically utilise a range of theories and apply them effectively and through evidence-based reasoning to today¿s essential questions on international security and defence policy through which can be applied to the study of contemporary security and defence issues KCT
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. This includes the analysis of case studies of military and civilian interventions that were deployed to address today¿s sustainability issues in the developing world KCPT
004 Critically engaging with the reading list to explore which voices and perspectives are excluded in the mainstream approaches to international security and defence KC
005 Gather, organise and deploy evidence, data and information from a variety of secondary and primary sources on security and defence to construct a reasoned argument KCPT
006 Through in-class simulation games, students will develop skills to work together in groups that include students from different backgrounds. This will also help students identify, evaluate and integrate the key characteristics of strong leadership, resilience and self-efficacy PT
007 Building confidence through individual coursework and presentations, through which students will take ownership of identifying their strengths and areas for improvement PT
008 With the participation of guest academics and practitioners, build a global network of experts in security and defence, and learn from their research and experience KCPT
009 Develop skills and attributes to present ideas confidently, clearly and fluently in writing and orally PT

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. 

  • Encourage students to contribute to discussions from their own background and experiences, which will help students develop their own judgement and opinions. These discussions will cover a range of techniques such as class and small group discussions, debates, and simulations. Furthermore, students will use digital tools such as MS Teams channels to collaborate and develop their ideas and outputs, as well as video recording and streaming platforms.¿ Develop students’ interpersonal communication skills through student presentations as well as through seminar discussions. 

  • Ensure that all students connect with not only the topic that is being discussed, but also with the international classroom environment formed of students with diverse backgrounds.¿  

  • Build and understanding on how to utilise key analytical arguments to explain/understand the topic at hand. 

The learning and teaching methods include seminars, presentations, group work, prescribed reading, independent study, case studies, and simulations. 

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 2022/3 academic year.