War in International Politics (L2138)

15 credits, Level 5

Autumn teaching

This module introduces you to the central role played by war in international politics.

The module asks some fundamental conceptual, theoretical and methodological questions, including, what is war, and what are some of the different ways we can study it?

We will explore the relationship between war and the formation of political and international systems, discuss the role of war in building nations and empires. We will scrutinise different modes of struggles for independence and relate them to the functioning of the liberal international order. We will also look at the historical transformation of warfare and of the current varieties of warfare, including civil wars, ‘new’ wars, asymmetric wars, wars of insurgency/counterinsurgency etc.

After completing the module, you will have a broad overview of how war is understood and studied in International Relations and will understand the changing nature of war and its legal, political and ethical aspects. 

Teaching and assessment

We’re currently reviewing teaching and assessment of our modules in light of the COVID-19 situation. We’ll publish the latest information as soon as possible.

Contact hours and workload

This module is approximately 150 hours of work. This breaks down into about 20 hours of contact time and about 130 hours of independent study. The University may make minor variations to the contact hours for operational reasons, including timetabling requirements.

This module is running in the academic year 2021/22. We also plan to offer it in future academic years. However, we are constantly looking to improve and enhance our courses. There may be changes to modules in response to student demand or feedback, changes to staff expertise or updates to our curriculum. We may also need to make changes in response to COVID-19. We’ll make sure to let our applicants know of material changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.


This module is offered on the following courses: