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
  • What are some of the different ways we can study war?

We will explore the relationship between war and the formation of political and international systems, and 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.

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. 


100%: Practical (Workshop)


30%: Coursework (Essay, Test)
70%: Written assessment (Essay)

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.

We regularly review our modules to incorporate student feedback, staff expertise, as well as the latest research and teaching methodology. We’re planning to run these modules in the academic year 2023/24. However, there may be changes to these modules in response to feedback, staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let you know of any material changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.