SHE Level 5
SCQF Credit Points 15.00
ECTS Credit Points 7.50
Module Code MMN225827
Module Leader n/a
School School of Computing, Engineering and Built Environment
Subject GCU London
  • A (September start)
  • B (January start)
  • C (May start)

Summary of Content

The module looks at the contested security agenda distinguishing between continuing, changing and emerging unforeseen security issues/problems. It is essential in security to distinguish and understand the complete range of military/ non-military factors that can contribute to the origins/ causes of violent conflicts. The non-military factors include historical, political, economic, social, cultural, religious, demographic, environmental, technological and development. Military security is however is a central feature to security studies. It includes: the threat/utility of force, nuclear weapons/proliferation/ deterrence-operative security (arms control/disarmament) and alliances. In addition, there has to be consideration of the challenges of conflict prevention, management and resolution as well as the complexities of peace. Finally, one has to consider the emerging security issue/problem of the geopolitics cyberspace/cyber security and the threats posed by the interplay and conflicting ambitions of the major players (the seven sisters). The Course concludes with a consideration of the prospects for the future/futures.


1. Introduction to the Course. The relationship between Strategy and Security. Security a contested concept. Definition of International Security Studies. Limitations/ differences. 2. Evaluating and analysing the main concepts and emerging threats to international security . 3.Irregular/ Asymmetric Warfare (includes terrorism). Impact on Civil liberties. 4.The Security Agenda: (a) The Military Challenges and (b) The Non-Military Challenges in ever-changing interstate, intrastate, transnational arenas. 5. Intelligence: What is it? Cases, machinery, methodology, impact on civil liberties. 6.The geopolitics of cyber security. The interplay of the seven sisters. Key factors: Potency of cyber weapons/ complications relating to Security & Defence/problems of strategic instability. 7. Peace. Negative/Positive peace - more complex than even war. Essential challenge: Change. 8.Prospects for the future/futures. (possible/probable/preferable).

Learning Outcomes

On successfull completion of the module the students should be able to:-1. Demonstrate a critical understanding of the challenges of interstate and intrastate conflicts, the role of intelligence in national security and their impact on regional and international security. (CW01)2. Evaluate the role of civil liberties and universal values in nation building and statecraft and their implications for establishment of peace and nuclear free zones. (CW01)3. Critically appraise traditional and new threats in the 21st century environment incl. nuclear proliferation and terrorism and define relevant security studies. (CW01)

Teaching / Learning Strategy

The teaching and learning strategy includes the use of a variety of techniques including guided independent study, lectures, and seminars conducted by academic staff to develop efficient and effective understanding of International Security. The module delivery will in parts be facilitated by senior practitioners from the field of International Security to establish practical understanding of academic topics/issues as the aim is to bridge the gap between theory and practice. Weekly Lectures provide the theoretical aspect of this module, while seminars, case studies, simulation exercises and tutorials are in place to support individual learning. There will also be extensive use of case studies to give students the opportunity of learning from real-time examples. Some of these case studies will be required to resolve in groups to focus on joint/group understanding. The use of cases set in different contexts intends to promote 'situated learning' and to view problems from the perspective of those who are confronted with strategic challenges, choices, and decisions frequently.

Indicative Reading

Due to its integrative nature, there is no core text for this module. Background reading (Indicative) b7 Atwan, A.B. (2015) Islamic State: The Digital Caliphate. Berkeley, California, US: University of California Press b7 Ayad, N (Editor) (2007) The Impact of Technology on Intelligence and Security , London, UK: Diplomatic Academy of London Press. b7 Baylis, J. & O'Neil, R. (2000) Alternative Nuclear Futures , Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. Baylis, J., et al, (Editors) (2016) Strategy in the Contemporary World: An Introduction to Strategic Studies. Fifth Edition . Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. b7 Black, J.B. (1998) Why Wars Happen. London, UK: Reaktion Books b7 Bitzinger, R. (2003) Towards a Brave New Arms Industry. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press b7 Brown, B. & Hansen, L. (2009) The Evolution of International Security Studies Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press b7 Buzan, B. (1991). People, States and Fear, An Agenda for International Security Studies in the Post-Cold War Era, 2 nd Edition. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers b7 Collins, A. (2015) Contemporary Security Studies: 4 th Edition Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press b7 Grayling, A.C. (2017) War: An Enquiry New Haven, CT, US: Yale University Press b7 Harkavy, R. & Newman, S. (2001) Warfare and the Third World , London, UK: Palgrave Macmillan b7 Howard, M. (2003) The Invention of Peace and the Reinvention of War , London, UK: Profile Books Ltd. b7 Jordan, D. et al. (2016) Understanding Modern Warfare. 2 nd Edition Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. b7 Sheenhan, M. (2005) International Security: An Analytical Survey , Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers b7 Polman, L. (2004) We Did Nothing. Why the Truth Does Not Always Come Out When the UN Goes In. London, UK: Penguin. b7 Yes?iltas?, M. and Kardas, T. (2017). Non-state armed actors in the Middle East . New York, NY, US: Springer Online b7 Betts, R.K. (1997) 'Should Strategic Studies Survive?' World Politics Vol.50, No.1, October pp 7-33 b7 Rosane, O. 'Climate Change Seen as Top Threat in Global Survey' Pew Research Center [ Accessed 11/02/19] Available from <> b7 Stankovic, M. 'Racing to Armageddon: Will we ever find a solution to war before it's too late? Martin Van Creveld thinks not; but A.C. Grayling is more hopeful' [ Accessed 11/02/19] Available from <> b7 Wastnidge, E. (2017). 'Iran and Syria: An Enduring Axis.' Middle East Policy , 24(2), pp.148-159.

Transferrable Skills

-360b7 Communication and presentation skills b7 Problem solving b7 Critical thinking and evaluation b7 Information retrieval Data analysis b7 Data interpretation b7 Teamwork b7 Peer learning b7 Interpersonal skills b7 Negotiation b7 Written and oral communication skills b7 Independent learning and self-management b7 Ethical conduct b7 Time management b7 Reflective learning

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Tutorials (FT) 2.00
Assessment (FT) 40.00
Independent Learning (FT) 72.00
Lectures (FT) 32.00
Seminars (FT) 4.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Course Work 01 n/a 100.00 n/a Essay - A critical evaluation of possible, probable and preferable futures for a chosen conflict and associated security threats considering the role of civil liberties and universal values.