PO3STH-Strategic Theory

Module Provider: School of Politics, Economics and International Relations
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Summer term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2016/7

Module Convenor: Prof Beatrice Heuser

Email: d.b.g.heuser@reading.ac.uk

Summary module description:
This module explores the most important works of Western theory in Strategic Studies. The works covered range from the classical theories of Antiguity, the Middle Ages, Modern Times, through to those of the information age. Along the way, the module will analyse theory relating to nuclear strategy, terrorism, insurgency, and air power, to name just four. The module utilises these works of theory to uncover and understand key concepts in Strategic Studies. Major authors such as Machiavelli, Clausewitz, Jomini, Mahan, Corbett, Douhet, Brodie and C.S.Gray will be studied in this historical context.

In essence, this module is designed to analyse the various forms that war can take and the attendant challenges of using military force in the pursuit of policy objectives. Ideally, students should have done PO2COS in Part 2. French or German language skills would be an asset but are not absolutely necessary.

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of the module it is intended that the student will be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the role of theory in Strategic Studies
  • Critically examine works of theory
  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the main works of theory for the different forms of war
  • Through an analysis of strategic theory understand the key concepts and challenges in Strategic Studies

Additional outcomes:
The module aims to develop critical and reflective thinking, effective and independent use of a variety of sources, coherent and rigorous written and oral argumentation, and the ability to work with and learn from others.

Outline content:
This module is concerned with the theory and practice of strategy. In order to understand the varied nature of strategic theory and the complexities of strategic practice the module will address at least one major strategic thinker, ancient or modern, in each of its 10 weeks.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
Five lectures and ten x 90 minute seminars. One revision lecture in the summer term.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 5 1
Seminars 20
Guided independent study 100 60 14
Total hours by term 125.00 60.00 15.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 50
Written assignment including essay 50

Other information on summative assessment:
Students will write one essay of 4,000 words (including footnotes but excluding bibliography) which will account for 50% of the final mark.

They will also sit one two-hour examination.

Visiting students will follow the same assessments but only those enrolled for the summer term will sit the examination. Those visiting students who are here for Autumn and Spring terms only but wish to gain full credits will also write a 3000 word essay in place of the examination. Visiting students who are only studying for half credits will submit one essay of 4,000 words in total.

Formative assessment methods:
They will also give oral seminar presentation, with prepared handouts and/or powerpoints.

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convenor will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.

  • where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Length of examination:
    One two-hour examination.

    Requirements for a pass:
    40% overall.

    Reassessment arrangements:
    Candidates who fail their final year normally have the right to be re-examined on one further occasion at the next opportunity. These candidates will not normally be eligible for Honours (ie., only a ‘Pass’ classification would be attainable). Students who are eligible for re-assessment have the right to re-assessment in all elements even if they have previously passed one of those elements. It is expected, however, that the majority of students would probably elect not to repeat an element in which they had already passed, in which case the confirmed marks would be carried forward.

    Coursework: Failed or missing coursework should be re-submitted by 1st August, emailed directly to politics@reading.ac.uk, AND submitted on Blackboard.

    Examination: Re-examination takes place in August/September of the same year.

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
    1) Required text books: The Evolution of Strategy: Thinking War from Antiquity to the Present (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, October 2010) - Beatrice Heuser - rrp £22.99.
    The Strategy Makers: Thoughts on War and Society from Machiavelli to Clausewitz (Santa Monica, CA: Praeger 2010) - Beatrice Heuser (ed &trs.) - rrp 34.95
    2) Specialist equipment or materials:
    3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
    4) Printing and binding: There may be optional costs associated with photocopying or printing sources listed on the reading list relating to this module. Please note that the Library charges approximately 5p per photocopy.
    5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
    6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

    Last updated: 21 December 2016

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