MA Strategic Studies


The MA in Strategic Studies offers a comprehensive education in both the theory and practice of strategy. In the current challenging strategic environment, a dedicated study of this subject is required for all those who seek to understand modern warfare and how military force can be used in the pursuit of policy objectives. The compulsory courses revolve first, around the actual development of military strategies and their major problems and recurrent dilemmas, with a particular emphasis on the times of the Anciens RĂ©gimes before the French Revolution to the Counterinsurgency campaigns of the early 21st century. Secondly, they address the strategic thinking underlying them, with a focus on the works of Clausewitz, Jomini, Mahan, Corbett, their forebears, and the many thinkers of the 20th and early 21st century from Raymond Aron to Count Zeppelin.

The programme provides a thorough analysis of contemporary strategic issues and the challenges of defence planning in the modern world. This analysis is aided by an exploration of the great works of strategic theory, and an examination of some of the most significant historical case studies in Modern History. This MA benefits from a thriving programme of research and teaching connected with the interdisciplinary Ways of War Centre.

The programme provides an invaluable education for those who are currently engaged, or seek a career, in the defence profession, but also anybody with an interest in journalism, the work of think tanks in this domain, or indeed strategy as applied to other areas of life. Students choosing this module range from active military officers to graduates from history, politics, geography, and business people.

"There are only two places in the world where you can study strategy: [the Naval War College on] Rhode Island, and Reading." (US General (Ret) James Mattis).

Compulsory Core modules 

  • Modern Strategy
  • Strategic Theory
  • Dissertation

Selected optional modules

  • Conflict & Conflict Resolution
  • International Relations
  • International Security Studies  
  • Political Integration in Europe    
  • Contemporary Diplomacy      
  • International Political Economy                  
  • The Origins and Causes of War    
  • Conflict in the Middle East      
  • Terrorism in a Globalising World    
  • Cold War Culture   
  • Themes and Issues in Military History and Strategic Studies     

For details of each module, see here.

For more information please download the programme specification for MA Strategic Studies (PDF)

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