AH2B03-Contemporary Strategic Studies and International Relations

Module Provider: Leadership, Organisations and Behaviour
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring / Summer module
Pre-requisites: AH2B02 Developing Leadership in Others AH2B01 Studying Leadership Strategic Studies and International Relations
Non-modular pre-requisites: MA (A)
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2021/2

Module Convenor: Dr Vladimir Rauta
Email: v.rauta@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

AHEP Online Module

Summary module description:


This module is run by SPEIR.


This module explores contemporary debates in the fields of Strategic Studies and International Relations, placing a particular emphasis on their theoretical and conceptual underpinnings.  Focusing on developments in the academic understanding of war and strategy, it aims to deepen students’ understanding of the contemporary global strategic environment.  Throughout the module students are encouraged to think critically about the use and limitation of evidence and the ways in which this helps to inform structured thinking about strategy and international relations.


The module aims to:

  • Develop knowledge of debates within Strategic Studies and International Relations about the changing character of war and strategy;

  • Develop understanding of a range of theories and concepts which may inform a critical understanding of the contemporary strategic environment, such as proxy wars and hybrid warfare;

  • Develop students’ capacity to engage in conceptually and theoretically-informed thinking about war and strategy;

  • Enable students to articulate a clear understanding of the contemporary strategic  environment, the UK’s place within it, and the implications for the Army;

  • Cultivate the critical skills, awareness, and understanding necessary to recognize, evaluate, and explain current and future developments in global security, war, and strategy.

Assessable learning outcomes:

By the end of the module it is expected that students will be able to demonstrate:

  • Knowledge of a range of theoretical and conceptual debates in Strategic Studies and International Relations and how they inform understanding of war and strategy;

  • Understanding of central features of the contemporary global strategic environment;

  • Appreciation of a range of perspectives on the changing character of war and security;

  • An ability to analyse, evaluate, and explain contemporary strategic developments;

  • An ability to reflect critically on the possible implications, for the Army, of developments in the global security environment and of academic debates about these developments.

Additional outcomes:

The module also aims to:

  • Develop students’ ability to think critically about the uses and limitations of evidence in relation to war and strategy;

  • Develop an appreciation of different ways of approaching Strategic Studies and International Relations, and of their strengths and weaknesses;

  • Develop the knowledge and skills required to undertake an extended research project related to war and strategy in the broader context of the BSc pathway.

Outline content:

The module explores a range of topics designed to build on and further develop students’ existing understanding of contemporary debates in Strategic Studies and International Relations.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

Students are required to:

  • Work through a series of on-line teaching materials, including slides, videos, and practical activities;

  • Read extensively from the supporting literature;

  • Reflect on the module content and readings individually and through contributions to online discussion fora;

  • Complete a variety of formative on-line tests and exercises that assess knowledge of the module material;

  • Compl ete summative assignments on various aspects of the module.


Contact hours below are shown in the Autumn term for illustrative purposes only. 

For clarity, in the table below, the 'lectures' are online, the 'practical classes and workshops' refer to structured online activities and the 'guided independent study' is broken down into 36 hours of embedded reading and 140 hours of guided independent study.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 12
Practicals classes and workshops 12
Guided independent study: 176
Total hours by term 200
Total hours for module 200

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

Summative assessment- Examinations:

No examination.

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Essay (3000 Words) 50%

Short Research Paper with accompanying written Reflective component 50%

Formative assessment methods:

These may include:

• Formative essay

• Quizzes and multiple choice questions

• Discussion fora

Penalties for late submission:

Penalties for late submission on this module will be applied in accordance with the arrangements for the programme as a whole.

Assessment requirements for a pass:

40% overall.

Reassessment arrangements:

Any arrangements for reassessment will be made in accordance with the principles applying to the programme as a whole. 

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

Last updated: 8 April 2021


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