Security Studies

Module titleSecurity Studies
Module codePOC2087
Academic year2019/0
Module staff

Dr Shubranshu Mishra (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

This module will introduce you to the field of Security Studies, allowing you critically engage with a range of contemporary practices in the contemporary international system that are performed in the name of security. Popular and official discourse in contemporary international relations is littered with references to a need to protect and improve ‘security’? But what does that mean? How does an actor practice ‘security’? Does seeking more security make us less insecure? And is there a tension between securities and liberties? In this module, we will examine different theoretical and conceptual understandings of security and of security practices in international relations. You will have the opportunity to examine a range of issues, including: the politics and ethics of nuclear deterrence, the strategy of warfare, the ethics of torture and human rights, security and race, security and gender, the role of technology and the pre-emptive security practices of the War on Terror.

No prior knowledge skills or experience are required to take this module and it is suitable for specialist and non-specialist students.

Module aims - intentions of the module

This module will:

  1. Introduce you to mainstream and critical perspectives on security practices in liberal democracies.
  2. Encourage you to reflect on the meaning of ‘security’ and the normative implications of seeking security.
  3. Train you in the skills to evaluate and constructively critique peers’ work.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Describe, contrast and analyse some competing theoretical perspectives on the meaning and practice of security in liberal democracies
  • 2. Apply theoretical approaches to the analysis of empirical and normative issues related to security practices in liberal democracies, and display a competent awareness of the limitations and implications of each perspective
  • 3. Use evidence to explain and defend the adoption of a particular theoretical and conceptual approach to the analysis of a security practice or issue

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 4. Construct a logical academic argument supported by evidence
  • 5. Apply on abstract theoretical approaches to new contexts in order to make sense of real world problems
  • 6. Identify and apply a conceptual framework from some academic sources in order to answer an essay question, then explain the choice of this framework

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 7. Formulate and present information and critical analysis in both written and oral forms in a coherent manner
  • 8. Understand assessment criteria, engage in constructive peer-evaluation, produce feedback and develop suggestions for improvement.
  • 9. Work effectively with peers in order to present ideas and facilitate discussions

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

Whilst the module’s precise content may vary from year to year, it is envisaged that the syllabus will cover some or all of the following topics: 

  • "Security! What do you mean?"
  • State Security and Trident
  • Liberal Security and Trident
  • Emancipation and Intervention
  • Feminism and Sex
  • Postcolonialism and Development
  • Poststructuralism and Fear
  • Securitization and the Everyday

Learning and teaching

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning & Teaching activities1111 x 1 hour seminars
Scheduled Learning & Teaching activities1111 x 1 hour lectures
Guided independent study40Reading assignments and preparing responses for seminar questions
Guided independent study35Research and preparation of student-led seminar
Guided independent study3Research and preparation of Respondent Presentation
Guided independent study50Revising and preparing for exam


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Respondent to Student-Led seminar5 minutes1-5, 8Oral
Practice exam answers10 minutes1-7Oral

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Examination702 hours1-7Written
Student-led seminar3015 minutes per student1-9Written and oral


Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
ExaminationUnseen exam (2 hours)1-7August/September re-assessment period
Student-led seminar1000 word essay by the relevant student(s)1-9August/September re-assessment period


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Collins, A. (ed.) Contemporary Security Studies (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007)

Peoples, C. and Vaughan-Williams, N., Critical Security Studies: An Introduction (London, Routledge, 2010)

Baldwin, D. ‘The Concept of Security’, Review of International Studies, 23(1), (1997), pp. 5-26.

Walt, S.'The Renaissance of Security Studies,' International Studies Quarterly, 35(2), (1991), pp. 211-239

Huysmans, J. ‘Security! What do you mean?’ European Journal of International Relations, (1998) 4: 226-255.

Barry Buzan, Ole Wæver and Jaap de Wilde, Security: A New Framework for Analysis (London: Lynne Rienner, 1998) 

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

CHALLENGE: A Research Project Funded by the Sixth Framework Research Programme of DG Research (European Commission) (

Critical Approaches to Security in Europe (c.a.s.e. collective):

Histories of Violence. (

Module has an active ELE page

Indicative learning resources - Other resources

Zero Dark Thirty (2012)

Four Lions (2010)

Key words search

Security, Liberty, International Relations, Critical Security Studies

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date