module specification

GI5066 - Strategy in the Contemporary World (2024/25)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2024/25
Module title Strategy in the Contemporary World
Module level Intermediate (05)
Credit rating for module 15
School School of Social Sciences and Professions
Total study hours 150
36 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
60 hours Guided independent study
54 hours Assessment Preparation / Delivery
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 30%   1,000 word book/article review
Coursework 70%   2,000 word essay
Running in 2024/25

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Autumn semester North Wednesday Morning

Module summary

The broad aim of this module is to enable students to apply knowledge of strategy-making and strategic thinking as a historical practice to contemporary problems, critically exploring the enduring, present, and emerging issues present in the field of strategy.

On this module you will:

1. Examine the development of strategic theory and practise.
2. Consider how strategy can be applied by the study of significant case studies.
3. Examine the nature of strategy and how it relates to both policy and action in the 21st Century.
4. Explore non-Western perspectives to critique the Western centricity of strategic studies
5. Critically evaluate international, national, local and grass-root strategies applied to a number of issues, including terrorism, cyber conflict, the use of nuclear weapons, and the Civil Rights Movement.
6. Be encouraged to think as a practitioner and problem solver, developing your skills of critical enquiry by exploring the real-world impact of strategic debates.

Prior learning requirements

No pre- or co- requisites.

Available for Study Abroad? YES


A key motivator of this module is to empower students to make critical decisions, engage in reflective practice, and to consider strategic solutions to some of the most pressing issues the world faces. It is part of a course that has built within it professional skills and practical applications that will encourage students to consider solutions at the local, regional, national and international level.

This module will consider the role of strategy and how it relates to both policy and action in the rapidly changing, and volatile, contemporary international system. (LO 1, 2,3)

The module will begin by examining strategic theory from a historical perspective, contrasting the writings of strategists such as Sun-Tzu and Clausewitz, before focusing on the contemporary world. (LO 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

This will include an examination of the development of military strategies and the major problems and dilemmas posed, including the role of weapons of mass destruction, terrorism and insurgency – and counter terrorism and counterinsurgency strategies, the rise of cyberpower, hybrid warfare, and the role of intelligence in the 21st Century. In particular, the module will explore how strategy-making increasingly involves not just the use of force, but also the creation of coalitions, and coordinating the actions of multiple actors (including multinational organizations, the media, and other groups of players). (LO 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

The syllabus will then consider how strategy affects not just the military world, but how it is a crucial, and often overlooked, component of political life. For example, the module will examine the strategy of nonviolence, and how to run an effective political campaign. (LO 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

Throughout, emphasis will be placed on exploring important case studies. This will include the use of role plays to enable students to think as practitioners. (LO 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

Teaching consists of a weekly lecture followed by a seminar/workshop. Lectures will be interactive, involving a combination of taught lectures, videos, films, and occasional group work. Seminars/workshops will combine a variety of methods including discussion based on pre-set questions and role plays.

Blended Learning will be a key component of the module and will present a ‘resource’ of information relative to content and current issues as well as a tool for formative assignments and feedback. Lectures will be supported by additional materials online which will enable students to fully engage with the module, including online tasks, PowerPoint slides, lecture notes, discussion tools, full reading lists, audio-visual /documentary material, and links to first-hand documents and websites. 

Materials for use in class will be posted at least one week in advance on line to allow students to prepare and reflect on the subject. Questions for class discussion will be available from the beginning of the module via the Module Booklet available on the VLE, which will include a list of resources students can use to answer the questions and study the subject in greater depth.

A formative piece of work in the form of a group role play on a contemporary strategic issue will take place mid-module to enable students to reflect on their understanding of the subject matter to date in order to put in place learning strategies for the remainder of the module. The role play will be peer-reviewed in class.

There will be two summative pieces. The first will be a review of a book or article. This will encourage students to use a variety of skills, including: extracting and presenting key information; assessing sources in terms of their relevance and quality, and their contribution to the subject area.

The second summative component will be an essay which will provide students with the opportunity to submit a major piece of work of their choosing on a key element of the module. This will enable students to develop writing and research skills whilst reflecting on what they have learnt.

Learning outcomes

On the successful completion of this module you will:

1. Be able to engage with key concepts and theories, historical practice, and the major issues and debates in Strategic Studies.

2. Be able to apply knowledge of strategy-making and strategic thinking to historical and contemporary events.

3. Be able to assess and critically analyse the role of strategy in a variety of situations, including political, social, economic, and military strategies.

The transferable skills students should have developed include:

4. The ability to communicate effectively in speech and writing, combined with the research skills, including the ability to synthesise and analyse arguments and exercise critical judgement.

5. The capacity to work independently, demonstrating initiative, self-organisation and time-management, as well as co-operating with other students to achieve common goals.