This MA combines the disciplines of History and International Relations to provide students with multi-disciplinary, advanced study from both humanities and social science perspectives. The degree covers the period from the French Revolution to the present. It examines the impact of the French and Industrial revolutions on warfare, before focusing on the development of 'total war' and the interaction between democracies and conflict in the 20th century. The programme looks at the 'face of battle' as seen by soldiers, generals and politicians; developments in the tactical, operational and strategic levels of war; and the interaction between war and society.
A first degree (2.1 or above) or equivalent. It is expected that students for this programme will have a degree in a relevant subject although in exceptional circumstances students with qualifications in non-related subjects can be considered. If English is not your first language then applicants must have IELTS 6.5 (with no section less than 5.0) or TOEFL 237/585 (with a minimum TWE of 4.5 or above).
The MA in War and Conflict in the Modern World combines the disciplines of History and International Relations to provide students with multi-disciplinary, advanced study from both humanities and social science perspectives. The degree covers the period from the French Revolution to the present. It examines the impact of the French and Industrial revolutions on warfare, before focusing on the development of 'total war' - that reached its apogee in the First and Second World Wars- and the interaction between democracies and conflict in the twentieth century. To understand war in this period, students will study the development of international relations as well as the actual wars fought. The programme looks at the 'face of battle' as seen by soldiers, generals and politicians; developments in the tactical, operational and strategic levels of war; the interaction between war and society; and the thinking that drove on these changes in warfare. The programme also draws upon Brunel's expertise in intelligence studies, offering the students the chance to take optional modules in this area from the University's Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies.
The programme is offered on a full-time basis and is taught over two terms. Modules are taught either over both terms or over one term. Students complete six modules - three core (compulsory) and three optional modules - plus a 15,000 word dissertation. The programme can also be completed on a part-time basis.
Typical ModulesCore ModulesWar in History 1789-present
Main topics of study include: limited war: the period before 1789; the French revolution and the birth of the modern style of warfare; the impact of the industrial revolution on warfare; Jomini and Clauwsewitz; the idea of 'absolute war'; warfare in the nineteenth century: on the road to 'total war'; the First World War; changes in warfare in the inter-war period: Blitzkrieg and 'deep battle'; the Second World War; the nature of warfare after 1945; Korea, Vietnam and the Arab-Israeli conflicts; counter-insurgency; low-intensity conflicts; warfare in the 21st Century.
Democracy, War, Peace and Intervention
Main topics of study: introduction; contemporary theories of war I; contemporary theories of war II; contemporary theories of war III; liberal interventionism: debates and paradoxes; Gladstone: the reluctant interventionist?; Woodrow Wilson: archetypal crusader?; Korea and Vietnam; covert operations; the Balkans; Iraq 2003; review.
Evolution of International Relations
Main topics of study: introduction: the evolving domain of international relations; idealism vs realism; realism - neorealism; liberalism - neoliberalism; explaining peace in Europe; the 'English School' (International Society); Marxism and dependency; critical theories; historical sociology; normative theory I; normative theory II; the future of international relations.
Topics will reflect the personal interest and subject relevance of the programme and require approval by the student’s supervisor.
Elective ModulesArab-Israeli Conflict
Main topics of study: the birth of three nationalisms: Turkish, Arab and Jewish; the Middle East and the First World War; Britain's 'moment' in the Middle East; the historiography on the Arab-Israeli conflict and problems with methodology; the formation of Israel (1): The Palestinian Refugee Crisis; the formation of Israel (2): Collusion across the Jordan?; the formation of Israel (3): The first Arab-Israeli War: David versus Goliath?; War (1): Nasser or Ben-Gurion? Who started the 1956 war?; War (2): Israel triumphant – the 1967 war; War (3): Israel defeated – the 1973 war; exporting the Arab-Israeli conflict: Lebanon; Israeli-Egyptian peace; Israeli-Palestinian peace?
The Rise of the National Security State
Main topics of study: the breakdown of the Grand Alliance and the Yalta system; threat evaluations in the early cold war; bureaucratic politics and the rise of the national security state; the debate in the us on 'the garrison state'; the British defence dilemma and the genesis of NATO; the Soviet defence dilemma and the creation of the Warsaw Pact; the United States National Security Act 1947 and the creation of the national security bureaucracy; the military-industrial complex.
Women and War
Main topics of study: contact with Native Americans: women's place in the battles; the American Revolution and its aftermath; women and the Civil War (abolitionist; women on the battlefield and as nurses, women as fundraisers and on the home front; emancipation and Reconstruction; the long term impact in the north; in the south; Jingoism; WWI in the UK; WWI in the US; the demographic and social consequences of WWI; WWII - UK labour mobilisation vs. US volunteerism; women in uniform; women as spies - SOE; women on the home front US and UK; the Cold War - domestic warrior; women Strike for Peace; women and the anti-war movement; Vietnam; the modern military.
Empire, Imperialism and Hegemony
Main topics of study: empire and hegemony: conceptual introduction and historical overview; early-modern imperial and hegemonic powers: case studies; European imperialism; theories of imperialism; US foreign policy: historical overview; the USA in the world economy; theorising US hegemony/empire.
Intelligence Concepts: Theory and Policy
Deals with the essential concepts and issues of what intelligence is and its role in government and decision-making. It introduces the basic concepts of intelligence studies, the various sources of intelligence available to national governments, and examines the analysis of those sources, sources of intelligence success and failure and intelligence needs in the contemporary environment.
Intelligence and Non-Conventional Threat
This module is a survey of contemporary threats faced by the UK and all other modern liberal democracies. It discusses the changes wrought by new military technologies in the conduct of war, and the new civilian technologies which permit modern organised crime, drug trafficking, terrorism, and insurgency to pose a globalised, complex and integrated threat to our security, as well as a tricky foe for our domestic and foreign security structures.
China and the World
Main topics of the study: IR theory applications; Chinese frameworks (strategic culture, world views, Grand Strategy); China's relations with other regions (Asia-Pacific, Central Asia, Africa, Latin America); with other actors (Russia, Japan, India, USA, EU); and with global issues (UN, environment, globalisation, image).
The Second World War
Main topics of study include: the origins of the war in Europe and Asia; the connection between politics, culture and military strategy; the Grand Alliance; impact of technology on the course of the war; the role of intelligence; the impact and legacy of the war.
Two modes of assessment operate on this programme. Some modules are assessed by coursework and an advance notice examination. Other modules are assessed 100% by coursework.
A Master's degree is awarded if you reach the necessary standard on the taught part of the course and submit a dissertation of the required standard. The 15,000 word dissertation can be written on any agreed topic on war and conflict in the Modern Age. The pass grade for all modules and the dissertation is C. If you do not achieve the standard required, you may be awarded a Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate if eligible.
Focusing on the study of key aspects of war in the contemporary period, the MA in War in the Modern World equips students for a variety of careers in government, the armed forces, the media and business. The degree also prepares students wishing to go on to study for research degrees and those interested in military history seeking to expand their knowledge of the subject.