European and International Security Strategies SPS5026

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Social and Political Sciences
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: No

Short Description

This course will enable students to critically evaluate and compare national security strategies as a 'whole-of-government' approach to the security challenges of the 21st century. Through in-depth country case studies students will analyse the evolution and application of grand strategy as a means to pursue the objectives that defend and advance national interest and security at global and regional levels.


5 x 1 hour interactive lectures offered in Weeks 2, 3, 5, 7 and 8

6 x 90 minute seminars offers in weeks 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7 & 8

Students also attend 5 x 1 hour workshops

Total teaching contact time 20 hours.   

Requirements of Entry

Generic regulations apply

Excluded Courses



Students will be required to write one essay (2500 words) worth 60% of the final grade, one briefing paper based on their presentation topic (1000 words) worth 15% of the final grade, and participate in a group facilitated workshop including a group presentation worth 25% of the final grade.

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? No

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non-Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 


The facilitated group workshop element including group presentation cannot be reassessed and is excluded. Students can submit reassessment of the individually written essay and briefing paper.  

Course Aims

■ To introduce students to theories of strategy with a focus on understanding why grand national security strategies are becoming more commonplace in the 21st Century

■ To critically evaluate in-depth a range of European and international national security strategies and related documents.

■ To enable students to identify and critically assess the actual processes that nation states employ to craft national security strategy documents.

■ To introduce students to a variety of theoretical approaches to the study of different drivers that inform how and why states plan for coordinated use of the instruments of state power at their disposal as a means to defend and advance their national interests.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ Identify and explain the purpose of national security strategy and associated documents;

■ Be able to critically evaluate competing theories and apply relevant theoretical frameworks to the study of national security and grand strategy

■ Compare and critically analyse European and international security strategies

■ Advance reasoned and factually supported arguments on the evolution of national security strategy in a comprehensive written and verbal manner, both independently and as part of a group.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.