Strategic Aspects of International Relations

This information is for the 2016/17 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Christopher Coker CLM 5.09


This course is available on the MSc in International Affairs (LSE and Peking University), MSc in International Relations, MSc in International Relations (LSE and Sciences Po), MSc in International Relations (Research), MSc in International Relations Theory and MSc in Theory and History of International Relations. This course is not available as an outside option.

All students are required to obtain permission from the Teacher Responsible by completing the Student Statement box on the online application form linked to course selection on LSE for You. Admission is not guaranteed. 


A working knowledge of international history since 1815 and of traditional theories of international politics is desirable. 

Course content

This is not a conventional Strategic Studies course. It is about the cultural context of military conflict between states and within them. The place of war in international relations, and the social, political, and economic consequences of the use of force. The greater part of the course is concerned with force in international relations since 1945. The Western Way of War; Non Western Ways of Warfare; Technology and War. Clausewitz and the Western Way of Warfare; war and genocide; war in the developing world; terrorism and crime; NATO and its future; Globalisation and Security; the 'end of war' thesis.


10 hours of lectures and 12 hours of seminars in the MT. 6 hours of lectures and 12 hours of seminars in the LT. 1 hour and 30 minutes of seminars in the ST.

The majority of seminar topics will be on strategic aspects of postwar international relations and examination papers will reflect this. Students on this course will have a reading week in week 6 in line with departmental policy.

Formative coursework

Three 2,000-word essays will be set and marked by the seminar teacher.

Indicative reading

The following short list comprises some of the most important and some of the best currently available books. An asterisk indicates publication in paperback edition. R Aron, Peace and War; C M Clausewitz, On War (Ed by M Howard & P Paret); J L Gaddis, Strategies of Containment; M E Howard, War and the Liberal Conscience; F M Osanka, Modern Guerrilla Warfare; C Coker, War and the Twentieth Century; J Keegan, A History of Warfare; C Coker, War and the Illiberal Conscience.


Exam (100%, duration: 3 hours) in the main exam period.

Student performance results

(2012/13 - 2014/15 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 13.9
Merit 55.7
Pass 25.3
Fail 5.1

Key facts

Department: International Relations

Total students 2015/16: 32

Average class size 2015/16: 11

Controlled access 2015/16: Yes

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information