IR434      Half Unit
European Defence and Security

This information is for the 2021/22 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Spyridon Economides CBG 5.03


This course is available on the MSc in European and International Public Policy, MSc in European and International Public Policy (LSE and Bocconi), MSc in European and International Public Policy (LSE and Sciences Po), MSc in International Affairs (LSE and Peking University), MSc in International Relations, MSc in International Relations (LSE and Sciences Po) and MSc in International Relations (Research). This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

All students are required to obtain permission from the Teacher Responsible by completing the online application on LSE for You. Admission is not guaranteed.

This course has a limited number of places (it is controlled access). In previous years we have been able to provide places for most students who apply but that may not continue to be the case.

Course content

This course examines the role of defence and security issues in European integration. It traces the evolution and nature of decision-making with respect to European defence initiatives, and examines the structures and institutions of EU defence and security. It also seeks to understand the relationship between foreign policy and security/defence policy in the EU especially in the context of transatlantic relations, and NATO, and the EU's wider international role. The course is divided into two parts. Part one provides a theoretical overview of the role of defence and security issues in European integration. It addresses the question of defence and European identity, the relationship between European defence and the national objectives of Member-States, the link between collective defence and collective security as well as the role of defence in the EU's evolution as a civilian, normative and global actor in international relations. It also looks at the historical evolution of the plans, structures and institutions of European defence and security in the context of the early post-Second World War era, the Cold War and German rearmament and the issues of extended deterrence, burden-sharing within NATO and the emergence of a European pillar to Western defence. Part two examines the more contemporary developments in European defence and security and concentrates on the relationship with European Common Foreign and Security Policy, moves to institutionalise defence and provisions for crisis management and conflict prevention. Included in the second part are examinations of the EU's ‘comprehensive approach’, ‘strategic culture’, ‘strategic autonomy’ and ‘security governance’.


This course is delivered through a combination of seminars and lectures totalling a minimum of 20 hours across Michaelmas Term. This year, some or all of this teaching will be delivered through a combination of online lectures and in-person classes/classes delivered online. Students on this course will have a reading week in Week 6, in line with departmental policy.

Students on this course will have a reading week in Week 6, in line with departmental policy. 

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 1 essay in the MT.

The essay word limit will be 2,000 words.

Indicative reading

Anne Deighton (Ed), Western European Union: Defence Security Integration; Andrew Cottey, Security in the New Europe; Jolyon Howorth, Security and Defence Policy in the European Union; Simon Duke, The Elusive Quest for European Security; From EDC to CFSP; Paul Gebhard, The United States and European Security; Heather Grabbe, The Sharp Edges of Europe; Francois Heisbourg et al, European Defence: Making it Work; Sean Kay, Nato and the Future of European Security; G Rees Wyn, The Western European Union at the Crossroads; Stanley Sloan, The United States and European Defence; Panos Tsakaloyannis, The European Union as a Security Community (1996).


Take-home assessment (100%) in January.

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Student performance results

(2017/18 - 2019/20 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 9.4
Merit 72.9
Pass 17.6
Fail 0

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2021/22 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the differing needs of students in attendance on campus and those who might be studying online. For example, this may involve changes to the mode of teaching delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: International Relations

Total students 2020/21: Unavailable

Average class size 2020/21: Unavailable

Controlled access 2020/21: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information