IR490      Half Unit
The Strategy of Conflict in International Relations

This information is for the 2022/23 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr. Anna Getmansky CBG 8.05


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) 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. 

Course content

This course provides students with an opportunity to apply their theoretical knowledge and simulate decision-making based on a case study of an actual conflict. The first part of the course serves as an introduction and a refresher on several theories and models of conflict, and provides a background to one conflict. In the second part of the course, students will split into several teams, each representing a player in the conflict. They will receive scenarios and will re-enact specific events. The main goal of the course is to experience how IR theories and concepts can be applied to decision-making in somewhat realistic scenarios.


This course is delivered through a combination of seminars and lectures totalling a minimum of 20 hours across Lent Term. Students on this course will have a reading week in Week 6, in line with departmental policy.

Formative coursework

Students will write short weekly blog posts on Moodle and provide an 800-word outline of their assessed essay by the end of Week 8. This will be returned by the end of LT.

Indicative reading

  • Thomas Schelling. Arms and Influence (Yale University Press 2008)
  • Sara McLaughlin Mitchell and John A. Vasquez (eds.), What Do We Know About War? (Rowman & Littlefield 2021)
  • Bruce Bueno de Mesquita, Alastair Smith, Randolph Siverson, and James Morrow, The Logic of Political Survival (MIT 2003)
  • Joshua Kertzer, Resolve in International Politics (Princeton University Press 2016)
  • Laia Balcells, Rivalry and Revenge (Cambridge University Press 2017)
  • Aila Matanock, Electing Peace (Cambridge University Press 2017)
  • Agnia Grigas, Beyond Crimea (Yale University Press 2016)


Essay (100%, 4000 words) in the ST Week 1.

Students will write a 4,000-word assessed essay selecting from a list of topics and questions provided by the course coordinator.

Key facts

Department: International Relations

Total students 2021/22: Unavailable

Average class size 2021/22: Unavailable

Controlled access 2021/22: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

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.