nl en

War Studies


Admission requirements

  • Only students of the MSc Crisis and Security Management can take this course.


The focus of this course will be the military dimension of international security. The course will explore the use of the military instrument in international relations and the relationship between military power and politics. Various forms of military power will be discussed and students will be made familiar with modern evolutions in warfare and types of warfare such as cyber war and asymmetric warfare.

The course will focus on modern war and warfare and will explore contemporary threats to international peace and security. The changes in the actors and way in which wars are fought are explored in a multidisciplinary manner building on among others the disciplines of international law, international politics, International relations, history, sociology, psychology and economics.

Course Objectives

At the end of the course, students should:

  • Be aware of the range of academic disciplines that may be brought to the study of war and have considered the multi- and inter-disciplinary nature of Security Studies

  • Have acquired knowledge of various theoretical principles, paradigms and concepts used in the field of war studies

  • Be able to describe how, and driven by what factors, the Western Way of War has evolved since 1990

  • Understand the utility of force in the contemporary security environment

  • Understand the complexity of dominant strategic contexts in which military force has been employed by Western states since 1990

  • Be able to describe how the Western attitudes towards the use of force have evolved since 1990

  • Be able to explain the factors that influence success and failure of military employment in contemporary strategic contexts

  • Understand the key issues and concepts arising from scholarly debates in relation to war and modern practices in warfare

  • Be able to assess the impact of emerging technologies on international security and the character of war

  • Be able to identify and evaluate different disciplines, (research) methods, and strategies and value their applicability for assessing different security challenges

  • Be aware of the range of academic disciplines that may be brought to the study of war and have considered the multi-disciplinary nature of War Studies


On the right side of programme front page of the E-guide you will find links to the website and timetables, uSis and Brightspace.

Mode of Instruction

This course consists of seven meetings, included are:

  • plenary lectures

  • workgroups

Total study load 140 hours:

  • 21 Contact hours

  • 119 Self-study hours: reading, preparing lectures, assignments, etc.

Assessment method

The final grade for this course is based on two assessments:

Written mid-term exam (40% of the final grade)
Grade cannot be compensated, a 5.50 is required to pass the course

Final Essay (60% of the final grade)
Grade cannot be compensated, a 5.50 is required to pass the course

The re-sit assignment will test the same course objectives, but will be different in terms of topics, cases or substance.

The calculated grade of the assignments must be at least 5.50 in order to pass the course.
If a student passed an assignment, it is not possible to participate in a re-sit in order to obtain a higher grade.

Reading list

A selection of books and articles, to be announced on Brightspace.


Register for every course and workgroup via uSis.
Registration in uSis is possible from four weeks before the start of the course. Some courses and workgroups have a limited number of participants, so register on time (before the course starts). In uSis you can access your personal schedule and view your results.

Leiden University uses Brightspace as its online learning management system. Important information about the course is posted here.
After enrolment for the course in uSis you are also enrolled in the Brightspace environment of this course.


dr. F.P.B. Osinga