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Strategy and Grand Strategy in Theory and Practice


Admission requirements

Admission to the MA International Relations. Students who are interested in taking this course, but who are not admitted to the mentioned master programmes are requested to contact the co-ordinator of studies.


Military strategy is the threat or use of force for political purposes. Grand strategy expands the available toolset beyond just military force to include economic, diplomatic, and other instruments of power. The purpose of this course is to understand the challenging and difficult to practice mode of thought which is strategy, by approaching it thematically.

The course begins with the foundational assumptions of strategic studies before transitioning to the single most important strategic thinker of all time, Carl von Clausewitz, and to the various forms of military power—land, sea, air, nuclear, cyber. Students will discuss and analyze these themes in real-life context using recent as well as older historical examples.

The second part of the course allows students to use the themes of the first seven sessions to consider in further detail questions about defense planning and beyond military strategy to grand strategy and statecraft, as well as about Chinese strategic thought and practice. In the final two lessons, students will take all that they have learned in the course and apply it in practice in a strategic simulation/war game with and against their fellow classmates.

An understanding of the tenets of strategy, an ability to think strategically oneself, and a cognizance of the likely strategic mindset of others are all crucial qualities for persons interested in a wide range of careers within political science and international relations. In this highly interactive seminar course we will challenge each other to acquire such skills.

Course Objectives

By the end of the course, students should be able to:

  • understand the concept of strategy and its basic component parts

  • evaluate the key debates in strategic studies

  • analyze real world practice of strategy


Via the website.

Mode of instruction


Course Load

Total: 280 Hours for 10 ECTS. See course syllabus for a breakdown.

Assessment Method

  • Participation and presentations: 20%

  • After Action Report: 30%

  • Final Paper: 30%


The final mark for the course is established by determining the weighted average.


The resit for the final examined element is only available to students whose mark of the final examined element is insufficient.

Exam review

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.


Blackboard will be used.

Reading list

The reading list and weekly readings will be posted on Blackboard.


Via uSis.

Contact information

Dhr. Dr. L. Milevski