War Studies MLitt

War Studies

An understanding of war, for good or ill, is of vital importance. This programme offers the opportunity to study the theory and practice of war in a wide range of aspects, from the Middle Ages to the present day, and from causes to consequences.

Key facts

Why this programme

  • The MLitt in War Studies aims to challenge, educate and engage by exposing you to a wide range of different ideas about war. It is specifically designed to broaden and deepen your knowledge of warfare.
  • The University of Glasgow is home to the Scottish Centre for War Studies. You will be able to participate in the conferences and seminars we organise on critical themes related to conflict.
  • All courses are designed to expose you to detailed research topics, source criticism and current debate, and are led by acknowledged international experts.

Programme structure

You will spend a semester studying on the degree’s core course which covers both the major thinkers on warfare and the practice and conduct of war.

Core topics may include

  • Jomini, aggressive warfare and the Confederate States of America at war
  • The evolution of Military Thought between the two World Wars
  • Europe’s ‘small wars’, 1800–present
  • Vegetius and ‘Vegetian strategy’ in medieval warfare.

In the second semester, you will take three optional courses which delve in greater detail into a particular aspect of military or strategic history.

Optional courses may include

  • Chivalry and warfare in later medieval Europe, 1300–1450
  • The American way of warfare; from the Revolution to the War on Terror
  • Insurgency and counter-insurgency, 1800-present
  • Western intelligence in an age of terror.

You will complete the programme by writing a dissertation based on your own research. This requires you to engage in original research guided by an expert in the field.

Background and aims

The MLitt in War Studies aims to challenge, educate and engage students by exposing you to a wide range of different ideas about war in all its aspects.  You will spend a semester studying on the degree’s core course which covers both the major thinkers on warfare and the practice and conduct of war. In the second semester, you will take three optional courses which delve in great detail into a particular aspect of military or strategic history. Each optional course is led by an acknowledged international expert in the field. The courses are designed to expose you to detailed research topics, source criticism and current debate.

You will complete the course by writing a dissertation based on your own research. This requires you to engage in original research guided by an expert in the field.

 

 

Core and optional courses

Core Course

Theory and Reality in Western Warfare

The core course aims to cover many of the most interesting theoretical discussions in the history of western warfare, while also allowing students to test just how 'theory' reacts when it is applied to the real world.

Specifically, by the end of this core course the student should:

  1. Be knowledgeable of the some of the most important theoretical developments in western warfare, and how these different theories fared when they were put in practice
  2. Be able to understand and evaluate historical ideas on western warfare from a number of different periods, nations, and historical perspectives
  3. Be able to integrate their own thoughts with primary source material, secondary source material, and information gathered from instructor presentations, to create informed, interesting and persuasive presentations
  4. Be able to write essays consistent with work at the post-graduate level.

Course Structure

The core course is mandatory for all students in the first term and will be class-taught. It will meet twice per week (on Tuesdays and Thursdays 3-5pm); each week the class will focus on one specific subject. During the first meeting of the week the leading instructor will give a presentation on a particular subject, while the second meeting will be based around student presentations on the same subject.

Topics covered in the course include:

  • Clausewitz and European Armies 1871-1914
  • Mahan and Sea Power
  • Moltke and the War of German Unification
  • Theory of Small Arms Control
  • Early Modern Warfare: The Historiographical Debate

Each student will be assessed through their performance in one essay and two oral seminar presentations and papers. Overall, the mark in the core course will compose one-third of the student's final mark for the MLitt.

Optional courses

Western Intelligence in an Age of Terror - Professor Peter Jackson

This course surveys the way western intelligence agencies (primarily those of Britain and the United States) have dealt with the key security challenges of the early twenty-first century. It will introduce students to a number of concepts central to the study of intelligence and then apply these concepts to the study of intelligence responses to international challenges since the end of the Cold War.

Insurgency and Counter-Insurgency, 1800-present - Dr Alex Marshall

This course will introduce students to the key theoretical frameworks behind the phenomena of social mobilization, organised political rebellion, and counter-insurgency from both a purely theoretical and practical perspective, making use of both primary and secondary sources. From the very broadest theoretical outline as to why rebellions and insurgencies occur, the course will then lead students right up to a consideration of present-day dilemmas currently being faced in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

The American Way of War: From the Revolution to the War on Terror - Dr Phillips O'Brien

This course examines changing American notions of war over time, to both educate the students about the how the power of America has developed, the role it played in many international wars, and how it has accumulated the military that it has today. The course is divided into ten sessions, each dealing with a different aspects and developments of the American military power.

  • The American Revolution: The United States as Small Power.
  • The American Civil War: Grant, Sherman and the Notion of Total War
  • 'Small Wars', Early Wars of American Imperial Power
  • The First World War: America on the Verge of World Power
  • The Second World War I, The Role American Land/Air Power in the Defeat of Germany
  • The Second World War II, Naval and Economic Warfare and the Destruction of Japan
  • American Nuclear Doctrine in the Cold War
  • Vietnam: The Politics of the use of American Power
  • The Revolution in Military Affairs and the Transformation of American Military Power: The First Gulf War and the Former Yugoslavia
  • The War on Terror and America as World Military Hegemon 

Chivalry and Warfare in Late Medieval Europe, c. 1300 to c. 1500 - Professor Matthew Strickland

This course aims to explore the nature of chivalry in aristocratic culture and in particular in relation to the conduct of warfare in theory and in practice. This module will examine key aspects of the debate surrounding the idea that, by the fifteenth century, concepts of chivalry had become ossified and anachronistic. It shall explore the role played by the 'law of arms' in later medieval chivalry, and examine the operation of conventions of ransom and the profits of war which were a key incentive in the prosecution of war. The ambiguous relationship between notions of chivalry and the impact of war on the population at large will also be examined.

Sessions will include the following topics:

  • Huizinga, Keen and the Scope of the Debate
  • The Knight Redundant? (i) The Man-at-Arms and the 'Infantry Revolution'
  • The Knight Redundant? (ii) Artillery and the Rise of Firearms
  • Laws of Siege and Rituals of Capitulation
  • Prisoners, Ransom and the Courts of Chivalry
  • Chivalry, War and the Non-Combatant
  • Captains and Condottieri: War as a Profession
  • Crusading: A Noble Anachronism?
  • The Secular Orders of Knighthood
  • Jousts of Peace, Jousts of War: The Tournament and late Medieval Chivalry

Scottish Castles in a European Context, c. 1100 to c.1750 - Professor Stephen Driscoll & Professor Matthew Strickland

Whether the great fortified crags of Edinburgh, Stirling or Dumbarton, or the numerous ruined or still inhabited tower-houses visible across the country, the castle has long formed one of the most striking features of Scotland’s landscape. This course traces the evolution of the castle from its introduction by the Franco-Norman knights serving the twelfth century kings of Scots, asking what it was that made the castle distinctive form earlier forms of defence and power centres. It continues through to the First War of Independence (1296-1328), when many of the country’s finest fortifications, constructed in a period of comparative peace during the thirteenth century, were deliberately ruined to prevent them being used as bases for English occupation, to the later Middle Ages and into the sixteenth century, when distinctive forms of fortified lordly residences developed, above all the tower house. Much recent historiography has sought to downplay the military aspects of the castle, stressing instead the primacy of residential functions and design. Equally, the importance is increasingly being recognized of studying castles not in isolation but within their wider landscapes. This course will examine these debates and apply them to the study of castles in Scotland, a land where geographical and political factors led to marked regional divergence in their forms and purposes. It will also seek to place their evolution within the wider context of the military, political and social influences from Europe, not least France, with which Scotland had long enjoyed the ‘Auld Alliance’ against England. In so doing, the course utilizes a range of historical and archaeological evidence.

The Wars of Decolonization and the Making of the Global Cold War - Dr Mathilde von Bulow

This course investigates the history of refugees and statelessness across the world since the start of the twentieth century, taking an interdisciplinary approach to understand how population displacement has related to conflict, nationalism, state formation, and the development of international institutions.

Crusading Warfare in the Eastern Mediterranean, 1096 to 1291 

Drawing on recent debates about the functions and development of military fortifications and the formation of a 'crusading ethos' in medieval western Europe after 1099, this course will explore the culture and conduct of war in the religiously charged context of the crusades in the Eastern Mediterranean. Examining the history of crusader warfare through the interpretive lenses of acculturation and cultural brokerage, it will identify key aspects of cross-fertilization and cultural conservatism in military tactics, developments and conduct, thereby contributing to a better understanding of medieval military culture before the age of chivalry. 

 

Dissertation

All students will write a dissertation of 15,000 words with the support of a supervisor. This will ask you to carry out primary source-based research in an area of interest, engage with historiographical debate and develop your writing skills. The dissertation can be used as a stepping-stone to further doctoral research.

Entry requirements

for entry in 2015

Entry requirements for postgraduate taught programmes are a 2.1 Honours degree or equivalent qualification (for example, GPA 3.0 or above) in a relevant subject unless otherwise specified.

You must also submit a brief statement (no longer than one page) outlining your interest in the programme.

English language requirements

For applicants whose first language is not English, the University sets a minimum English Language proficiency level.

International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic module (not General Training):

  • overall score 6.5
  • no sub-test less than 6.5
  • or equivalent scores in another recognised qualification (see below)

Common equivalent English language qualifications

All stated English tests are acceptable for admission for both home/EU and international students for this programme:

  • ibTOEFL: 92; no sub-test less than 22 with Speaking no less than 23
  • CAE (Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English): 176 overall; no sub-test less than 176
  • CPE (Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English): 176 overall; no sub-test less than 176
  • PTE Academic (Person Test of English, Academic test): 64; minimum 62 in writing

For international students, the Home Office has confirmed that the University can choose to use these tests to make its own assessment of English language ability for visa applications to degree level programmes. The University is also able to accept an IELTS test (Academic module) from any of the 1000 IELTS test centres from around the world and we do not require a specific UKVI IELTS test for degree level programmes. We therefore still accept any of the English tests listed for admission to this programme.

Pre-sessional courses
The University of Glasgow accepts evidence of the required language level from the Language Centre Pre-sessional courses. We also consider other BALEAP accredited pre-sessional courses:

FAQs

What do I do if...

my language qualifications are below the requirements?

The University's Language Centre offers a range of Pre-Sessional Courses to bring you up to entry level. The course is accredited by BALEAP, the UK professional association for academic English teaching; see Links.

my language qualifications are not listed here?

Please contact the Recruitment and International Office: pgadmissions@glasgow.ac.uk

 

For further information about English language requirements, please contact the Recruitment and International Office: pgadmissions@glasgow.ac.uk

Fees and funding

Tuition fees for 2015-16 (subject to change and for guidance only)

MLitt

Home and EU
Full time fee£6800
Part time 20 credits£756
International
Full time fee£14500

Funding opportunities

Career prospects

The programme provides an excellent platform for you to move onto PhD studies and an academic career.

Positions held by recent graduates include Development Director, Professor, Correspondent, and Freelance Journalist.

How to apply

We ask that you apply online for a postgraduate taught degree. Our system allows you to fill out the standard application form online and submit this to the University within 42 days of starting your application.

You need to read the guide to applying online before starting your application. It will ensure you are ready to proceed, as well as answer many common questions about the process.

Guide to applying online

Do I have to apply online for a postgraduate taught degree?

Yes. To apply for a postgraduate taught degree you must apply online. We are unable to accept your application by any other means than online.

Do I need to complete and submit the application in a single session?

No. You have 42 days to submit your application once you begin the process. You may save and return to your application as many times as you wish to update information, complete sections or upload additional documents such as your final transcript or your language test.

What documents do I need to provide to make an application?

As well as completing your online application fully, it is essential that you submit the following documents:

  • A copy (or copies) of your official degree certificate(s) (if you have already completed your degree)
  • A copy (or copies) of your official academic transcript(s), showing full details of subjects studied and grades/marks obtained
  • Official English translations of the certificate(s) and transcript(s)
  • Two supporting reference letters on headed paper
  • Evidence of your English Language ability (if your first language is not English)
  • Any additional documents required for this programme (see Entry requirements for this programme)
  • A copy of the photo page of your passport (Non-EU students only)

If you do not have all of these documents at the time of submitting your application then it is still possible to make an application and provide any further documents at a later date, as long as you include a full current transcript (and an English translation if required) with your application. See the ‘Your References, Transcripts and English Qualification’ sections of our Frequently Asked Questions for more information.

Do my supporting documents need to be submitted online?

Yes, where possible, please upload the supporting documents with your application.

How do I provide my references?

You must either upload the required references to your online application or ask your referees to send the references to the University as we do not contact referees directly. There is two main ways that you can provide references: you can either upload references on headed paper when you are making an application using the Online Application (or through Applicant Self-Service after you have submitted your application) or you can ask your referee to email the reference directly to pgadmissions@glasgow.ac.uk. See the 'Your References, Transcripts and English Qualifications' section of the Frequently Asked Questions for more information.

What if I am unable to submit all of my supporting documents online?

If you cannot upload an electronic copy of a document and need to send it in by post, please attach a cover sheet to it that includes your name, the programme you are applying for, and your application reference number.

You may send them to:

Recruitment & International Office
71 Southpark Avenue
Glasgow
G12 8QQ
Fax: +44 141 330 4045

Can I email my supporting documents?

No. We cannot accept email submissions of your supporting documents.

What entry requirements should I have met before applying? Where can I find them?

You should check that you have met (or are likely to have met prior to the start of the programme) the individual entry requirements for the degree programme you are applying for. This information can be found on the ‘entry requirements’ tab on each individual programme page, such as the one you are viewing now.

What English Language requirements should I have met before applying? Where can I find them?

If you are an international student, you should also check that you have met the English Language requirements specific to the programme you are applying for. These can also be found on the ‘entry requirements’ tab for each specific programme.

Further Information

Please see the Frequently Asked Questions for more information on applying to a postgraduate taught programme.

Guidance notes for using the online application

These notes are intended to help you complete the online application form accurately, they are also available within the help section of the online application form. If you experience any difficulties accessing the online application then you should visit the Application Troubleshooting/FAQs page.

  • Name and Date of birth: must appear exactly as they do on your passport. Please take time to check the spelling and lay-out.
  • Contact Details: Correspondence address. All contact relevant to your application will be sent to this address including the offer letter(s). If your address changes, please contact us as soon as possible.
  • Choice of course: Please select carefully the course you want to study. As your application will be sent to the admissions committee for each course you select it is important to consider at this stage why you are interested in the course and that it is reflected in your application.
  • Proposed date of entry: Please state your preferred start date including the month and the year. Taught masters degrees tend to begin in September. Research degrees may start in any month.
  • Education and Qualifications: Please complete this section as fully as possible indicating any relevant Higher Education qualifications starting with the most recent. Complete the name of the Institution (s) as it appears on the degree certificate or transcript.
  • English Language Proficiency: Please state the date of any English language test taken (or to be taken) and the award date (or expected award date if known).
  • Employment and Experience: Please complete this section as fully as possible with all employments relevant to your course. Additional details may be attached in your personal statement/proposal where appropriate.
  • References: Please provide the names and contact details of two academic references. Where applicable one of these references may be from your current employer. References should be completed on letter headed paper and uploaded on to your application.

Standard application deadlines

  • International applications (non-EU) 24 July 2015
  • UK and EU applications 28 August 2015
    (with the exception of those programmes offering SFC funded places)

Classes start September 2015 for most programmes and you may be expected to attend induction sessions the week before.

Apply now