Please note: there may be some adjustments to the teaching arrangements published in the course catalogue for 2020-21. Given current circumstances related to the Covid-19 pandemic it is anticipated that some usual arrangements for teaching on campus will be modified to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students and staff on campus; further adjustments may also be necessary, or beneficial, during the course of the academic year as national requirements relating to management of the pandemic are revised.

European and International Security Strategies SPS5026

  • Academic Session: 2021-22
  • School: School of Social and Political Sciences
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: No
  • Available to Erasmus Students: No

Short Description

This course will enable students to critically evaluate and compare national security strategies as a 'whole-of-government' approach to the security challenges of the 21st century. Through in-depth country case studies students will analyse the evolution and application of grand strategy as a means to pursue the objectives that defend and advance national interest and security.


2 hour seminars once a week over 10 weeks

Requirements of Entry

Generic regulations apply

Excluded Courses



Students will be required to write one essay (3000 words) worth 50% of the final grade, one report on security strategies (2000 words) worth 40% of the final grade, and a group presentation worth 10% of the final grade.

Course Aims

To introduce students to theories of strategy with a focus on understanding why grand national security strategies are becoming more commonplace in the 21st Century

To critically evaluate in-depth a range of European and international national security strategies and related documents.

To enable students to identify and critically assess the actual processes that nation states employ to craft national security strategy documents.

To introduce students to a variety of theoretical approaches to the study of different drivers that inform how and why states plan for coordinated use of the instruments of state power at their disposal as a means to defend and advance their national interests.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ Identify and explain the purpose of national security strategy and associated documents;

■ Be able to critically evaluate competing theories and apply relevant theoretical frameworks to the study of national security and grand strategy

■ Compare and critically analyse European and international security strategies

■ Advance reasoned and factually supported arguments on the evolution of national security strategy in a comprehensive written manner

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Generic regulations apply