Undergraduate Module Descriptor

POL1027: Strategic Theory and Contemporary International Conflict

This module descriptor refers to the 2018/9 academic year.


NQF Level 4
Credits 15 ECTS Value 7.5
Term(s) and duration

This module ran during term 2 (11 weeks)

Academic staff

Dr Nils-Christian Bormann (Lecturer)





Available via distance learning


This module will provide you with an entry-level introduction to rational choice theory and its role in understanding current strategic problems. Rational choice theory is sometimes referred to as the ‘strategic approach to international relations’, and in this module you will learn how analysing international conflict through this prism can aid our understanding of some of the central themes of international conflict today and help the development of government strategies. Specifically, you will learn the basics of game theory, identify the motivations of different international actors, and understand the concept of Nash equilibria. These analytical tools will be applied to inter-state conflicts, civil and ethnic conflicts, transnational terrorism, international alliances, arms races and deterrence.


No pre-requisite or co-requisite modules are required from you in order to register for this module. This module will introduce you to rational choice theory and how it can be applied to understand current international strategic problems and conflicts. As such this module is suitable for both specialist and non-specialist students who are interested in studying strategic approaches to understanding international conflict. It is suitable for interdisciplinary pathways.

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