All students will study three core modules:
Economics of War
As events in the last two centuries have shown, the outcome of conventional wars is very much dependent on the economic power of the belligerents; and in case of asymmetrical warfare, on the question if the economical ‘superior power’ is willing to make the sacrifices. The module will introduce you to the economic problems of warfare since the Napoleonic era. Issues investigated will include: war finance; (industrial) production of war materials; organisation of wartime economies, including raw material provision; interruption of enemies’ economic systems; the ‘military-industrial complex’ and its influence; the impact political decisions have on the effectiveness and efficiency of armed forces; and the impact of spiralling procurement costs.
This module introduces you to the major developments in historical approaches since the Second World War and to some of the major schools of, or tendencies in, historical research such as the Annales School, the English historians’ response to Marxism, cultural history, the linguistic turn, gender, history of science and critical social theory (Geertz and Foucault). The focus is on the application of the ideas to historical practice then and now.
Research Skills: Dissertation Preparation
The module will provide detailed guidance on the techniques necessary for the location of primary and secondary sources relevant to your dissertation research. You will become familiar with advanced bibliographical aids and with how to search in relevant libraries, archives and data sources. You will also undertake a detailed analytical survey of the secondary literature relevant to your dissertation topic.
Students who did not take the BA War Studies degree at the University of Birmingham will also study an additional core module:
Writing the History of Warfare
This module addresses general questions relating to the historiography of warfare and considers how the subject has evolved from ancient times to the present. The principal schools of military history are considered together with those individuals who have made a major contribution to the evolution of the discipline.
Those who did not take the BA War Studies degree will then take 40 credits of optional modules, while University of Birmingham BA War Studies graduates will take 60 credits of optional modules, chosen from 40-credit special subject modules or 20-credit advanced options.
Previous special subject modules have included:
- After Hitler: Politics and Society in West Germany during the Adenauer Era, 1945-1965
- Bearers of the Cross: Violence and Devotion in the Crusading World
- Nazis at War
- The British Army on the Western Front 1914-1918
- The English Civil War and Local Society
- The Revolting Right: Conservative Activism in Post-War Britain
Previous advanced options have included:
- Conflict in the Modern Middle East
- France and the Second World War
- The Costs of War
- The Good War? A Cultural and Military History
- Warfare at Sea
Each module is assessed by 4,000-word essay and you will complete the programme with a 15,000-word dissertation (60 credits).
Please note that the optional modules listed on the website for this programme are intended to be indicative, and the availability of optional modules may vary from year to year. Where a module is no longer available we will let you know as soon as we can and help you to make other choices.