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Undergraduate Module Descriptor

LAW3146: International Law, Conflict and Strategy

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

Module Aims

The aim of this module is to draw on the broad expertise and research interest of the Strategy and Security Institute and the Law School in order to provide you with a fantastic insight into some of the most pressing contemporary legal and security dilemmas and the interaction between international law and strategy.


The relationship between international law and strategy is multifaceted and dynamic. International law plays a pivotal role in structuring the mutual interaction between States and as such shapes their strategic choices in fundamental ways. However, international law does not operate in a vacuum, but is itself influenced and shaped by international politics, security and strategy. The study of neither subject is complete without at least a basic understanding of the other discipline. Security strategy involves making complex decisions and judgements in conditions of uncertainty and, often, urgency. The permissions and constraints set out in international law are present at every stage of strategic decision-making. Accordingly, students of international politics, security and strategy benefit from an understanding of international law just as much as students of international law benefit from an understanding of the political, security and strategic context in which law applies.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

This module's assessment will evaluate your achievement of the ILOs listed here – you will see reference to these ILO numbers in the details of the assessment for this module.

On successfully completing the programme you will be able to:
Module-Specific Skills1. Demonstrate secure knowledge of the main features of the international legal system and of certain substantive branches of international law;
2. Demonstrate knowledge of the main elements of strategic thought and practice;
3. Demonstrate detailed knowledge and critical understanding of the dynamic interaction between public international law and non-legal processes;
Discipline-Specific Skills4. Demonstrate knowledge of relevant legal and political science concepts and their contextual, social and political implications;
5. Demonstrate the ability to apply legal knowledge to a problem or case study and to discuss it;
6. Demonstrate the ability to select and explain relevant information from primary and secondary sources using appropriate interpretative techniques;
7. Demonstrate an understanding of the ways in which security strategy, as it is developed and applied, is shaped by international law;
Personal and Key Skills8. Demonstrate effective and accurate written and oral communication skills in a manner appropriate to the relevant discipline;
9. Demonstrate the ability to engage in debate effectively and to develop complex arguments and opinions with limited guidance; and
10. Identify, retrieve and use efficiently a range of library-based and electronic resources with limited guidance.