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The University of Southampton

PAIR6002 Contemporary Security Challenges

Module Overview

The module provides an overview of the main security challenges facing the world today. Drawing on classic and contemporary literature from International Relations and other academic disciplines, together with case studies, we consider such questions as: what are the main threats to security today and in the near future? What is the nature of these threats? From what and against whom? How might they be addressed? The module examines these questions in the context of the policy options that may be available. For students enrolled in the MSc International Security and Risk degree, the issue-based approach in Contemporary Security Challenges complements the theory- driven approach in the module Security Theory.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate the ability to appraise the major security challenges dominating world affairs today.
  • Demonstrate the ability to develop and present policy options at national and international levels
  • Demonstrate the ability to solve problems in groups and individually


Drawing on a wide span of interdisciplinary research and information, Contemporary Security Challenges examines key security issues affecting global security. Through a series of in-depth, research-led seminars, students will have opportunities to explore the core security issues through a number of case studies and simulations. The topics to be covered are likely to include war and conflict, nuclear weapons, terrorism, cyber threats, the UN, drone violence, disease and security, the environment and climate change, and intelligence and the surveillance state.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Student learning will be achieved through a combination of interactive lectures, group-based tutorial discussions and debates, case studies, simulations and independent study. Learning activities and assignments are designed to encourage critical thinking, intellectual autonomy and evidence-based argument.

Independent Study176
Total study time200

Resources & Reading list

Emanuel Adler and Michael Barnett, eds (1998). Security Communities. 

Edward .Kolodiej (2005). Security and International Relations. 

Lawrence Freedman, ed., (1994). War. 

Ken Booth, ed (1998). Statecraft and Security. The Cold War and Beyond. 

Michael Doyle. Ways of war and peace. 

Stuart Croft and Terry Terriff, eds (2000). Critical Reflections on Security and Change. 

Alan Collins, eds., (2012). Contemporary Security Studies. 

John Baylis, James Wirtz, Colin S. Gray (2012). Strategy in the Contemporary World. 

Barry Buzan and Lene Harrison (2009). The Evolution of International Security Studies. 

Sean Lynn-Jones and Steven Miller (eds.) (1995). Global Dangers: Changing Dimensions of International Security. 

P.D. Williams, ed (2012). Security Studies: An Introduction. 

Barry Buzan (1991). People, States and Fear. 

Michael Klare and Y Chandrani (1998). World Security: Challenges for a New Century. 

J Grieco, J Ikenberry, M Mastanduno, eds (2015). Introduction to International Relations. 

Barry Buzan and Ole Weaver. Regions and Powers. 

J. Ann Tickner (1992). Gender and International Relations. 

Michael Doyle. Ways of War and Peace. 

Stephen Van Evera. Causes of War: Power and the Roots of Conflict. 

Peter Hough (2008). Understanding Global Security. 

Michael Clarke (ed.), (1995). New Perspectives on Security. 

R.M. Price (2004). The UN and Global Security. 

Barry Buzan, Ole Waever, and Jaap de Wilde (1998). Security. A New Framework for Analysis. 

Richard K Betts (2012). Conflict After the Cold War. 


Assessment Strategy

Students will be assessed through an essay and case study.


MethodPercentage contribution
Case study 50%
Essay  (2000 words) 50%


MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework assignment(s) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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