Undergraduate BA (Hons)

Contemporary Military and International History

School of Arts and Media




Three year

Next enrolment

September 2019

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In a nutshell

This is an exciting and unique degree that examines war and statecraft from the 19th century to the present, including intelligence, terrorism and counter-insurgency. The degree offers a choice of modules on naval, air and land warfare.

The research, communication and writing skills which you will acquire during the degree will assist you in a number of possible future avenues, such as in the police, armed forces, the private security sector, teaching, further study (including research), and many others.

The course helps you to expand your knowledge and understanding of many of the major trends relating to war and diplomacy over the last 200 years. There are a range of supplementary activities such as visiting speakers from Britain and abroad providing specialist guest lectures and a military history field trip during the first year to enhance your studies.

You also have the opportunity to spend some or all of your second year studying abroad, with additional placement opportunities in the third year to boost your CV. 

What's more, in addition to 100% overall satisfaction, all students said*:

  • Staff are good at explaining things
  • Staff made the subject interesting
  • The course is intellectually stimulating
  • The course challenged them to achieve their best work

*University of Salford analysis of unpublished NSS 2019 data

You will:
  • Learn more about many of the major trends relating to war and diplomacy over the last 200 years
  • Learn about military history while on a first year field trip
  • Learn new skills with a potential second year studied abroad

options available


students accepted

This is for you if...


You are highly motivated with a keen interest in military and international history


You have strong writing and analytical skills


You have an interest in studying about in learning about naval, air or land warfare

Course details

All about the course

The course helps you to expand your knowledge and understanding of many of the major trends relating to war and diplomacy over the last 200 years. Visiting speakers from Britain and abroad provide specialist guest lectures. A military history field trip during the first year is part of a range of possibilities which supplement the lectures and seminars.

Modules at year one provide you with an introduction to the study of military and international history at university level. They enable you to analyse the work of historians and political scientists in a variety of genres and to use a range of sources in order to do so appropriate to undergraduate study. You will also be introduced to the necessary study skills which you will build upon during your undergraduate course.

Year two provides you with knowledge of central themes in military and international history. The modules focus on a variety of subject areas which will expand your knowledge of key areas; it will also assist you in understanding how contemporary theoretical and historical debates affect the ways in which historians and political scientists engage with their subjects. In particular, you will receive training for the dissertation which you must write in semester 1 of year three. You will use the study skills acquired at year one, and will develop these through your classes, your individual research and your assessments.

Modules in year three provide you with knowledge of specific case studies of more specialised areas. The modules encourage you to develop independence of mind in critically assessing primary and secondary sources, and expect a high level of analytic skills in discussing texts and contexts. You will further develop your study and presentational skills, researching topics independently and presenting work professionally. A key aspect of study at this level is the dissertation. This double-weighted module gives you the opportunity to study with the assistance of a supervisor, one subject of your choice in considerable depth.

Year one

Introduction to Contemporary Military History

This module will give you an overview of military history in a contemporary context, from the French Revolution through the World Wars and to the end of the Cold War. You will view these in their wider social and political contexts, but mainly concentrating on the military evolution over time.

International History (1) 1890-1945

You will examine the history of international relations from the 1890s to the end of the Second World War. Particular emphasis will be given to the European balance of power system in place at the turn of the century and the collapse of that system during the First World War; the failure to tame the international system after the war; the subsequent challenges to world order stemming from the rise of Imperial Japan, Fascist Italy, Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union; and, the Western Powers’ reactions to the growing international crisis.

Issues in Contemporary History

This module introduces you to key issues such as how the study and understanding of history has evolved over the decades, different ‘schools’ of history, and how and why historians can produce radically different interpretations of the same events, and the nature of historical evidence.

Introduction to Intelligence and Security

You will be introduced to the academic disciplines of security studies, intelligence studies and terrorism studies. Students will study the historical evolution of the idea and practice of security, intelligence and terrorism in the 20th and 21st centuries.

International History (2) 1945-Present

This module examines the history of international relations from the end of the Second World War to the present day. In conjunction with International History I, this module emphasises the changing character of international politics over the course of the ‘Long Twentieth Century’. Particular emphasis will be given to the origins of the Cold War in Europe and Asia, decolonisation in Asia and Africa, the evolution of European unity, the rise and fall of superpower détente, the resurgent political and economic power of China and Japan, the causes and consequences of the collapse of the Soviet Empire, and concludes with the nature of international relations in the post-Cold War world and the conduct of the Global War on Terrorism.

Year two

Theories of War

Throughout the history of conflict, soldiers have developed theories in an attempt to understand the nature of wars and how to fight them. Today, many of these theories inform the decisions of military and political leaders. This module examines the ideas of several of the most influential theorists of war, including Sun Zi, Carl von Clausewitz, Antoine Henri Jomini, Alfred Thayer Mahan, and Sir Basil Liddell Hart. It also encourages students to use these theories as tools to enhance their study of historical and contemporary conflicts.

Researching in History

The primary purpose of this module is to prepare you to write a successful 12,000 word undergraduate history dissertation in Year three. It will also give you a wider insight into the historical research methods appropriate to military and/or international history.

International History 1789-1914

This module will provide you with a detailed analysis of most of the major themes and issues in British and continental European history between the start of the French Revolution in 1789 and the outbreak of the First World War in 1914. The main focus will be on the political and diplomatic development and consequences of the European alliance system, the emergence of Germany and Italy as new states, industrialisation as well as the major revolutions of the period.

You will choose four optional modules from:

Armoured Warfare

In this module you will examine the technical characteristics of tanks and other armoured fighting vehicles (AFVs), their development and the uses to which they have been put in ‘big wars’. In particular, an examination will be undertaken of the significance of armoured forces during both world wars, in the Vietnam War, in the Cold War, the Iran-Iraq War, and the Gulf Wars of 1990-91 and 2003. At the same time, it is equally important that the military ideas which have driven the development of armoured warfare be understood

Intelligence, Security and Politics in Britain

This module examines the British intelligence community from the birth of the Security Service (MI5) and the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS or MI6) in 1909 through to the 1994 Intelligence Services Act, exploring its activities primarily within the context of British domestic policy, while considering the links between the worlds of intelligence and politics. The module considers the reaction of the intelligence community to the Russian revolution, and its subsequent battle against the Soviet Union and Communism from the inter-war years through to the end of the Cold War.

US Foreign Policy since 1945

This module will begin by exploring thematic issues such as how foreign policy is made in the United States, the American ‘style’ of diplomacy, and the influence of ideology. It will then provide students with the chance to examine historical topics such as the rise of the national security state after 1945, crises such as those over Berlin and Cuba, the involvement of the CIA in US foreign policy including covert involvement abroad, US military intervention in Korea and Vietnam, ‘Nixinger’ and the rise and fall of détente, the ‘Second Cold War’, post-Cold War challenges to American global interests, and the ‘war on terror’.

Air Power and Modern Warfare

This module will cover the evolution of air power since its conception in the early twentieth century. The course will commence by examining the implications which air power has born for warfare and military practice, and will then trace its development during the First World War and the interwar years, focusing on issues such as strategic bombing, tactical air support and naval air warfare.

Britain and the Cold War

Using newly declassified archival material, oral testimony and popular film, the module charts Britain’s Cold War, both at home and abroad, from its origins in the 1940s through to the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. This story is told through the eyes of those working in Britain’s ‘secret state’ – intelligence officials and Whitehall Mandarins – through to ‘fellow-travellers’ and the fantasy world of James Bond. Subjects covered include Britain’s covert struggle against the Soviet Union, nuclear deterrence, popular media and the Cold War, and the recently released plans for World War III and the post-apocalyptic survival of the United Kingdom.

Russian Foreign Policy since 1991

This module aims to examine the foreign policies of successive Russian governments since 1991; to assess Russian bilateral and multilateral relations in an international environment; to explore long-term developments in post-Cold War Order debates; and to assess current issues and processes in Russian-Western relations.

Year three


A 12,000 word dissertation on a research topic of your own choosing under the guidance of a dedicated supervisor.

You will choose four optional modules from:

Arab-Israeli Conflict

This module offers an introduction into the Arab Israeli conflict since the beginning of the 20th century by examining the main events and actors that have helped shape its course. You will also undertake a computer-based simulation where you can decide on issues of war and peace from the perspectives of the Israeli Prime Minister and Palestinian President.

Britain and the European Resistance

This module explores Britain’s role in encouraging and supporting resistance movements in Europe during the Second World War through the Special Operations Executive (SOE), the organisation established in July 1940 and instructed by Churchill to ‘set Europe ablaze’. The module makes extensive use of surviving SOE documents, now available at the National Archives, and considers their value within the context of official release policy and censorship under Section 3 (4) of the Public Records Act. 

The History and Politics of Socialism

This module examines the rise and fall of the main socialist traditions from their origins in nineteenth-century Britain and France to their global spread in the twentieth century. It seeks to explain their most important national examples and ideological variations by examining key aspects of the course of socialism in Germany, Britain, Sweden, Russia, and China.

British Counter-Insurgency Since 1945

This module allows you to examine Britain’s varied involvement in counter-insurgency operations since 1945. After an initial engagement with the theories and principles of insurgency and counter-insurgency, the module will cover the cases of Kenya, Malaya, Northern Ireland, Britain’s continuing involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, and some lesser known cases.

The First World War

This module explores the First World War as a Total War. It alternates between a chronological examination of military operations and thematic coverage of issues such as economics, mobilisation, diplomacy, and revolutions.

Military Archive Placement Scheme

In the third year of your degree you will have the opportunity of spending the whole of your final semester working in a military archive. This is an excellent way of gaining work experience which can greatly enhance your employment prospects. It is also a great way to culminate your studies by getting your hands dirty in an archive – the “coalface” for any historian. Rather than doing normal modules at Salford, you would get involved in the day-to-day work of the archive, as well as carrying out a special archival project that will result in a written report that will be assessed like a normal essay. 

Spanish Civil War

This module offers a comprehensive, detailed analysis of the Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939. This war has often been described as the ‘dress rehearsal’ for the Second World War and, indeed, contained many of the elements of that conflict, ideological confrontation, early examples of modern military strategic tactics on the part of the fascist dictators and large scale international intervention.

Please note that it may not be possible to deliver the full list of options every year as this will depend on factors such as how many students choose a particular option. Exact modules may also vary in order to keep content current. When accepting your offer of a place to study on this programme, you should be aware that not all optional modules will be running each year. Your tutor will be able to advise you as to the available options on or before the start of the programme. Whilst the University tries to ensure that you are able to undertake your preferred options, it cannot guarantee this.

What will I being doing?






You will learn through a combination of:

  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Independent study
  • Tutorials

There is ample support and encouragement available for you to develop all the intellectual skills required for you to do well. We strive to make your studies enjoyable and enriching as possible. For example, Contemporary Military and International History students recently staged a re-creation of the Great War in a nine-week simulation with other universities.


You will be assessed though a variety of methods, including:

  • Coursework
  • Exams


School of Arts and Media

The School of Arts and Media is the largest School at the University of Salford with more than 4,000 creative students. Across sites at MediaCityUK and the University's Peel Park campus, we offer a huge variety of courses, from Fashion Image Making and Styling, Television and Radio, Creative Writing and Music to Journalism, Animation, Design and Performance.

This broad range of disciplines offers enhanced opportunities for specialist and interdisciplinary study, including collaborative work across subject areas.

Employment and stats

What about after uni?


The research, communication and writing skills which you will acquire during the degree will assist you in a number of possible future avenues, such as in the police, armed forces, the private security sector, teaching, further study (including research), and many others.


A taste of what you could become

A Historian

A Teacher

A Researcher

A Writer

And more...

Career Links

The course offers the chance to be taught and supervised by staff who have links to many academic and professional organisations, such as the Royal Navy, the British Army and the Royal Air Force.


What you need to know


We are looking for highly motivated students with a keen interest in military and international history and good writing and analytical skills. Students who provide evidence of extensive reading and knowledge in the subject area are of particular interest to us.

Students without formal qualifications may be asked to attend an interview and complete an assignment.


International applicants will be required to show a proficiency in English. An IELTS score of 7.0, no element below 6.0, is proof of this.

Standard entry requirements


English Language and Maths at grade C/level 4 or above (or equivalent).

You must fulfil our GCSE entry requirements as well as one of the requirements listed below.

UCAS tariff points

96 - 112 points

A level

96 - 112 points. General studies accepted, history and/or politics desirable

BTEC National Diploma


Access to HE

QAA Approved - Pass

Scottish Highers

96 - 112 points

Irish Leaving Certificate

96 - 112 points

International Baccalaureate

29 points

European Baccalaureate

Pass Diploma with 60% overall 

Alternative entry requirements

Salford Alternative Entry Scheme (SAES)

We welcome applications from students who may not meet the stated entry criteria but who can demonstrate their ability to pursue the course successfully. Once we have received your application we will assess it and recommend it for SAES if you are an eligible candidate.

There are two different routes through the Salford Alternative Entry Scheme and applicants will be directed to the one appropriate for their course. Assessment will either be through a review of prior learning or through a formal test.

How Much?

Type of study Year Fees
Full-time home/EU 2019/20 £9,250per year
Full-time international 2019/20 £12,300per year
Part-time 2019/20 Your annual fee will be calculated pro rata to the full-time fee according to the number of credits you are studying.
Additional costs

You should also consider further costs which may include books, stationery, printing, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits.

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Enrolment dates

September 2019

September 2020

UCAS information

Course ID VV13

Institution S03