Undergraduate BA (Hons)

Contemporary Military and International History

Salford School of Arts, Media and Creative Technology




Three year

Next enrolment

September 2020


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, this course had 95% overall student satisfaction in the latest National Student Survey (University of Salford analysis of unpublished NSS 2020 data).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 

Find out more by signing up to our upcoming Open Day, or if you have any generic questions please contact course enquiries.

You can also find helpful FAQs, learn more about student life at Salford or explore all our History and Politics courses. Continue reading to understand more about this BA (Hons) Contemporary History and International History course. 


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 Security, Intelligence and Terrorism Studies

This module introduces various conceptualisations of ‘intelligence studies’, ‘terrorism studies’ and ‘security studies’. You then analyse the historical evolution of the idea and practice of security, intelligence and terrorism in the 20th and 21st centuries.  The theoretical discussion is illustrated by case studies and examples form current policy debates around terrorism and intelligence.

Issues in Contemporary History

This module introduces you to key issues such as how the study and understanding of history have 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.

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.

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.

Introduction to Contemporary Military History (1)

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.

Introduction to Contemporary Military History (2)

Year two

The Age of Revolution

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

This module prepares you to become a researcher in history when you write a successful 12,000-word undergraduate history dissertation in Year three. It will give you a wider insight into the historical research methods appropriate to the historical discipline the diverse nature of historical sources and allows you to build vital analytical skills that you will employ on your dissertation

Optional modules may include:

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.

Regimes and Dictatorships from 1918

This module is based on the comparative history of a number of different dictatorships, beginning at the end of World War I - examples include Italy, Spain, Germany, Chile, China, Greece, Uganda and Hungary.

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

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’.

Intelligence, Security and Politics in Britain 1909-94

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.

Chinese Foreign Policy Since 1949

University Wide Language Programme

This module provides the opportunity to learn or develop a language with the University-wide language programme.

Year three


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

Optional modules may include:

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.

Britain and the European Resistance 1939-45

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.

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.

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. 

Military History Publishing Placement

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.

Photography and Conflict in the 20th and 21st Centuries

Since the announcement of its invention in 1839, the medium of photography has influenced human activity in fields as diverse as science and leisure, politics and personal relationships. Nowhere has its impact been more dramatic, however, than in the representation of conflict during the 20th century.

Addressing the photography of conflict, using Britain as its primary case study from the start of World War I to the 21st century, this module takes a critical approach to a range of photographic imagery made and circulated in times of conflict including press, amatuer, protest and even fine art photography. It also examines the importance of news images in shaping public attitudes to conflict.

University Wide Language Programme

This module provides the opportunity to learn or develop a language with the University-wide language programme.

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



All our History and Politics courses are delivered by the Salford School of Arts, Media and Creative Technology

Our School and University have strong and long-lasting relationships with local and national industry. 

Once you graduate with us, you’ll join a thriving alumni community in Greater Manchester and beyond. 



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.

Please note: The entry criteria below are related to entry onto this course in the 2020/2021 academic year. If you’re interested in a future intake year, please check the course entry on UCAS.

Standard entry requirements

English Language requirements  

International applicants will be required to show a proficiency in English. An IELTS score of 6.0, no element below 5.5, is proof of this.  


English Language at grade C/level 4 or above (or equivalent) is required. Maths at grade C/4 or above (or equivalent) is preferred but not essential.

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

96-112 points

Scottish Highers

96 - 112 points

Irish Leaving Certificate

96 - 112 points

International Baccalaureate

29 points

European Baccalaureate

Pass Diploma with 69% 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 2020/21 £9,250per year
Full-time international 2020/21 £12,960per year
Full-time home 2021/22 £9,250per year
Full-time international 2021/22 £14400per year
Additional costs

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

Scholarships for international students

If you are a high-achieving international student, you may be eligible for one of our scholarships.
We have a range of scholarships available for students applying for courses in 2020-2021 and 2021-2022. Our Global Gold Excellence Scholarship is worth £3,500 and our Global Silver Excellence Scholarship is worth £3,000 - both are available for students studying in our 2021/22 intakes.

We also offer the Salford International Excellence Scholarship which offers up to £5,000 discount on tuition fees. As this is a prestigious award we have a limited number of these scholarships available.

See the full range of our International Scholarships.

Apply now

All Set? Let's Apply?

Enrolment dates

September 2020

UCAS information

Course ID VV13

Institution S03

Interested in starting university in September 2021? Book your place on our next Open Day.