The Department’s BA curriculum is designed not only to provide you with extensive academic knowledge and understanding, but also to cultivate other skills designed expressly to enhance employability and aid professional career development.
These skills include the following key areas:
Throughout your degree, you learn how to study a wide range of (often contradictory) evidence, analyse complex and controversial issues, arrive at your own individual judgements, and present and defend those conclusions in effective arguments. Clear and logical thinking and problem solving are fundamental skills which you develop throughout the degree, and these are perhaps the most important skills of all for your future graduate employment.
Organisational and Research Skills
The inherently interdisciplinary nature of the BA degree requires you to master a wide range of theoretical approaches to war, including history, politics, international relations, sociology and philosophy. You learn to think creatively and to study and solve problems from a variety of different disciplinary perspectives. All of this helps to foster the kind of agile and adaptable thinking which modern employment increasingly requires.
Project Management Skills
You are taught to work on your own initiative and show self-reliance. As well as following the curriculum and the set readings for each module (including effective use of library and online sources), you are required increasingly to define your own projects and to learn how to conduct independent research. You must take at least one 2nd year module which requires you to define and conduct such a research project, and the 3rd year dissertation builds on this experience as you produce a 10,000 word essay on an original research topic of your choice, usually involving archival study or the arrangement and conduct of in-depth interviews.
You learn how to manage increasingly extensive projects from start to finish. This involves managing your time effectively, and learning how to prioritise and plan your timetable and actions with specific objectives in mind. The culmination of this growing project management challenge is again the dissertation, which requires you to define your project in the 2nd year, obtain ethical approval for associated interviews, conduct the bulk of the research during the summer vacation, and write up the thesis in your final year. You are supported in this challenging endeavour by generic classroom and online research training and by multiple one-to-one tutorials with your individual academic supervisor.
You learn to exercise all the generic skills expected of graduate employees. This includes personal responsibility, probity and reliability, being in the right place at the right time, working to deadlines, using computers and the internet, and submitting written work which is clearly and grammatically expressed, of the required length, and properly presented and proof read. You also learn to take on board feedback on your performance and to make incremental and continuous improvements by learning from experience. You are encouraged to gain practical experience of employment during your degree (especially during the summer vacations), and the Department’s location in the heart of London and close contacts with government, policy institutes and the media offer unrivalled opportunities for securing internships and other posts.
You learn how to organise and present your arguments effectively both in writing and in oral communication. Submitting written coursework and sitting timed unseen exams throughout the degree teaches you to express yourself in a concise and professional manner. Participation in seminar discussions builds your skill and confidence in oral arguments, and you are also required increasingly to contribute to formal presentations and debates, making appropriate use of audio-visual aids. This culminates in the 3rd year when you must make an individual oral presentation to your colleagues on your dissertation topic, followed by a question session and by detailed feedback from your supervisor on how to make even better presentations in future.
You learn to work with your colleagues effectively and in a professional manner. This includes sharing out tasks for greater efficiency, agreeing fair divisions of labour, coordinating joint efforts without a clearly designated leader, and learning how to handle differences in ability or commitment within the group. Especially in the 2nd and 3rd years, we place considerable emphasis on such team-working skills, including using peer review within the teams and having students assessed collectively rather than individually for some team presentations and group projects. This directly addresses one of the key skills sets which employers often request.
After leaving us, students follow a wide variety of career pathways in the private, public and charity sectors, including postions within government, defence, risk analysis, security, intelligence, development, journalism, humanitarian aid, media, policy academia and more.
Below is a list of jobs held by recent graduates:
For more details on War Studies career pathways and graduate statistics please visit the Careers and Employability pages.