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Seapower (Module)

Module description


  • Induction and Orientation module
  • If studying War in the Modern World you must also complete History of Contemporary Warfare 1: the early Cold War, 1945–1975 and History of Contemporary Warfare 2: from Cold War on Terror to War on Terror, 1975-2011.
  • If studying International Relations and Contemporary War, you must also complete International Relations and Contemporary War 1: Theories and Concepts and International Relations and Contemporary War 2: Problems and Issues. 

Study units

  • The nature of seapower
  • The tools of seapower
  • Securing the sea
  • Exercising seapower
  • Seapower in the contemporary world


Seapower explores a variety of aspects of the development and employment of naval forces in relation to war in the modern world. The approach encompasses elements of naval strategic thinking, naval history and an overview of contemporary naval operations, to provide a broad understanding of the interaction between seapower and nations' wider strategic interests. The module begins by highlighting the complexities of defining what seapower is and how differing approaches to the employment of naval force have evolved over the past century. The components of seapower are outlined, as is the relationship between technological innovation and the evolution of naval power.

The module further explores the concepts of securing command of the sea and, conversely, denying its use to opponents. Unlike land warfare, the purpose of naval force is not to take and hold ground, but rather to protect maritime communications and influence events ashore. In this role naval power projection and expeditionary warfare are examined. In addition to the wartime activities of naval forces the considerable array of peacetime duties, ranging from diplomatic tools and confidence-building measures, constabulary and humanitarian operations are explored. Historic case studies are employed to outline timeless principles and key moments in the evolution of modern seapower. These are balanced by contemporary examples, like anti-piracy operations or the current maritime build-up in the Asia-Pacific region to illustrate the continued importance of seapower in the contemporary world.

*Please note that module information is indicative and may change from year to year.

Staff information

Not applicable

Teaching pattern

One-term course, 1 x 11 weeks

Module assessment - more information


All War Studies Online modules are 20-credit modules and will be assessed by:


  • 1 x 1500-word short essay
  • 1 x 3000-word long essay
  • In addition you will be assessed on participation within the discussions

Key information

Module code 7SSWM200

Credit level 7

Assessment coursework

Credit value 20 credits

Semester Full-year

Study abroad module No