War Studies Courses

By Mariza Halliday - Last update

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What is War Studies?

War Studies provide the knowledge of the issues, themes, debates, and developments related to the analysis of history and war.

War is typically fought by a country or group of countries against an opposing country or group to achieve an objective through the use of force. Wars can also be fought within a country in the form of a civil or revolutionary war.

War generally involves the use of weapons, a military organization, and soldiers. War is a situation in which a nation enforces its rights by using force.

What 3rd level courses are available?

Universities and colleges in Ireland are offering courses in War Studies in the following subject areas:

  • MA International War Studies – Acquire a comprehensive and advanced knowledge of the main areas of the history of the war in the twentieth century.
  • MA Military History and Strategic Studies – An in-depth introduction into the disciplines of military history and strategic studies.

Studying War Studies

Many courses in War Studies may take place over a few days, weeks, or even 1 year to 4 years depending on the course and modules selected. There are also part-time courses and night courses available so you can be sure to fit in your studies no matter what your schedule is like.

Courses will cover theory work through lectures, assignments, tutorials, and taught modules. Assessments will take place continuously with written examinations and practical assignments combined to achieve a qualification. You could also consider work experience or a work shadow in the industry. Relevant work experience is a good way of demonstrating a genuine interest in the field and is regarded favorably by employers. If you are interested in joining the Armed Forces, pre-entry work experience is not generally needed, but some training can be helpful with cadet and/or reserve forces

Work Experience will not only allow you to obtain a deeper knowledge and understanding of the industry, but it will also give you a chance to do some essential networking with other industry professionals and gain valuable contacts for the future.

Career options

After completing a War Studies course you will be able to get started in a career that uses specific knowledge of the history of war and conflict, tactics and strategies, politics, and international policy.

The study of the history of war provides the key analytical and transferrable skills that are much sought after in the fields of the armed forces, local government, the civil service, the media, and a wide range of business and commercial activities.

The armed services are an arm of the government, which currently defines their purpose as follows:

· To defend the country and its interests

· To assist in keeping the peace around the world

· To deliver emergency humanitarian relief

The services have an important diplomatic function in representing Ireland overseas with goodwill visits and also in the training of other countries’ armed forces.

Many opportunities exist for officers upon retirement from the armed forces because of the management and professional training and experience gained during their period of service.

Working hours will depend on whether you are self-employed, employed by a company with set business hours, or if you are contracted to various businesses or companies. If working in the Armed Forces, when on operations, you will be working in a challenging environment where long hours and difficult conditions are to be expected.

Related jobs include:

  • Armed Forces Officer
  • Civil Service Fast Stream Administrator
  • European Union Administrator
  • Human Rights Officer
  • Intelligence Officer
  • International Development Worker
  • University Lecturer
  • Politician
  • Political risk analyst
  • Politician’s assistant
  • Public affairs consultant
  • Government social research officer
  • Policy officer
  • Diplomatic service officer
  • Newspaper journalist
  • Academic Researcher
  • Museum Director

Further study

After completing a course in War Studies you may choose to pursue further study in a specialist field to increase your knowledge base and skill set. Postgraduate study can also be used as a means to change career focus or to gain professional qualifications required to practice in certain career areas such as Law, Government, Law enforcement, Human rights, International relations and European politics, International security, or Political communication.


What is the importance of War Studies?

In the modern age, people rarely think that war is good, but often they can see it as necessary. Examples of a necessary war might be defending your country against foreign invasion, or fighting a revolution against an unjust government.

What are some of the main causes of War?

· Economic Gain – Often wars are caused by one country’s wish to take control of another country’s wealth. In modern times, the resources that are hoped to be gained from war take the form of things like oil, minerals, or materials used in manufacturing.

· Territorial Gain – A country might decide that it needs more land, either for living space, agricultural use, or other purposes.

· Religion – Religious wars can often be tied to other reasons for conflict, such as nationalism or revenge for a perceived historical slight in the past.

· Nationalism – Nationalism in this context essentially means attempting to prove that your country is superior to another by violent subjugation. This often takes the form of an invasion.

· Revenge – Seeking to punish, redress a grievance, or simply strike back for a perceived slight can often be a factor in the waging of war.

· Civil War – These generally take place when there is sharp internal disagreement within a country. The disagreement can be about who rules, how the country should be run, or the people’s rights.

· Revolutionary War – This occurs when a large section of the population of a country revolts against the individual or group that rules the country because they are dissatisfied with their leadership.

· Defensive War – In the modern world, where military aggression is more widely questioned, countries will often argue that they are fighting in a purely defensive capacity against an aggressor or potential aggressor.

Where can I study War Studies?

Explore your options here

Did You Know?

· The first recorded war was between Sumer and Elam in Mesopotamia in 2700 BCE. The Sumerians won, it is recorded, and they: “carried away as spoils the weapons of Elam.” However, archaeology suggests that warfare was taking place much earlier in the Mesopotamia/Egypt area, quite possibly as early as 10,000 BCE.

· In World War II, British soldiers got a ration of three sheets of toilet paper a day. Americans got 22.

· In 1941, more than 3 million cars were manufactured in the US. Only 139 more were made during the entire war.

· During World War 1 Soldiers in the trenches would spend their days doing chores, firing at the enemy, playing cards, and writing letters home. Incredibly, nine out of ten men survived.

· The shortest war on record took place in 1896 when Zanzibar surrendered to Britain after 38 minutes.


Mariza Halliday

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