IR6002 - Critical Security

What will I learn on this module?

In this module I will critically engage with the concept of security. I will especially be introduced to traditional and non-traditional concepts of security. This includes an engagement with traditional notions of security (i.e. state security) and the emergence and increasing political importance of non-traditional security (including, but not limited to, human security, comprehensive security, environmental security, food security, energy security, water security). I will critically evaluate the utility of traditional and non-traditional notions of security. Within the non-traditional security complex, I will examine the different types of security, including their differences and similarities, their usefulness, and through case studies and I will engage with their real-life application and global political relevance.

How will I learn on this module?

I will be responsible for my own learning guided by the lectures, seminars, and the material provided in the module handbook. To make effective use of contact time with my module tutor I will consistently attend lecture and seminars and cover the weekly reading. In order to understand theories and concepts as well as their application to thematic areas, I will engage with the academic literature and participate in the tasks set by the lecturer, including group work, presentations, and debates. This will prepare me for the final essay assessment.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

My academic development will be facilitated through engagement with the academic literature and by talking with my peers and academics about my understanding of the literature. I expect to critically evaluate my pre-conceived notions that I might have in the light of the literature and debates during lectures and seminars. I will read beyond the material provided in the module handbook in order to widen and deepen the scope of my understanding of academic debates.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at:
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team –

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
1. Differentiate contending notions of security and critically appreciate their usefulness in understanding different phenomena in the realm of security
2. Critically evaluate a range of contemporary security challenges

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
3. Present and confidently defend arguments in debates
4. Critically examine my own arguments and research findings through engagement with the academic literature and policy debates

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
5. Understand and critically reflect on my own activities as a member of a globalizing society

How will I be assessed?

All MLOs will be addressed through a summative essay assessment, as well as formative classroom debates and group work.





Module abstract

In the beginning of the twenty-first century the world faces a vast array of global challenges, threats and security issues, ranging from international terrorism, to the so called New Wars, humanitarian intervention, and the effects of climate change and mass migration, many of which cannot be addressed by traditional means and ways of conceptualizing security. In this module you will be introduced to the burgeoning field of Critical Security Studies that propagates new ways of understanding security, away from a state-centric, exclusively military lens, towards a more holistic concept that puts the individual human being as the subject of security centre stage. These theoretical approaches will be illustrated by way of a series of selected case studies, covering but not limited to the above topics, as well as a discussion of the key security actors – such as the US and the UK – and global hotspots of the contemporary world such as, for example, the Middle East.

Course info

UCAS Code L2L2

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years Full Time or 4 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Department Social Sciences

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024 or September 2025

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.


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