• Offered by Strategic and Defence Studies Centre
  • ANU College ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
  • Course subject War Studies
  • Areas of interest Political Sciences
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Course convener
    • Dr Jean Bou
  • Mode of delivery Online or In Person
  • Offered in First Semester 2019
    See Future Offerings

Despite the terror and destruction that it brings, warfare has been an inescapable part of human history. This course will examine the changing character of of warfare since the late 1700s through to the early 21st century. In doing so it will focus on the development of armed forces (land, naval and later air), introduce key theories regarding their use, examine the the way that wars in the period were fought, and consider the strains that war places on the societies that fight them. This foundational 'survey course' will examine these elements by using an historical approach and make use of following key themes: the nature and character of war; the interplay of politics, strategy, operations and tactics; resourcing war; the relationship between technology and war; and military adaptation.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

1. Describe the history of warfare since in the modern era.

2. Identify the key developments and transitions in the conduct of war since the French Revolution.

3. Critique historical developments in the evolution of modern warfare through the use of a range of historical resources and interpretations.

4. Analyse the causes and consequences of the historical development of warfare.

5. Demonstrate a comprehension of the complexity of the history of modern warfare.

6. Employ written and oral communication skills to clearly and confidently articulate your ideas about war studies

Indicative Assessment

1. Tutorial participation and reading journal (10 per cent - 5 percent participation, 5 percent reading journal) [learning outcomes 1-3]

2. Tutorial presentation and critical synthesis of alloted reading (20 per cent) [learning outcomes 3-5]

3. A 2500 word research essay (40 per cent) [learning outcomes 1-5]

4. An invigilated exam (30 per cent) [learning outcomes 2, 4-5]

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


A weekly 2-hour lecture a weekly 1-hour tutorial. Students will be expected to to spend an average of 10 hours per week on the course, with three being made up of the contact hours and the remainder preparing for lectures and tutorials, and completing assessment.

Preliminary Reading

C. Archer et. al., World History of Warfare, University of Nebraska Press, 2002
R. Chickering & S. Forster, Great War, Total War, Cambridge University Press, 2000
M. Howard, War in European History, Oxford University Press, 1976
J. Lindley-French & Y. Boyer, The Oxford Handbook of War, Oxford University Press, 2012
SCM Paine, The Wars for Asia, 1911-1949, Cambridge University Press, 2012
G. Sheffield, War Studies Reader: from the Seventeenth Century to the Present Day and Beyond, Continuum, 2010
D. Stevenson, 1914-1918: The History of the First World War, Allen Lane, 2004
H. Strachan, European Armies and the Conduct of War, Routledge, 1983
H. Strachan & S. Scheipers, The Changing Character of War, Oxford University Press, 2011
C. Townsend, The Oxford History of Modern War, Oxford University Press, 2005
G. Weinberg, A World at Arms: a Global History of World War II, Cambridge University Press, 1994




Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2019 $3660
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2019 $5160
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

First Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
4691 25 Feb 2019 04 Mar 2019 31 Mar 2019 31 May 2019 In Person View

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