• 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 Bianca Baggiarini
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in First Semester 2024
    See Future Offerings

This course is concerned with the conduct of war. It will examine the theories developed to guide the use of organised violence in the pursuit of political objectives, and how the application of those theories has shaped the experience of war for those involved in it. While the course’s staring point is the texts held to constitute the ‘classical’ foundations of military thought, such as Sun Tzu’s The Art of War, Clausewitz’s On War, and Jomini’s The Art of War, its emphasis will be on reciprocal relationship between the development of military technology and the evolution of military theory from the mid-19th to the early-21st centuries. Students will thus explore ideas about the conduct of war on the sea, on the ground, and in the air, as well as the rapidly emerging operational domains of space and cyberspace, and efforts to produce joint theories of warfare that unite activity in all these spheres. The course will challenge the Eurocentrism of much of the writing about the evolution of military thought by embracing non-Western theories of war and critically examining the notion of culturally-defined approaches to warfighting.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Describe the tenets of the major military theories from the mid-19th to the early 20th Century;
  2. Relate the origins of the major military theories of the mid-19th--early-21st century to their cultural, technological, political, and philosophical contexts;
  3. Evaluate the practical application of he major military theories of the mid-19th--early-21st century through the medium of historical case studies;
  4. Critically examine historical sources and commentaries; and
  5. Express the results of analysis coherently, concisely, and confidently in both written and oral forms.

Indicative Assessment

  1. classroom contribution (10) [LO 2,3,4,5]
  2. weekly quizzes (30) [LO 1]
  3. comparative exercise (2000 words) (20) [LO 1,4,5]
  4. research essay (4000 words) (40) [LO 2,3,4,5]

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.


Eleven weekly two-hour lectures and one-hour tutorials, plus a half-day wargaming activity.

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.

Inherent Requirements

Not applicable

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course students must have completed 24 units of ANU courses towards a degree, including a minimum of 12 units of any 1000-coded ANCH, ASIA, BAPA, HIST, INTR, POLS, STST, WARS, or obtain the permission of the convenor to do so.

Prescribed Texts


Preliminary Reading

B. Heuser, The Evolution of Strategy: Thinking war from antiquity to the present, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2010.
J. Angstrom and J. J. Widen, Contemporary Military Theory: The dynamics of war, Abingdon, Routledge, 2015.
C. von Clausewitz (ed. and trans. M. Howard and P. Paret), On War, Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1976.
S. Cox and P. Gray (ed.), Airpower History: Turning points from Kitty Hawk to Kosovo, London Frank Cass, 2002.
A. Gat, A History of Military Thought: From the Enlightenment to the Cold War, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2001.
D. Jordan, et. al., Understanding Modern Warfare (2nd ed.), Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2008.
P. A. Lorge, The Asian Military Revolution: From gunpowder to the bomb, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2008.
J. A. Lynn, Battle: A history of combat and culture, Boulder, Westview Press, 2003.
J. A. Olsen, Airpower Reborn: The strategic concepts of John Warden and John Boyd, Annapolis, Naval Institute Press, 2015.
P. Porter, Military Orientalism: Eastern war through Western eyes, London, Hurst & Company, 2009.

Assumed Knowledge

The completion of WARS1001 is recommended but not compulsory for students taking this course.


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

Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
If you 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). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are a domestic graduate coursework student with a Domestic Tuition Fee (DTF) place or international student you will be required to pay course tuition fees (see below). Course tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found 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
2024 $4440
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2024 $6000
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
3185 19 Feb 2024 26 Feb 2024 05 Apr 2024 24 May 2024 In Person View

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions