An understanding of war, the good and the bad, is crucial in examining how states and societies have evolved. By exploring the phenomenon of war and conflict from historical, political, philosophical and sociological viewpoints, we can better understand the causes, conduct and consequences of warfare from a variety of perspectives.  

Degree type

Postgraduate coursework


1 year full-time

Commencing terms

Semester 1, Semester 2

Program code


Delivery mode



The Master of War Studies at UNSW Canberra is an interdisciplinary degree designed to broaden and deepen your understanding of the nature of war, and its place in history. You'll be introduced to different conceptual and methodological approaches and will learn how to apply political, social and cultural perspectives to the study of war. This degree is suited to history teachers and postgraduate scholars from a range of disciplines who have an interest in military history or armed conflict.  

Find out more

For more information on this degree, see the UNSW Handbook.

  • Students undertaking the Master of War Studies need to complete eight courses (48 UOC) with at least four courses (24 UOC) from the core courses list.

    The core courses will usually be offered annually or at least every two years. The further options will be offered on an opportunity basis. 

  • Students who obtain at least a Distinction average in the four core courses may take a 12 UOC research thesis, ZHSS8401 Research Thesis A (6 UOC) and ZHSS8402 Research Thesis B (6 UOC). You must enrol in both units to fulfil the requirements. You may enrol in the two units concurrently to do the thesis in a single semester, or consecutively to complete it over two semesters. Enrolment is subject to approval by the Postgraduate Coordinator.

  • Students must select at least four core courses:

    Core courses

    Code Course Semester 1 - 2024 Semester 2 - 2024
    ZHSS8204 Modern Naval History and Strategy Not Offered Distance Mode
    ZHSS8231 The History of Special Operations Not Offered Distance Mode
    ZHSS8220 Fighting the Second World War Distance Mode Not Offered
    ZHSS8221 The Development of the Art of War: A Survey Not Offered Not Offered
    ZHSS8223 The First World War 1914-1919 Not Offered Not Offered
    ZHSS8225 Australian Military History: An Introduction Not Offered Not Offered


    Students must select at least four elective courses:

    Elective courses

    Code Course Semester 1 - 2024 Semester 2- 2024
    ZHSS8102 American Empire Not Offered Not Offered
    ZHSS8106 War and Memory Not Offered Not Offered
    ZHSS8201 Contemporary Warfare Distance Mode Not Offered
    ZHSS8203 Foundations of Modern Strategy Distance Mode Not Offered
    ZHSS8125 Strategic Communication Not Offered Not Offered
    ZHSS8210 Genocide: Perception and Intervention Distance Mode Not Offered
    ZHSS8226 The Vietnam Wars: A Thirty Year Conflict Not Offered Not Offered
    ZHSS8237 The Cold War Not Offered Not Offered
    ZHSS8412 International Peacekeeping Operations Not Offered Not Offered
    ZHSS8417 Air Power in the 21st Century: Strategic Issues Not Offered Not Offered
    ZHSS8435 Contemporary Strategy Not Offered Not Offered
    ZHSS8452 Weapons of Mass Destruction and Global Security Not Offered Not Offered
    ZHSS8456 Australia and Cyber War Not Offered Distance Mode
    ZHSS8459 Special Operations: Theory and Strategic Utility Distance Mode Not Offered
    ZHSS8461 GRIM Threats and Irregular Warfare Not Offered Distance Mode
    ZHSS8467 Military Game Changers in 21st Century Warfare Not Offered Not Offered
    ZHSS8406 Occasional Elective: International & Political Studies Distance Mode Not Offered
  • For information regarding entry requirements, please refer to the UNSW Handbook

Key contacts

Program Coordinator
Dr Debbie Lackerstein

Student enquiries
T: (02) 5114 5000