United Kingdom, London

Secrets and Spies: Modern Espionage & Intelligence

when 18 July 2016 - 5 August 2016
language English
duration 3 weeks
fee GBP 1590

From James Bond to Jason Bourne, the spy has been a consistent feature of popular culture for decades. But what is the relation between fact and fiction? Who are the spies; what do they do; and how do they do it?
Getting ‘behind the scenes’ of major historic and contemporary events, we will study intelligence in democracies and dictatorships, the impact of technology, the relationship between spies, politicians and the media, and debate what is right or wrong in the spying game.
We will examine the public understanding of spying, how the media reflects reality and the spy agencies of some of the major intelligence powers - the USA, Britain and Russia.
Then we will delve deeper into the relationship between spies and government, asking who is in charge and why things go wrong. We will examine key recent events like the 9/11 attacks, and whether or not they can be considered ‘intelligence failures’. Finally, we will examine how spy agencies conspired to overthrow governments in the 20th century; what technologies they have developed to spy on friends and enemies; and how we discover these secrets.

Course leader


Target group

This module should appeal to a broad range of students from undergraduate and masters level to political scientists, historians, military officers, area studies specialists and anyone else interested in this captivating field.

Course aim

By the end of this module you will:
- Gain insight into the world of espionage and politics in statecraft in peace and war;
- Be aware of the methodologies used in the study of intelligence;
- Understand the operations and methodologies of intelligence agencies in collecting, analysing, disseminating, and acting upon information;
- Be aware of the relationship between the secret world; the open; and popular culture more broadly;
- Critically assess sources, including primary sources, relating to intelligence studies;
- Be aware of the political context in which intelligence agencies and spies operate.

Credits info

Many of our students get credit for the summer modules taken at King’s. You should approach your home university before applying as it is up to them to apply the credit to your degree programme. We would recommend a three week module would be equivalent to 3-4 US credits or 7.5 ECTS.

Fee info

GBP 1590: Tuition fee only