The University of Birmingham will in September 2010 be launching a new part-time Masters degree in Air Power. Entitled Air Power: History, Theory and Practice. The course will be led by Air Commodore (Ret’d) Peter Gray who is Senior Research Fellow in Air Power Studies, a position funded by the Royal Aeronautical Society, and other air power experts. The course looks to be an excellent insight into the study of the application of air power in war and should be of interest to anyone with an interest in the field. Here is the blurb to the course from the university.

The application of air power is now a profession of considerable complexity, demanding technological mastery, a sense of command, structure, speed, time, distance and impact in proportions quite different from those applicable on land or sea.

Air Vice Marshal Professor R A Mason CB CBE MA DSc FRAeS DL

Over the last century, air power has proved to be one of the most complex and fascinating forms of military capability. It is full of contradictions and controversies. Its reach and versatility make it the most desirable of components; its lack of permanency equally offers real flexibility, but also potential drawbacks. Some issues, such as the strategic bombing of Germany continue to promote ‘savage’ debate. And much has been made of the rhetoric, and of the consequences, of warfare in the third dimension. This exciting new MA programme provides a really unique opportunity to study the theory, history and practice of air power within the context of War Studies at the University of Birmingham.

It is open to students from all backgrounds including the armed forces, industry, students from other disciplines and those who seek to expand their knowledge of this exciting subject within a structured academic environment.


All taught degree programmes at the University of Birmingham have a modular structure, in which each module has a credit weighting. A taught MA programme consists of 180 credits. The MA in Air Power delivers these credits through six compulsory taught modules (each of 20 credits) and a supervised 12,000-word dissertation (60 credits). One taught module will be offered in each of the University’s teaching terms. The supervised dissertation will be submitted at the end of the student’s second year.

The modules include looking at research skills necessary for work at Masters level;

  • Air Power theory in the wider context of military thinking
  • Study of the impact of technology, training and tactics on operations
  • Political legal and ethical issues
  • The experience of air warfare
  • 12,000 word Dissertation


This MA programme will be delivered on a flexible part-time basis over two years, allowing you to fit your studies around work, family and other commitments (including those of an operational nature).


Each of the six taught modules will be delivered through three intensive Saturday Schools, held on the Edgbaston campus of the University of Birmingham between 10.00 am and 5.00 pm. The Saturday Schools will involve:

  • Lectures
  • Student presentations
  • Student-led discussion
  • Small group workshops

Prior to the start of each module students will receive a Module Handbook, detailing teaching arrangements and providing a full reading list


Each module has an assessed essay of 4,000 words. The dissertation, on a topic decided upon by the student and supervisor is 12,000 words in length.

Admission Criteria

A good honours degree in History or an equivalent discipline. Other professional qualifications comparable to degree standard would also be considered, e.g an honours degree or higher degree in a subject other than History, or professional qualifications of degree standard such as law, accountancy, management, or published work in a relevant field. Every submission is considered on its own merits.

Learn More

Please contact:

Air Commodore (Ret’d) Peter Gray

Director of Air Power Studies


Any questions either ask here as I can pass on queries or please use the email above.


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