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Intelligence and Security Studies - MSc

Why study this course?

Intelligence issues in the context of the global security framework are a vital component of the global agenda, with an ever-widening range of threats emerging and mutating across the globe. The programme is ideal for those seeking to enter into or advance their security and intelligence-related career. The part-time distance learning course introduces you to emerging paradigms within intelligence studies, security and security studies at local, national, and global levels. The course draws on the experience and knowledge of academics who have experience within the intelligence world at strategic and operational level. It also provides an analysis of important security and intelligence events and issues of the late twentieth and twenty-first century and connects the practical basis of intelligence to the broader issues facing the international system.

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More than ever before, national governments, international agencies and major corporations recognise the need for personnel with a strong grasp of intelligence and security issues who can also demonstrate exceptional skills of research and analysis. This postgraduate intelligence and security studies is a distance learning programme and is taught in partnership with Informa via their online learning platform.

You’ll gain a solid academic grounding in the fields of security studies, terrorism and intelligence, and develop your critical thinking skills to make sense of the ever-changing global security agenda. You’ll also explore emerging paradigms within intelligence and security studies and analyse justifications for the increasing ‘securitisation’ of social life.

You'll also review some of the emerging security threats and issues pertaining to law enforcement, government agencies and the private sector. These include a critical view of threats from terrorism, organised crime, radicalisation and intelligence failures and an assessment of security strategies such as horizon scanning.


To successfully complete the course you must pass each module. You’ll be assessed through coursework, online examinations, research assignments and essays. You'll be expected to participate in the virtual learning environment with tutors and fellow students.

You will be required to have:

  • a relevant second class honours degree or overseas equivalent qualification. Alternatively a graduate level professional qualification and suitable work experience (such as policing, security or military work) may be accepted.

Where English is a second language you will be required to demonstrate a minimum IELTS score of 6.5 or a TOEFL score of 575.

The modules listed below are for the academic year 2017/18 and represent the course modules at this time. Modules and module details (including, but not limited to, location and time) are subject to change over time.

Year 1 modules include:

  • The module aims to introduce students to emerging paradigms within safety and security at both local and global levels, and to explore some justifications for the increasing ‘securitisation’ of social life.

    Read full details.
  • The lessons of history are applied to most professions, skills and areas of knowledge to enhance efficiency and learn from mistakes. They are essential to the craft of intelligence both in public and private sector. This module gives a long term overview of the history of intelligence and then drills down into specific past case studies, issues and areas whose lessons are vital to modern intelligence concepts and practice.

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  • This module considers what intelligence and analysis means, and its overall role, and its application to security related issues of Criminology and the domain of Public Protection. It deals with dealing with issues pertaining to law enforcement and government agencies and the private sector combating crime and the use of proactive intelligence.

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  • This is a core module on the Masters Degree in Security studies.

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  • This module currently runs:
    • autumn semester - Tuesday afternoon

    Defining security remains a difficult academic task and it is this ambiguous nature of the concept which forms the basis for this core unit. Security Studies is one of the most important sub-disciplines within the overarching field of International Relations (IR) and its close association to the theories of IR ensures a rich and vast array of subject matter. At the same time, however, it remains distinct in terms of its central objectives, theories and approaches despite being able to draw on International Relations for support.

    Security Studies begins by addressing a number of fundamental issues, the most important of which is perhaps defining what we actually mean by the concept. This pursuit is dominated by debates between a variety of discourses: namely, those who seek to retain the discipline's focus purely on military conflict and those who argue that in a globalised world Security Studies needs to be expanded to a consideration of economic, environmental as well as social issues. This Module will seek to address these debates in the context of both national as well as international security issues. At the same time this Module will show that the debates between the traditionalists and the advocates of "new thinking" are having a profound impact on the discipline as both military and non-military issues begin to compete for the attention of academics and policy elites.

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  • The dissertation allows the student to undertake an independent and
 sustained piece of research into a substantive topic of his or her own choosing. The dissertation
must include appropriate extended piece of empirical or theoretical research on a topic in the security studies field.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • spring semester - Monday morning

    Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism. This module is in the overall context of Safety and Security, and is an advanced course in terrorism and counter-terrorism.

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Modules on this course examine key themes and debates shaping the concepts of Intelligence and security studies. They address critical areas of contemporary concern within intelligence and security studies, covering issues stretching from the history of intelligence through to the role of radicalisation, to the evolving dangers of financial and cyber crime.

The MSc level course is comprised of of six modules plus a dissertation on a subject of your choice.

The modules studied are as follows:

  • Security Studies
  • Intelligence Analysis
  • Contemporary Issues in Crime, Safety and Security
  • Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism
  • History of Intelligence: Lessons Learned
  • International Financial Crime and Security
  • Intelligence and Security Studies Dissertation

For full details of the programme syllabus or to download a prospectus, please visit our course partner’s website.

"Teaching staff are very enthusiastic and incredibly helpful. It is clear that they really want students to succeed."

The course is of special benefit to anyone wishing to work for a public, private or international organisation. Typical career destinations include the security sector, the military, local and public services, journalism or positions within institutions such as the European Union or the United Nations. In addition to this, the course is particularly valuable if you're interested in policy issues.

The Intelligence and Security Studies course is also ideal if your career plans involve dealing with international security affairs, as a solid academic grounding in the field is beneficial.

The fees include an application fee which is due when you apply and is then deducted from the fees once you have been accepted.

There is normally a discount on the fees if you apply early in the process.

More information on fees >

Please note, in addition to the tuition fee there may be additional costs for things like equipment, materials, printing, textbooks, trips or professional body fees.

Additionally, there may be other activities that are not formally part of your course and not required to complete your course, but which you may find helpful (for example, optional field trips). The costs of these are additional to your tuition fee and the fees set out above and will be notified when the activity is being arranged.

How to apply

Use the apply online button to begin your application.

Applications for this course are processed via our partner Informa (you should not apply to the University direct as you can only apply via Informa).

When you apply, you will need to submit proof of your prior qualifications, your CV, a copy of your passport page and the application fee. These can all be uploaded via the online application form.

When to apply

You are advised to apply as early as possible as applications will only be considered if there are places available on the course.

Fees and key information

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