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Security Studies - MSc

Why study this course?

Security is one of the fastest growing areas of concern in the academic, corporate and public domains, due not only to the threats of war and terrorism but also issues related to crime, safety, global strategy and political upheaval. This distance learning programme is delivered by Informa and will give you a solid grasp of the of problems facing the international community today. In the most recent (2015-16) Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey, 100% of graduates from this course were in work or further study within six months.

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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.

We'll not only equip you to analyse these types of issues but will also help you place them in the context of broader military, strategic and political considerations.

This distance learning course is taught in partnership with Informa via their online learning platorm. It will give you a solid academic grounding in the fields of criminology, terrorism and intelligence, which will provide you with the critical thinking skills needed to make sense of the ever-changing global security agenda. Thsi expertise will enable you engage with institutions and individuals central to this area.


To successfully complete the course you must pass each module. Assessment will incorporate 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 equivalent overseas 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.

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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.

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  • The Cold War was an era quite different from any other period of human history. Its bipolar nature, the central role played by weapons of mass destruction, the intense rivalry between the two superpowers (the United States and the USSR) and the ideological context of that competition meant that the relations between the two poles were anything but peaceful. The end of the Cold War was a dramatic moment. The collapse of the Berlin Wall and the so-called Iron Curtain between the two poles ushered in an era quite different from the past. This module takes as its basis a comparison between the two eras and considers how the strategic environment has evolved and what challenges face the international community in light of the changes.

    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.

    Read full details.

Modules on this course examine key themes and debates shaping the concepts of security and security studies. They address critical areas of contemporary concern within security studies, covering issues ranging from US foreign policy through the role of radicalisation in international politics to the evolving dangers of financial and cyber crime.

The MSc programme is comprised of seven modules and students can apply direct for the MSc level but they also have to the option to enrol at Postgraduate Diploma (PG Dip) and Postgraduate Certificate (PG Cert) level as well. The PG Cert level is three modules of study, the PG Dip comprises the same three modules plus three others and the MSc is all six modules plus a dissertation.

Students enrolling at one of the lower levels also have the option of continuing their studies at the higher level on the same or future intakes. Further fees will apply.

The modules studied are as follows:

  • Security Studies
  • Intelligence Analysis
  • Contemporary Issues in Crime, Safety and Security
  • Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism
  • Strategic Change in the Global Environment
  • International Financial Crime and Security
  • Security Studies Dissertation

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

The distance learning course will benefit anyone wishing to work for a public, private or international organisation.

Typical career destinations include education, marketing, local and public services, journalism or positions within institutions such as the European Union or the United Nations. The course is also particularly valuable if you're interested in policy issues or if you career plans involve dealing with international security affairs and you'd benefit from a solid academic grounding in the field.

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 fees if you apply early in the process.

More information on fees  >

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 scanned copy of your passport 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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