Why study this course?

An online degree focusing on practitioner experience, designed to help you establish a career in public, private or international organisations. You’ll explore possible solutions to fundamental global, regional and individual protection and safety issues facing the world today.

Gain a detailed understanding of complex security issues such as the security challenges posed by climate change, the impact of the covid-19 pandemic and the threat of future pandemics, security in a digital age, transnational crime, terrorism, conflict resolution, religion, poverty, gender, migration, human rights and citizenship. 

More about this course

Security studies is no longer solely related to war, weapons of mass destruction and the role of international institutions in maintaining peace and security. Legitimate concerns now include environmental problems, mass migration, terrorism, transnational organised crime, human trafficking, cyberconflict and climate change. These issues dominate the international, regional and state agendas.

This International Security Studies MA is a platform to learn and discuss the many military and non-military problems that face us. It will provide you with a firm foundation to not only understand the structures that enhance or obstruct security, but it will open up career opportunities in a variety of fields.


You’ll be assessed through coursework, reports, essays, presentations, plus a 12,000-word dissertation (if you complete the full master’s degree).

The full master’s degree is 180 credits, 120 credits from core and option modules and 60 credits from the dissertation.

You can gain a postgraduate diploma (PG Dip) by obtaining 120 credits from core and option modules. If you obtain 60 credits from three modules, you’ll gain a postgraduate certificate (PG Cert).

Full-time students take six taught modules, three in each semester. Part-time students take two modules per semester during the first year of study and one per semester, plus the dissertation, in the second year.

Fees and key information

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Entry requirements

You will be required to have:

  • a second class degree (2:2) from a UK university or international equivalent.

All applicants must be able to demonstrate proficiency in the English language and hold a relevant qualification such as an Academic IELTS with a 6.0 overall and a 5.5 minimum in all bands. For more information about English qualifications please see our English language requirements.

Accreditation of Prior Learning

Any university-level qualifications or relevant experience you gain prior to starting university could count towards your course at London Met. Find out more about applying for Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL).

English language requirements

To study a degree at London Met, you must be able to demonstrate proficiency in the English language. If you require a Student visa you may need to provide the results of a Secure English Language Test (SELT) such as Academic IELTS. This course requires you to meet our standard requirements.

If you need (or wish) to improve your English before starting your degree, the University offers a Pre-sessional Academic English course to help you build your confidence and reach the level of English you require.

Modular structure

The modules listed below are for the academic year 2023/24 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:

This module currently runs:
  • spring semester

Human Security is an approach to politics that focuses on the well-being of individuals and communities. Its particular focus is to identify and understand threats to peoples’ security that are not confined to armed conflict, not understood at the level of the state, and not encompassed by the general understanding of national security.
The goal of this module is to introduce a range of issues that have been construed as relevant to security in recent years, and which have changed and expanded the notion of security within the study of international relations. In the post-war period, and particularly since the end of the Cold War, it has become apparent that safety, peace and the pursuit of prosperity can be threatened in many ways other than by armed conflict.
This module will explore the concept of security as it is understood in international relations discipline. What has been the rationale for the development of a distinct concept of ‘human security’? What are the implications of the concept of human security for our understanding of security in the international system? It will then examine the application of the concept to substantive problems and policy areas. These include the poverty and inequality, gendered violence, the impact of environmental degradation, food insecurity, mass population movement, human trafficking and international crime. Finally, it will assess the impact of the concept on the strategies and policies of international organisations and states.

This module currently runs:
  • autumn semester

The module is designed to provide you with an understanding of security in both its international and national settings and to teach you the basic theories and research techniques useful for analysing and testing different conceptual approaches. The Module will provide a basic understanding of various conceptual approaches to security, such as explanations of war, deterrence, arms races and arms control, proliferation, and collective security. It will also assess the relevance of the various security concepts to the contemporary post-Cold War world. New threats such as Global Terrorism, climate change, the role of the United Nations and the implications of the spread of weapons of mass destruction will be analysed with a view to furthering understanding of global security.

By the end of the module you will:

  1. Appreciate what is at stake in security, both as a theoretical concept and as an ontological category.
  2. Gain an understanding of how the concept of security has been rearticulated and challenged in our contemporary context through an engagement with some of the most pressing issues of our day.
  3. Be able to question the ethical dimensions of the Westphalian order based on notions of sovereignty and narrow State interests and determine whether theories highlighting human emancipation need to be strengthened.
  4. Be able to demonstrate a good grasp of public policy, especially the processes and structures of decision-making in the area of international security.
  5. Be able to examine the contemporary themes in international security, such as the legacy of the Cold War, the impact of terrorism, climate change, the proliferation of dangerous weapons, the rise of great powers and the impact of globalisation
This module currently runs:
  • summer studies
No module details available
This module currently runs:
  • spring semester

According to republican ideals, citizenship originally denoted being an active part of a city and its civil society, of a polis and its political community, not simply the possessor of a passport.

This module explores the changing meaning and continuing potential of citizenship, including the modern separation of the politics of the sovereign, bureaucratic state from the market society of its economically active subjects, and the failure of attempts to use states’ representative democracy to democratise society and justify corporate and institutionalised power in terms of citizens’ participation. This failure has much to do with the massive scale of modern political and economic organisation, and the module will explore recent arguments about both the politics of locality and community and the relation of citizenship and rights to duties, virtues, and justice.

The modules aims:

  1. To provide a historical and critical introduction to ideas, theories and arguments about citizenship and social justice.
  2. To explore ethical ideas and to articulate such ideas in the construction of a logical argument.
  3. To relate philosophical propositions to political, social and economic issues and to institutional, legal and policy prescriptions.
This module currently runs:
  • autumn semester

This module will allow students to investigate the complex issue of violence through a multidisciplinary approach. Indicative topics include serious youth violence, murder, football hooliganism and violence in the home. The module will be structured to identify and explain violent behaviour both in the West and the Global South. These will then be tied to the wider criminological field and possible prevention strategies will be considered.

There is a negotiated element to the module, allowing students to focus on topics specific to their own interests.

The module aims to enable students to:

1. Explore the prevalence of and trends in violence in the UK and globally
2. Identify and assess violent crimes
3. Recognize and contextualize various types of violence
4. Use various theories within the field of Criminology and Sociology to explain violent behaviour.

This module currently runs:
  • spring semester

This module examines the theory and institutionalised practice of human rights and the significance of human rights politics for the structure of the changing world order, and of domestic politics for both rights and order. It contextualises, analyzes, evaluates and applies various conceptions of human rights that are operative within international relations, and in relation to academic paradigms used to explain international relations.

Attention is paid to the transformation of state sovereignty by human rights discourse and practice. The relation of human rights to the international order is questioned in the context of the history and philosophy of human rights, liberalism and its critics and opponents, and institutions and systems of international governance and conflict.

Conversely, ideas of realism and constructivism in international relations are questioned by liberal claims for human rights. The globalisation and recent reverses of human rights are critically analysed. Students are encouraged to explore particular cases of international order or conflict and of human rights’ observance or abuse in a way that is sustained and rigorous.

This module contextualises, analyses, evaluates and applies various conceptions of human rights that are operative within international relations, and within the study of international relations.

Three subjects in particular are addressed:

  1. the causes of, and reasons for, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the broader development of human rights as a universalizing, globalising, Westernising and institutionalising force in relations between states;
  2. the variety of particular states, domestic and foreign policies, other political actors, cultures, and motivating ideologies with which human rights has come into conflict;
  3. the transformation of state sovereignty by human rights discourse and practice. These subjects are problematized in the context of the history and philosophy of human rights, liberalism and its critics and opponents, and institutions and systems of international governance and conflict.
This module currently runs:
  • autumn semester

This module examines the theoretical, analytical, normative and practical aspects of international conflict resolution. It considers a range of approaches to the subject, elucidating its relationship with relevant disciplines and concepts. It explores both inter-state and intra-state conflicts and the relationships between them, with analysis of the roles of a range of actors, including states, international institutions, NGOs, and civil society movements.

It seeks to provide students both with a thorough understanding of the complex issues involved in attempts to transform conflicts and a high level of conceptual, analytical and theoretical understanding of the subject area.

This module aims to:

  • Examine a range of approaches to the cessation of contemporary conflicts and the conditions that may be necessary for peace
  • Focus upon both the domestic and international actors involved in these processes
  • Provide students with an understanding of relevant theories and empirical material for comparative analysis
  • Explore the differing ways in which particular conflicts tend to be viewed by participants, external commentators and public policy-makers
This module currently runs:
  • autumn semester

This module will provide students with an opportunity to engage with contemporary debates on the various different roles of religion in international relations. In particular, it will enable students to evaluate differing interpretations of the political importance of religious actors, groups and religious oriented ideologies in international relations.

It will consider how religion, once considered to be in decline in the second half of the Twentieth Century, has re-emerged as an influencing force in international relations since the end of the Cold War in the 1980s. Global events in recent years, not least the Al-Qaeda attacks on the USA on September 11, 2001, and subsequent attacks by other ‘religiously-motivated’ terrorist groups, have resulted in various religious ‘actors’ having a crucial role in shaping world politics. But these are not the only ones.

The challenges - both theoretical and practical – of integrating religion into international relations has attracted a great deal of attention in recent years, with scholars looking to account for the ‘return’ or resurgence’ of religion. With this in mind, this module will explore the doctrines and organisational methods of many major religious ideas, values and actors, focusing on their abilities to influence local, regional and global affairs.

As a result, this course will seek to reach beyond the often quoted ‘Clash of Civilisation’ thesis proposed by Samuel Huntington, which has dominated so much of the discussion since 9/11, and will, instead, explore how many governments make issues linked to religion a focal point of their foreign policies, whilst also demonstrating how non-state actors and religious groups, often transnational in nature, are inspired by religious concerns to engage politically with governments.

Finally, it will consider the view that though some national and international conflicts have roots in religious, cultural and ethnic divisions, it is also the case that religion has played an increasing role in humanitarian/development work, conflict resolution and peacebuilding.

This module currently runs:
  • spring semester

This module explores the relationship between the state and terrorism and considers how the nation state has been the perpetrator and a motivating factor behind terrorist acts, as well as considering other reasons behind such acts of violence. Students will consider the role of the state as a protector of its citizens has been challenged by its own actions and by terrorist organisations including groups such as ISIS. The module goes on to outline contemporary terrorist tactics and reviews the impact on national and international responses to terrorism.

This module currently runs:
  • autumn semester

The module aims to give students a thorough theoretical and operational understanding of transnational organised crime and attempts to combat it. There will be a focus on trafficking, including drugs, people and arms, as well as a look at how organised crime groups are using the internet for criminal purposes. White collar crime is also given a specific focus. Students will also be supported to explore the character of organised crime in the UK and both domestic and international attempts to combat it.

This module currently runs:
  • spring semester

This module is designed to acquaint students with the constitutional, institutional, political and theoretical frameworks within which contemporary foreign policies of the United States are formulated and executed. The module will enable students to critically examine the American foreign policy process by studying the role of the U.S. in several international issue areas. It will analyse the role that global issues play in contemporary American foreign policy, in so doing illustrating the complexities and difficulties faced by U.S. decision makers as they formulate and implement foreign policy.

The aim is to develop a grounding in the fundamentals of U.S. foreign policy making in the context of contemporary International Relations and Security Studies. In so doing, students will:

  • Analyse the policy making institutions and historical precedents underlying U.S. foreign policy, and to grasp the way those precedents affect America’s approach to global events since the end of the Cold War and the attacks of 9/11.
  • Assess the processes and limitations of U.S. foreign policy making, contemporary challenges facing the world and the American role in dealing with them, and expectations of U.S. influence in the world in the 21st Century.
  • Place U.S. foreign policy within the larger theoretical frameworks and approaches of International Relations and Security Studies.
  • Examine the arguments centred on the alleged decline of the U.S. in global affairs this century and the challenges it faces from global shifts in power.

Where this course can take you

On successful completion of this course, you could go into a range of roles within government, internationally-focused non-governmental organisations (NGOs), not-for-profit and private sectors as well as institutions such as the European Union, NATO or the United Nations.

Some example roles include political risk analysts, civil service roles, intelligence analysts, public service roles, a career within law enforcement, the armed forces and a number of private security and military companies. You could also choose to continue into a research role or further education such as a PhD.

Additional costs

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 button to begin your application.

If you require a Student visa and wish to study a postgraduate course on a part-time basis, please read our how to apply information for international students to ensure you have all the details you need about the application process.

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.

To find out when teaching for this degree will begin, as well as welcome week and any induction activities, view our academic term dates.

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