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Masters Degrees (Counter Insurgency)

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Drawing on the School’s research strengths in international security and sub-state conflicts, this programme addresses the phenomena of terrorism and insurgency in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Read more

Drawing on the School’s research strengths in international security and sub-state conflicts, this programme addresses the phenomena of terrorism and insurgency in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

It will introduce you to the history of terrorism, from state sponsored terrorism in the Cold War period and urban terrorists in Western Europe to the emergence of radical Islamism in the form of Al-Qaeda and ISIS. You will explore the dilemmas of preserving democratic liberties whilst developing counter-terrorism strategies and assessing the necessity and effectiveness of anti-terrorism legislation in the UK, the US and beyond.

You will consider the wider political context and causes of radicalisation and terrorist violence, including the analysis of situations in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria and Iraq as well as an in-depth study of the geo-politics of the Middle East.

Academic excellence

Our department is one of the largest and most diverse in the UK and our academics are widely recognised as leading experts in their field. Our research-led teaching is directly informed by the cutting-edge research that occurs around research clusters on ‘The Responsibility to Protect and Prosecute’ and ‘Contemporary Democracy and Authoritarianism’ as well as the Middle East Research Group.

The key strength of our research culture is an approach to academic enquiry which openly embraces normative and empirical approaches in the study of terrorism, insurgency, UK and US foreign policies, security governance in fragile states, post-Cold War conceptions of international society at a global level, as well as within the context of regional politics in Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and East and Southeast Asia.

Course content

This unique programme offers you not only the chance to delve deep into the academic analysis of (counter-) terrorism and (counter-) insurgency, but also provides you with the freedom to develop your expertise on a range of security challenges on a global (climate change, conflict resolution, globalisation and conflict, human rights, poverty, post-conflict reconstruction, religious radicalism) and regional level.

The compulsory modules studied will give you the opportunity to:

  • go beyond political polemics and media platitudes
  • develop a robust and nuanced understanding of terrorism and insurgencies as national, regional and global security threats
  • gain an appreciation of the political, legal and ethical dilemmas, which democracies and authoritarian regimes, in both the developed and developing world, face in dealing with terrorist and insurgent tactics and strategies.

You will also be able to hone your research and writing skills in your compulsory dissertation – an independent piece of research on your chosen topic.

The wide-ranging list of optional modules means that you can explore a diverse range of related subjects of interest to you.

If you are a part-time student, you will take 30 credits worth of compulsory modules and choose 30 credits worth of optional modules in your first year. You will then take the compulsory dissertation module and 60 credits worth of optional modules in your second year to complete your programme.

Course structure

Compulsory modules

  • Insurgency 15 credits
  • Terrorism 15 credits
  • POLIS MA Dissertation 60 credits

Optional modules

  • Conflict, Complex Emergencies and Global Governance 30 credits
  • European Defence and Security Analysis 30 credits
  • The Rise of China 30 credits
  • American Foreign Policy 30 credits
  • Contemporary Politics of the Middle East 30 credits
  • The Politics of the Israel-Palestine Conflict 30 credits
  • Policing Post-Conflict Cities 15 credits
  • Counterterrorism 15 credits
  • Theoretical Approaches in International Relations 30 credits
  • Civil War and Intrastate Conflict 30 credits
  • Global Justice 30 credits

For more information on typical modules, read Security, Terrorism and Insurgency MA Full Time in the course catalogue

For more information on typical modules, read Security, Terrorism and Insurgency MA Part Time in the course catalogue

Learning and teaching

Teaching is through a combination of lectures, lively seminar discussions and guided weekly readings. We expect you to participate fully in taught sessions and to study independently, developing your skills and preparing for lectures and seminars.

You will also be able to benefit from an impressive range of research talks and seminars led by outside speakers or colleagues from within the department and University.

Assessment

Within modules, assessment currently consists exclusively of assessed essays. At the end of your studies, a 12,000 word dissertation will allow you to pursue your own research interest under close supervision by one of our expert colleagues.

Career opportunities

This programme provides you with an ideal preparation for a career in the international political arena.

Our graduates have pursued a range of exciting and high-profile careers within academia, think tanks and other organisations. These include: teaching and research positions at universities in the UK, US, Europe and Africa; the public sector in the UK (such as UK Border Agency), Europe (including the External Action Service) and Africa (such as police forces); globally operating consultancy and publishing firms; transnational civil society organisations; and the United Nations.

Many graduates continue to pursue their research interests as PhD students.

Careers support

We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.

The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more at the Careers website.



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An understanding of war, for good or ill, is of vital importance. This programme offers the opportunity to study the theory and practice of war in a wide range of aspects, from the Middle Ages to the present day, and from causes to consequences. Read more
An understanding of war, for good or ill, is of vital importance. This programme offers the opportunity to study the theory and practice of war in a wide range of aspects, from the Middle Ages to the present day, and from causes to consequences..

Why this programme

◾This MLitt aims to challenge, educate and engage by exposing you to a wide range of different ideas about war. It is specifically designed to broaden and deepen your understanding of the nature of war in theory and practice, and its place in history.
◾The University of Glasgow is home to the Scottish Centre for War Studies. You will be able to participate in regular research seminars on critical themes related to conflict as well as to related conferences.
◾All courses are designed to expose you to detailed research topics, source criticism and current debate, and are led by internationally acknowledged experts.

Programme structure

You will spend the first semester studying on the degree’s core course which covers both the major thinkers on warfare and the practice and conduct of war.

Core topics may include
◾Jomini, aggressive warfare and the Confederate States of America at war
◾The evolution of Military Thought between the two World Wars
◾Europe’s ‘small wars’, 1800–present
◾Vegetius and ‘Vegetian strategy’ in medieval warfare.

In the second semester, you will take three optional courses which delve in greater detail into a particular aspect of military or strategic history.

Optional courses may include
◾Chivalry and warfare in later medieval Europe, 1300–1450
◾The American way of warfare; from the Revolution to the War on Terror
◾Insurgency and counter-insurgency, 1800-present
◾Western intelligence in an age of terror.

You will complete the programme by writing a dissertation based on your own research. This requires you to engage in original research guided by an expert in the field.

Career prospects

The programme provides an excellent platform for you to move onto PhD studies and an academic career.

Positions held by recent graduates include Development Director, Professor, Correspondent, and Freelance Journalist.

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The MSc is designed for practitioners looking to enhance their skills in the context of broader theoretical models, as well as graduates with a career in government, the armed forces, inter-governmental organisations, NGOs or academia in mind. Read more
The MSc is designed for practitioners looking to enhance their skills in the context of broader theoretical models, as well as graduates with a career in government, the armed forces, inter-governmental organisations, NGOs or academia in mind.

The intensive professional workshops are open to practitioners who are not on the MSc programmes as Continuing Professional Development courses, enhancing students' opportunities for networking and learning from other practitioners' perspectives.

Courses are taught by a mixture of academics and practitioners, and cover both critical and problem-solving approaches. Conflict dynamics are analysed drawing on multiple disciplines, including security studies, peace studies, anthropology, law, archaeology, history and political theory. Modules include both traditional term-long modules and short, usually more skills-oriented, continuing professional development courses as well as fieldtrips (e.g. past fieldtrips were organised to Labanon, Napal, Kenya, Sri Lanka and Kosovo).

Student Profiles

“Doing MSc Defence, Development and Diplomacy was an enriching experience for me mainly because of a huge diversity of students participating from all corners of the world having their own unique views on contemporary issues, academically engaged professors with profound knowledge and experience and equally stimulating academic environment of Durham. I was particularly amazed at how professors always motivated us to think critically on contemporary issues and existing knowledge system dealing with them, develop extended understanding of pressing issues that we are facing today, and offer innovative solutions to those problems.” Salina Chaulagain, 2015/16

“Complementing my background in Middle Eastern Studies and Political Science, the MSc DDD has equipped me with tools used by practitioners and taught me to problematise, analyse and empathise with people in a conflict-ridden world.” Clemens Chay, 2014/15

“This programme uniquely addresses the issue of siloed thinking present in the interwoven sectors of defence, development, and diplomacy. The course is grounded on a “critical thinking” versus “problem solving” approach, and unswervingly focuses on the theory-practice connection. Most importantly, though, I cannot say enough about the caliber of my DGSi peer group. I am thankful not only for their friendship, but for the professional insights they will be able to offer in years to come. As a military officer, I am grateful for the ability to pick up the phone and gain a better understanding of the dynamics of a conflict or an operation from one of my former Durham peers.” Eric Davids, 2014/15

Course Structure

With conflicts becoming either increasingly drawn-out, asymmetric wars of attrition or normalise into states of no peace – no war, our understanding of conflict and conflict intervention is shifting. Conflicts are rarely determined by military victory, diplomacy or long-term development, but require to securing populations through a comprehensive approach that sees to their political, and economic, as well as their security-related needs. Their outcome will be determined by how well the different arms of government and civil society, both locally and internationally, can work together and how well they understand each others' perspectives.

This inter-disciplinary and custom designed MSc offers the unique opportunity to look at conflict, conflict intervention and post-conflict reconstruction through the lenses of defence, development and diplomacy.

The MSc is designed for graduates with a career in government, the armed forces, inter-governmental organisations, NGOs or academia in mind, and for practitioners looking to enhance their practical skills while placing these within a broader theoretical perspective.

Five core modules worth 75 credits plus a Dissertation worth 60 credits plus three optional modules to the value of 45 credits.

Core Modules
-Defence, Development and Diplomacy in Conflict: Evolving Actors, Factors and Paradigms
-Conflict Prevention and Sustainable Peace
-Conflict Intervention: International Law, Counter-Insurgency and Conflict Diplomacy
-Post-Conflict Reconstruction: Stabilisation, Development and State-Building
-Capstone Exercise: Humanitarian Intervention Simulation (in MSc-specific roles)
-Dissertation

Optional Modules - Optional module in previous years have included:
-Religion, Culture and Conflict
-Conflict Mediation
-Fieldtrip
-Conflict Sensitive Programme Management
-Re-thinking Counter Terrorism
-Conflict Analysis
-Urban Violence - Urban Peacebuilding
-International Negotiation as Instrument in Conflict Management
-Policing Post-Conflict Cities

Learning and Teaching

At the beginning of the academic year, students go through two-day induction events in which they are informed about the University, the School, the MSc programmes and the facilities available for their learning.

The 180 credits one-year MSc degree programme is divided into five core and three optional modules of 15 credits each. Furthermore, students have to submit a dissertation of 60 credits of not more than15,000 words. Most of the modules are delivered during the first two terms and students spend the remaining time to write the dissertation.

Although all modules have 18/19 contact hours, the core modules are spread over 9/10 weeks and 132 hours of self-directed learning. The modules are mainly delivered through weekly 2-hour sessions which take the form of a one hour lecture and a one hour tutorial. The form in which seminars are conducted can differ from one module to another. Typically modules would have elements of lectures, discussions, and presentations from students—the extent of each of these components would differ from one module to another. The optional modules of the programme are delivered over two full days, through a mixture of lectures, Q&A sessions, seminar discussions, and role plays.

Formative assessment is given on seminar contributions, role plays, and formative essays. Students have the opportunity to meet their lecturers to discuss their marks and other issues arising from their course performance. Students also have the opportunity to attend ‘essay surgeries’ in which they can discuss the structure and content of their essays early in the course.

Students can also meet their module coordinators or programme coordinator during their weekly contact hours or by making an appointment. When students are working on their dissertations during the latter half of the year, they are required to attend two 4-hour workshops. In addition, they have the opportunity to meet their assigned supervisors for an average of 6 meetings. Students also have access to the MSc Programme Director and the School’s Director of Taught Post Graduate Studies whenever there is a need.

SGIA conducts weekly seminars and organises lectures and conferences which all postgraduate students can attend. Students are also fully integrated into the Durham Global Security Institute, which delivers this MSc programme and hosts guest lectures and seminars throughout the year. These events provide students with the opportunity to engage with, and debate, the most important issues in current political and international studies, and in conflict, peace and security studies.

Throughout the programme students can contact the Careers Office of the University to get advice on available job prospects and get assistance on applying for these.

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The traditional military threats which defined global security matters for the best part of the 20th century have been quickly replaced by new and re-emerging security challenges. Read more
The traditional military threats which defined global security matters for the best part of the 20th century have been quickly replaced by new and re-emerging security challenges. This programme offers you the opportunity to examine many of these contemporary threats.

Why this programme

◾You will study research methods within the College of Social Sciences’ Graduate School which is one of the top research training centres in the UK and benefits from ESRC recognition for many of its courses.
◾You will combine your research methods training with a range of security focused optional courses from a broad spectrum of subject areas, including politics, sociology, Central & East European studies, war studies, computing science, geography, law, business and education.
◾The programme includes a series of master classes from high profile professionals and academics working in the field of security.
◾You will have the opportunity to take part in special formative learning workshops and training days - working with government officials and policy-makers to simulate the process of responding to major international security crises.

Programme structure

You will take five core and one optional course, as well as submit a dissertation.

Core courses
◾International security and global politics
◾Qualitative research methods
◾Quantitative data analysis
◾Research design
◾Thematic issues in global security.

Optional courses
◾British military power since 1945
◾Comparative approaches to warfare and violent conflict
◾Critical perspectives on securities and vulnerabilities
◾Development, postcolonialism and environment
◾Ethics in global politics
◾Freedom, security and justice in the European Union
◾Globalisation and European integration
◾Globalisation and the new security agenda in Central and Eastern Europe
◾Human rights and global politics
◾Insurgency and counter-insurgency, 1800-present
◾International relations theory
◾Post-Soviet Russia: renegotiating global and local identities
◾Social change and social justice: activism, social movements and democracy
◾Society, environment and the concept of sustainable development in post Soviet Russia
◾The American way of war: from the revolution to the war on terror
◾The European Union in international politics and development
◾The global criminal economy
◾The Internet and civil society.

Career prospects

The programme provides a dedicated research training pathway if you are to looking to go onto doctoral study or to seek a career within a social research field.

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This MA programme examines key questions of war and peace, life and death, safety and survival. A core module on Concepts and Theories of International Security provides a lens on the most pressing contemporary challenges to international security. Read more
This MA programme examines key questions of war and peace, life and death, safety and survival. A core module on Concepts and Theories of International Security provides a lens on the most pressing contemporary challenges to international security. It encourages you to develop critical and reflective perspectives on the engagement between ‘traditional’ and ‘critical’ approaches to the issues under consideration.

With around 20 members of staff working in this area within PAIS, we can offer you an expansive and distinctive range of optional modules. Topics available for advanced study include: regional security environments; the politics and practices of intelligence and covert action; migration, human security and development; insurgency and (counter) terrorism.

Many of our postgraduates have advanced into roles in international organisations (e.g. UN, World Bank), foreign ministries and intelligence services (e.g. Egypt, Malta and UK), NGOs (e.g. Campaign Against Arms Trade), security and development consulting, think tanks, charities and journalism.

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This fully-online MA in Military History offers potential graduate students from around the world a chance to engage with reputable military historians and leading academics, also from around the world, through 24 hours a day, 7 days a week ongoing lectures and discussion seminars in state-of-the-art learning environments. Read more
This fully-online MA in Military History offers potential graduate students from around the world a chance to engage with reputable military historians and leading academics, also from around the world, through 24 hours a day, 7 days a week ongoing lectures and discussion seminars in state-of-the-art learning environments.

This is military history like never before; universally-accessible, affordable and dynamic. Students will be offered a wide range of fascinating topics to explore, from classic 'war theorists' to military technologies to counter-insurgency tactics. You will then be able to combine your research with skills-based analysis, under the personal supervision of a qualified expert in the field.

Successful completion of this course will enhance your career prospects, whether studied at PGCert, PGDip or MA level . It will be particularly relevant to archivists and curators, researchers, journalists, political and central government professionals, civil servants, military professionals, conflict resolution and NGO workers, charity and campaign workers. Attainment of the MA degree could also lead to doctoral research.

Typical modules include:

The Discipline of Military History
The Rise of Air Power
The Evolution of Modern Sea Power
War Media & Propaganda
The American Civil War
The Second World War
The Art of War to the Age of Napoleon

All of our modules can be easily accessed and feature exciting ‘virtual classrooms’ where lectures and seminar discussions are conducted on a weekly basis, making the most of a variety of multi-media formats. Furthermore, our online platform gives you access to unlimited course materials and University-supported learning resources at no extra cost.

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How has the decline of European empires in the extra-European world shaped the 20th century – and beyond?. The Master’s degree in The Making of the Modern World is an innovative programme which addresses the legacies of decolonisation on contemporary nation and state-building around the world. Read more
How has the decline of European empires in the extra-European world shaped the 20th century – and beyond?

The Master’s degree in The Making of the Modern World is an innovative programme which addresses the legacies of decolonisation on contemporary nation and state-building around the world. Students are introduced to debates about decolonisation and its relationship with modernity, addressing the question of how the end of empire has shaped the modern world.

This MA examines the nature of decolonisation in comparative perspective, looking at the British, French, Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese, German and Belgian empires, rather than limiting the study of empire to a few case studies or to a single colonial power. The MA examines the differences in colonial governance and decolonisation processes, and how this has impacted the development of successor colonial states and the processes of decolonisation, nation-building, and the strengthening of the state which these states experienced.

Upon graduating, students will receive a degree awarded by the University of London.

Students will:

Learn about and analyse the political, developmental, institutional and social legacies of the decolonisation process;
Understand the connectivity between domestic politics and society and international diplomacy and policymaking;
Develop skills in understanding and analysing archival sources and undertaking archival and oral research;
Understand the ways in which the decline of the European empires in the extra-European world has shaped the 20th century.
This advanced degree provides an excellent foundation for students who wish to expand their knowledge of international history, politics and society prior to working for international organisations, the media, or in other professional capacities. It also provides the base for those wishing to do further research in African, Asian or European studies.

In addition to the knowledge gained over the course of the MA, the skills students develop - including the ability to analyse material in detail, process quantitative and qualitative data to reach informed conclusions, critique existing knowledge and conduct independent research - will be relevant to a wide variety of careers and will broaden students' appeal to a range of employers.

Structure

In order to pass the MA, students need to have achieved a total of 90 European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) credits. ECTS credits are recognised across the European Union. The degree comprises four compulsory modules (including the dissertation), and three optional modules.

Required (core) modules (Autumn Term):

Historical Research Skills (with the Institute of Historical Research) [10 ECTS]
European Decolonisation in the 20th Century [10 ECTS]
Ethnicity, Nationalism, Liberation and Identity: the view from the Extra-European world [10 ECTS]
Optional modules* (Spring Term):

Diplomacy and Decolonisation [10 credits]
Geopolitics and Decolonisation [10 credits]
Policing, Intelligence and Counter-Insurgency [10 credits]
Decolonisation, Nation-State Building and Development [10 credits]
*All modules are subject to availability.

Dissertation [30 ECTS]

Students will complete a 15,000-word research-based dissertation on a chosen topic within human rights which is of special interest to them. This topic will be chosen in consultation with your dissertation supervisor, who will provide support.

Assessment

The MA is assessed primarily through essays, although class participation also contributes towards assessment. Additional formative assessments include class presentations.

Mode of study

Study options: full-time over one year, or part time over 24 months.

Students undertaking the MA on a part-time basis will take two required modules in Autumn Term of their first year, and up to two optional modules in the Spring Term. They will take one required module in the Autumn Term of their second year, and one or two optional modules in the Spring Term.

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