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Masters Degrees (Terrorism And Insurgency)

We have 8 Masters Degrees (Terrorism And 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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This programme provides dynamic and interdisciplinary analysis into fields of conflict studies and theories and concepts on violence, terrorism studies and international security. Read more

This programme provides dynamic and interdisciplinary analysis into fields of conflict studies and theories and concepts on violence, terrorism studies and international security. The MA in VTS helps students develop a critical and analytical approach to problems in history and the contemporary world in these three core areas. It challenges accepted wisdom and opens up the debate about the role of violence in relation to political power in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Successfully completing the MA can enhance students' opportunities for career advancement by developing their knowledge and skills, including the independent research skills required for the dissertation.

Course Details

Six taught modules, plus a dissertation of no more than 15,000 words.

Students will take:

3 core modules/classes in the autumn term:

  • Violence, Terrorism and Security
  • Approaches to Research Design
  • Contemporary Security

2 core modules/classes in the spring term

  • Conflict Intervention
  • Global Terrorism 

Plus one elective module/class from the following:

  • Ethnic Conflict
  • International Political Economy
  • Philosophy of Conflict and War

Over the summer term students complete a 15,000 word MA dissertation

Some recent MA VTS dissertation topics have included:

  • Bioterrorism and arms control
  • Child soldiers and international law
  • Counter-insurgency and targeted assassinations
  • Covert Intelligence and Collusion
  • Cultures of Youth Violence
  • Cyber-terrorism
  • Gender and Counter-terrorism

Assessment and Feedback

Assessment and Feedback are continuous throughout the course of study. 

Students are provided a range of assessment approaches, both formal and informal as well as formative and summative, in order to enhance the student learning experience and improve student attainment. Each module typically consists of two or three main pieces of assessment and can include essays, policy reports, simulations, presentations, among other forms of assessment.

Feedback is provided throughout the VTS programme for continuous student reflection and growth. Teachers provide thorough and systematic feedback on assessed work. Feedback is also available from your personal tutor as well as via various support mechanisms and training courses in the university, such as via the Student Guidance Centre.

Career Prospects

The MA in VTS provides you with the essential transferable skills and in-depth knowledge of theories and issues in the areas of violence, security and terrorism for career development at any stage, from students straight from an undergraduate degree with limited to no prior professional experience to those seeking continued professional development. The programme enables you to broaden your horizons providing you with a competitive edge in a global graduate market in a wide variety of areas such as the security sector, including intelligence agencies, government agencies and public office, the military, NGOs, academia, businesses and corporations, and the media among many other possibilities.

We are proud that many of our graduates have gone to serve in the most senior ranks of a number of National Police Services, and Law Enforcement Agencies, Border and Immigration Control, National Armed Forces including the US Army, US Air Force, US Secret Service, British Army and Irish Defence Forces. Our graduates also work as senior government policy advisers in a variety of different countries, including the State Department in the USA, in international NGOs in diverse parts of the globe including major conflict zones, other graduates have gone into international security consultancy, and many have worked in the media, and others have gone on to successful careers working for international business in a variety of capacities. The MA also provides the research skills and knowledge to carry out a PhD to pursue, as a number of our graduates have done, an academic career. 

Why Queen's

  • Queen’s University, located in Belfast, Northern Ireland offers a unique opportunity for our students to access and engage with a community context previously challenged by violence, terrorism and security as part of the programme of study. Our students have the opportunity to live and study in a post-conflict environment as well as meet people involved in Northern Irish conflict and the peace process, from researchers and policy makers to ex-combatants
  • World-class research: Students have the opportunity to study under world-class academics in the areas of Violence, Terrorism and Security such as Professor Beverley Milton-Edwards, Professor Richard English, Dr Debbie Lisle, Dr Michael Bourne, Dr Heather Johnson, Dr Julie Norman, Dr Andrew Thomson, among many others. 


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This distinctive programme offers an in-depth analysis of this vital region, delivered by an expert academic team. Read more

This distinctive programme offers an in-depth analysis of this vital region, delivered by an expert academic team. You’ll directly address the complex nature of the politics and international relations of the Middle East to gain an oversight of internal dimensions of the region and their links with regional and extra-regional relations.

Covering a range of approaches from Politics, Comparative Politics and International Relations, it addresses the security, economic, identity and political dynamics of the region. The programme will be of interest to you if you’re wishing to study these issues in more depth and to make comparisons across the region.

You’ll benefit from our specific expertise and research interests in a diverse range of areas relating to the Middle East - with particular focus on security issues, regional relations and the interest of the outside powers in the Middle East, as well as our in-depth research and experience in specific sub-regional areas.

Our academics are widely recognised as leading experts in their field. They boast specialisms in a range of areas: the politics of Islamism; the Persian Gulf; the Israel-Palestine conflict; the international organisations of the Middle East; democratisation in the region and issues of terrorism and insurgency. Teaching on the programme draws upon a network of Middle East specialists based at the University. They come from a range of disciplines and participate in the Middle East Research Group (MERG).

Our rich research culture within the School of Politics and International Studies is specifically focused on the Middle East. It also draws on other regions and cross-cutting themes such as the prevalence of authoritarianism and the problems of democratisation, meaning that there is a combination of focus on the Middle East which is also influenced by wider insights and research focus.

Course content

The compulsory modules will give you the opportunity to:

  • gain an advanced understanding of the issues of security, economy and society across the Middle East
  • undertake a comprehensive analysis of the ever-changing dynamics of this complex region
  • examine the pressing contemporary issues facing the Middle East
  • gain an insight into the internal dimensions of the region and their links with regional and extra-regional relations
  • study in-depth the ongoing peace negotiations in Israel-Palestine.

You’ll 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.

Each semester you will take 60 credits amounting to 120 credits across the whole year. In semester one you will study Contemporary Politics of the Middle East and in semester two you will study The Politics of the Israel-Palestine Conflict, along with your chosen optional modules.

If you’re a part-time student, you’ll take one compulsory module and study some optional modules in your first year. You’ll then take the second compulsory module, the dissertation module and other optional modules in your second year to complete your programme.

Course structure

Compulsory modules

  • Contemporary Politics of the Middle East 30 credits
  • The Politics of the Israel-Palestine Conflict 30 credits
  • POLIS MA Dissertation 60 credits

Optional modules

  • Debating the Middle East: Islam, Politics and Culture 30 credits
  • Conflict, Complex Emergencies and Global Governance 30 credits
  • Contemporary Issues in Nuclear Non-Proliferation and WMD 15 credits
  • Insurgency 15 credits
  • Hezbollah: From Islamic Resistance to Government 15 credits
  • Policing Post-Conflict Cities 15 credits
  • Terrorism 15 credits
  • Counterterrorism 15 credits
  • Theoretical Approaches in International Relations 30 credits
  • Civil War and Intrastate Conflict 30 credits

For more information on typical modules, read International Relations and Politics of the Middle East MA Full Time in the course catalogue

Learning and teaching

Teaching is through a combination of lectures, lively seminar discussions and 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’ll 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 consists of a mixture of essays, exams and group presentations. 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

The programme is both academically cutting-edge and policy relevant at a time when the Middle East is undergoing radical change. It will produce graduates who are able to fill the growing need for experts on the region in a variety of industries from oil and investment to security and services. The Middle East is a growing market for many firms who all want to understand the risks and opportunities of working in the region better.

There is a growing market from employers for graduates with expertise in Middle Eastern politics, including NGOs and international institutions; ministries of foreign affairs, trade and defence; as well as consultancy and risk-management/analysis firms engaged in the region.

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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War remains a matter of life and death, and although defined by violence, war is a rational tool of policy. The process by which military power is translated into policy effect is strategy. Read more

War remains a matter of life and death, and although defined by violence, war is a rational tool of policy. The process by which military power is translated into policy effect is strategy. This degree covers theory and practice of strategy including land, sea and air power; terrorism and insurgency; nuclear strategy; technology and war; and ethics. The theory of strategy is tested against historical and contemporary case studies, which include Alexander the Great; Napoleon; the First and Second World Wars; Vietnam; and the war in Afghanistan.

This MA will give you the confidence to turn your ideas into action – you’ll learn the techniques involved with managing crises, including making decisions, dealing with consequences and achieving resolution. This programme will give you transferable knowledge and skills for a wide variety of careers, but especially in fields such as: military, security and risk analysis to name a few.

Study information

This MA covers the history and concepts of the strategic studies discipline. You’ll study strategic theory, using historical and contemporary case studies to clarify what theoretical concepts mean in practice. You’ll also learn up-to-date approaches to strategic studies, along with more general skills in writing, research, public speaking and logical analysis.

This programme is made up of core and optional modules, and a 15,000 word dissertation.

Modules include

  • Strategic Studies: Theory and Practice
  • Power and State in International Politics
  • Challenges in International Politics
  • Approaches to Research
  • 15,000-word Dissertation

* All modules are subject to availability.

Future prospects

Studying for an MA in Strategy and International Security at Hull opens up a wide range of careers. Your expert knowledge and skills will be beneficial in any industry requiring strategic acumen and leadership. However, this programme prepares you particularly for careers in the military, government offices, public offices and risk analysis.

Many students also choose to progress with their studies to PhD level. Our staff are highly research active and their specialisms include: strategic studies; international relations theory; international law; international organisations; foreign policy; military history; and ethics of war.



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This interdisciplinary programme addresses the convergence of security and development issues, and its implications for analysing the reconstruction of war-affected societies. Read more

This interdisciplinary programme addresses the convergence of security and development issues, and its implications for analysing the reconstruction of war-affected societies.

The course bridges the themes of conflict, liberal styles of governance and aid policy. You will analyse the ways in which security, development and humanitarian agents adapt to instability. You will also examine the significance of globalisation for the emergence of internal conflict, and for the development of trans-border economics and the political dynamics they may support.

This unique programme gives you the opportunity to study regionally differentiated responses to conflict in, for example Africa and Afghanistan, and to discuss issues relating to humanitarian conditionality, containment and the role of international organisations and NGOs.

Our academics are widely recognised as leading experts in their field. The research-led teaching you will benefit from is directly informed by the cutting-edge research that occurs within the Centre for Global Development, which involves more than 60 academics from across the University, as well as the Leeds University Centre for African Studies (LUCAS), which brings together scholars with an active interest in Africa from across different schools and faculties at the University of Leeds.

In addition, colleagues working in the International Relations and Security research group participate in research clusters on ‘The Responsibility to Protect and Protect’ and ‘Contemporary Democracy and Authoritarianism’ as well as the ‘Middle East Research Group’.

Course content

This programme offers you the most depth and breadth of any course that focuses on the increasing merger of development and security issues. It does so by unparalleled case study expertise on political and social reconstruction from war-affected societies across Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

The compulsory and optional modules studied will give you the opportunity to:

  • take part in cutting-edge academic inquiry with a distinct policy relevance
  • study in an intellectually vigorous environment
  • participate in a dynamic research atmosphere
  • broaden your understanding of complex political emergencies
  • pursue a career in the humanitarian or social reconstruction sector.

The compulsory module examines the economic and political elements of contemporary internal and regionalised conflict. You will look at humanitarian, developmental and security policy responses and investigate the organisational adaptations that are emerging among state and non-state actors in relation to such instability.

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 one compulsory module and choose one optional module in your first year. You will then take the compulsory dissertation module and two optional modules in your second year to complete your programme.

Course structure

Compulsory modules

  • Conflict, Complex Emergencies and Global Governance 30 credits
  • POLIS MA Dissertation 60 credits

Optional modules

  • The Global Politics of Health: Power and Inequity 30 credits
  • Africa in the Contemporary World 30 credits
  • Gender, Globalisation and Development 30 credits
  • Political Economy of Resources and Development 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
  • Insurgency 15 credits
  • International Political Economy 30 credits
  • Policing Post-Conflict Cities 15 credits
  • International Relations and the Environment 30 credits
  • Terrorism 15 credits
  • Counterterrorism 15 credits
  • Civil War and Intrastate Conflict 30 credits
  • Global Justice 30 credits
  • Research Methods 30 credits

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

For more information on typical modules, read Conflict, Development and Security 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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Gain a rigorous understanding of contemporary and emerging security challenges. The conduct of international security is changing, faced with new technologies, tactics and challenges. Read more
Gain a rigorous understanding of contemporary and emerging security challenges.

The conduct of international security is changing, faced with new technologies, tactics and challenges. ‘Security’ itself remains a deeply contested term, with stark disagreements on its use.

You explore the many different understandings of ‘security’, their histories and futures. You look at how they matter to war, insurgency and foreign policy today.

You learn how to produce informed analysis of a range of issues including:
-Imperial and civil wars
-Military intervention
-Violence against civilians
-Terrorism and new technologies of war
-Intelligence and resilience
-Rising powers
-Weapons of mass destruction
-Biosecurity

How will I study?

You’ll learn through taught modules and options. There is also a research module – taught as a series of workshops – that gives you professional skills training and prepares you for dissertation research. You may also do a research placement.

You will be assessed by term papers. You also write a supervised 10,000-word dissertation.

Field trip

This course offers an optional field trip to Brussels, Belgium or Geneva, Switzerland.

Scholarships

Our aim is to ensure that every student who wants to study with us is able to despite financial barriers, so that we continue to attract talented and unique individuals.

Chancellor's International Scholarship (2017)
-25 scholarships of a 50% tuition fee waiver
-Application deadline: 1 May 2017

ESRC 1+3 and +3 Scholarships (2017)
-A number of ESRC-funded standalone PhD and PhD with Masters scholarships across the social sciences
-Application deadline: 30 January 2017

HESPAL Scholarship (Higher Education Scholarships Scheme for the Palestinian Territories) (2017)
-Two full fee waivers in conjuction with maintenance support from the British Council
-Application deadline: 1 January 2017

USA Friends Scholarships (2017)
-A scholarship of an amount equivalent to $10,000 for nationals or residents of the USA on a one year taught Masters degree course
-Application deadline: 3 April 2017

Careers

Our course is ideal for you if you’re hoping to pursue a professional career in international security, or in the analysis of current international security affairs as a policy adviser, journalist or researcher. It’s also a good basis for postgraduate research in international security.

Our graduates have gone on to careers in:
-Government foreign, defence and interior ministries
-International organisations such as NATO
-International media or journalism
-Academia
-Security agencies and companies

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We live in an increasingly turbulent world, wracked by conflict, instability and insecurity. The roots of these problems are highly complex; the challenges involved in delivering greater peace and prosperity cannot be under-estimated. Read more

Why take this course?

We live in an increasingly turbulent world, wracked by conflict, instability and insecurity. The roots of these problems are highly complex; the challenges involved in delivering greater peace and prosperity cannot be under-estimated. This course is designed for those who recognise the importance of acquiring advanced intellectual skills to be able to understand and analyse current trends in global politics. It studies a broad sweep of issues in international relations, including the rise of fundamentalist terrorism, the resurgence of Russia, the spread of globalisation and the emergence of new regional powers on the world stage.

We are the only university in the UK that offers an internship with the BBC Afrique World Service in Senegal. This opportunity is available to students with French language skills on MA International Relations or MA European Politics.

What will I experience?

On this course, you will:

Deepen your knowledge of some of the most urgent political and security issues facing the world today, informed by cutting-edge research.
Make yourself stand out in an increasingly competitive job market by acquiring subject expertise and advanced research skills.
Have the opportunity to develop expertise in issues relating to Europe, ideal for students who intend to pursue careers in European institutions or with political lobbyists and thinktanks.
Benefit from expert advice from our Employability team on placements, internships, and careers. You can also choose to gain academic credit for experience in the workplace with the Work-Based Learning unit, which can be a useful way to combine postgraduate study with practical experience to create an impressive CV.

What opportunities might it lead to?

This course is particularly suited for students who intend to work for:

National, European or international governance institutions
Civil service
Political parties
Non-governmental organisations (NGOs)
Security and risk analyst
Foreign affairs analyst
Political lobbyists
Thinktanks and research bodies

It also provides excellent preparation for PhD study.

Module Details

All students take the following core units:

Contemporary Security in International Relations: Providers and Challenges: The analysis of security is a fascinating field of study that tackles issues of enormous significance. This unit evaluates a number of the most pressing security issues in International Relations, focusing on challenges such as cyber war, the security implications of the ‘Arab Spring’, jihadism, insurgency, information war, humanitarian intervention, piracy and the Ukraine Crisis.

Global Governance: Today’s policy-makers struggle to grapple with challenges of unprecedented scale and complexity. The ramifications of such issues as climate change and the global financial crisis underline the need for collective action across state borders. However, policy responses at the international level are often criticised for being ineffectual and undemocratic.

Research Management: A postgraduate degree signals to an employer that you are equipped with superior analytical and communication skills and are trained in a variety of research methods.

Dissertation in International Relations: This is an extended research project on a topic of your own choice, which you produce under the guidance of a specialist supervisor.

Students also take TWO of the following options:

Protest, Dissent and Solidarity across State Borders

Nation and Identity

Europe and the World

Challenges to EU Politics and Governance

Negotiation and Lobbying in the EU

Europe: Integration and Democratisation

Independent Project

Work-Based Learning

Units (30 credits per unit, 60 credits for the dissertation) are offered individually as credit-bearing short courses, or as part of the Postgraduate Certificate (60 credits), Postgraduate Diploma (120 credits), or MSc International Development Studies (180 credits).

Programme Assessment

The course is delivered through a combination of lectures and seminars in the afternoons and evenings. Part-time students who may be in employment are usually able to structure their course over two years such that tuition is concentrated on no more than two afternoons and evenings per week.

Assessment for most units on the course is in the form of an extended essay or project plus a 15,000-word dissertation at the end.

Student Destinations

Changes such as the enlargement of the EU to the East, the further integration of the EU and the emergence of the EU as an international actor have meant that more than ever there is a demand for people with an advanced knowledge of European affairs and the workings of the EU. This course therefore provides an excellent basis for those seeking careers in such areas where interdisciplinary knowledge is required.

In addition, the course provides advanced training in a range of transferable skills which can be applied in different areas of employment. Students could go on to work in various areas including local government, the UK civil service, foreign government and European and international institutions, NGOs, teaching and further research as well as applying their expertise in the commercial sector.

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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. Read more

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.

Course structure

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
  • Defence Engagement 
  • Policing Post-Conflict Cities.

Course 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.

Career Opportunities

Our students go on to a wide range of successful careers including civil service and other government agencies, UN/INGOs/CSOs, journalism, media, teaching, law, banking and finance, diplomatic services and risk analysis.



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