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Course content

Course Description

The MSc in International Defence and Security deals with some of the most pressing issues of world politics such as the causes of war and peace, the pressures and opportunities of globalisation, the threats posed by terrorism, and the problems of global poverty and injustice.

The programme draws upon our established expertise in international security, foreign and defence policy analysis, security studies, international law, conflict resolution, and environmental issues.

The course content is dynamic, challenging, and cutting edge, designed to equip you with the skills and insights needed to understand and authoritatively analyse contemporary debates in international relations using a mixture of theoretical and empirical tools to deal with and confront the challenges presented by contemporary world politics.

Course overview

The course consists of three core modules and a wide range of elective modules of which you must pass seven, followed by a dissertation.

English Language Requirements

If you are an international student you will need to provide evidence that you have achieved a satisfactory test result in an English qualification. The minimum standard expected from a number of accepted courses are as follows:

IELTS - 6.5
TOEFL - 92
Pearson PTE Academic - 65
Cambridge English Scale - 180
Cambridge English: Advanced - C
Cambridge English: Proficiency - C

In addition to these minimum scores you are also expected to achieve a balanced score across all elements of the test. We reserve the right to reject any test score if any one element of the test score is too low.

We can only accept tests taken within two years of your registration date (with the exception of Cambridge English tests which have no expiry date).


There are three compulsory modules which must be taken whether studying the PgCert, PgDip or full MSc. There is then a choice of elective modules from a range of 14. For the PgCert, 1 elective module must be selected, and for the PgDip and MSc, 7 elective modules.

- Study Skills and Research Methodology
- Issues in International Security, Conflict and Development
- Defence in the 21st Century

- Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution
- Managing Defence in the Wider Security Context
- International Law and Armed Conflicts
- International Criminal Law and Human Rights
- Intelligence in International Security
- Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism
- Regional Security
- International Interventions for Peace and Statebuilding
- Managing Natural Disasters
- Weapons of Mass Destruction, Control and Verification
- Military Support to Disasters
- Crisis Management
- The Resilience Context
- Strategy for Resilience

Individual Project

A 20,000 word dissertation.


There are a variety of assessment methods including written assignments, individual and group presentations, dissertation and examinations.

Career opportunities

This course is intended to attract students who are either currently employed in posts relating to Security Cooperation (Defence Attachés, Desk Officers within the MoD, representatives from the FCO and DFID) or those individuals who generally have an interest in issues pertaining to defence and security. Students may also wish to pursue careers with private security companies, think tanks, within academia or for foreign governments.

Applicants to this degree come from a range of backgrounds. While we have a number of candidates who have recently completed their undergraduate degrees, we also have a significant number who are civil servants working within defence, serving and retired military personnel and those who working within the financial services. The aim of this course is therefore to provide all students with a high quality, and transferable, postgraduate qualification.

The course therefore assists in taking you on to senior positions in the armed forces, government, international organisations, media and academia.

For further information

On this course, please visit our course webpage http://www.cranfield.ac.uk/courses/masters/international-defence-and-security.html

Visit the International Defence and Security (MSc/PgDip/PgCert) page on the Cranfield University at Shrivenham website for more details!





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