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Course content

Borders have become a key site and central concern of global security practices and theory, from the Mexican-United States border to the Mediterranean ports of the European Union.  The many facets of borders, as containers of identity, sites of power, laboratories of technology and thresholds of violence will be introduced and analysed, showing how they have never been more important.  This programme will help students navigate this complex terrain by providing a firm grounding in critical security studies and critical border studies.  Students will have the change to apply their academic insights within a work-based environment with borders/security processional through the Borders Internship module.

Course Details

The programme has three different components: Core modules, an Elective module, and an MA dissertation.

Core Modules: offer foundational knowledge and understanding in Global Security and Borders, practical experience and active learning within a work-based situation on the Borders Internship module, as well as teaching the key skills regarding how to design a research project. 

These compulsory modules include:

  • Approaches to Research Design
  • Borders Internship (double-weighted – 40 CATS)
  • Contemporary Security
  • Global Security and Borders

Elective Modules: offer the chance to specialise in a particular area of interest, build on foundational knowledge, and develop focused expertise. 

One module is to be chosen from:

  • Carbon Literacy for a Low Carbon Society and Economy
  • Conflict Intervention
  • Ethnic Conflict and Consensus: The Power of Institutions
  • Gender, Politics and Democracy
  • Global Terrorism
  • Institutions and Politics of the EU
  • International Political Economy
  • Philosophy of Conflict and War
  • The Politics of the Republic of Ireland

* This list of elective modules may vary from year to year.

Dissertation: to enable students to develop their particular area of specialism, facilitate independent learning and instil a variety of skills such as project management, detailed analysis and self-motivation, students on the MA pathway must also write a dissertation of no more than 15,000 words.

Assessment and Feedback

A combination of seminar presentations, learning journals, literature reviews, portfolios, written essays, and a 60-credit, 15,000 word dissertation.

Learning and Teaching

Afternoon and Evening.

Average of six hours contact teaching hours per week for the first semester. In the second semester, as well as two hours contact on an Elective module, the Borders Internship module will involve three days of a work-based placement, as well as supervision with a member of academic staff.

Students should expect to spend 10-12 hours of independent study for every two hours in seminars and lectures, spread across the course of the semester. However, the second semester Borders Internship involves a more complex mix of work-based learning and supervision.

Career Prospects

All of the MA programmes offered in the School provide our graduates with the skills to pursue a wide range of careers in the private, public and voluntary sectors. In addition they provide an appropriate basis for those who wish to proceed to Doctoral-level study.

Queen's postgraduates reap exceptional benefits. Unique initiatives, such as Degree Plus and Researcher Plus bolster our commitment to employability, while innovative leadership and executive programmes alongside sterling integration with business experts helps our students gain key leadership positions both nationally and internationally.


Visit the MA Global Security and Borders page on the Queen’s University Belfast website for more details!

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