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Middle East, Caucasus and Central Asian Security Studies (MLitt)

Course Description

MLitt in Middle East, Caucasus and Central Asian Security Studies

This is a multidisciplinary degree which offers an advanced grounding in the security of three fascinating and turbulent regions: the Middle East, Caucasus and Central Asia. It explores the security, politics, economics, history and culture of these strategically significant regions. It is aimed at professionals who have worked in or on the regions and for students with a decided interest in these themes and in this region. The course also offers an opportunity for language study in Arabic, Persian, or Russian. In most years, field trips to the region constitute a part of the programme. This degree will equip you to either continue with doctoral work or pursue a non-academic career in which you contribute to analysis, policy and planning (particularly in international diplomacy, international organisations, non-governmental organisations and consultancy work).

The MECACS Institute houses two of the School of International Relations’ largest-ever external grants, from the European Commission on ‘Post-Soviet Tensions’ and ‘Around the Caspian’, as well as the Centre for Syrian Studies. These all bring to St Andrews added international interactions with the degree’s regions. Our teaching is therefore deeply informed with “real world” experience given that we are able to bring practitioners and outsider experts regularly to the programme.

Middle East and Central Asian Security Studies postgraduates supply the need for analysts who combine analytical tools with in-depth familiarity of the culture of the geographic area of the Middle East and Central Asia/Caucasus. Recent graduates have gone on to: a leading European think tank on Caucasus and Central Asia, based in Brussels; the world’s largest regional intergovernmental security organisation, the OSCE, in Kazakhstan; various think tanks in Washington, DC; and local NGOs in Tajikistan, Central Asia.


* There are over 40 academic members of staff in the School.

* International Relations was ranked top in the UK in Guardian University Guide 2016.

* There is a large and vibrant postgraduate community, with around 100 taught postgraduate and 80 research students in any year, which includes a large proportion of international students.

* We have an established reputation throughout the world for high-quality teaching and research.

* We have specialist areas in international security, terrorism studies, peace and conflict, international institutions, regional studies including the Middle East, Central Asia and Southern Africa, and international theory

Postgraduate community

International Relations has been taught at the University for 25 years; a department was created in 1990 which became a School in its own right in 2003. We are located at the centre of the University, occupying a purpose-built building which opened in 2008.

All International Relations modules taught on our MLitt programmes are distinctive options available only to postgraduate students. At the same time you are incorporated into the wider research life of the School, taking part in our regular research seminars and occasional series organised on specific topics.

The discipline of International Relations is both theoretical and practical. Academics teaching in the discipline are frequently called upon to apply their insights to the realities of international relations. In consequence staff members provide expert judgements in the media, give advice to legislatures or governments, or provide non-governmental organisations with briefings on specific issues or countries.

International Relations is a distinct discipline that draws on diplomatic history, political theory, political economy, political science and international law to provide theoretical perspectives to explain the processes and patterns of international affairs in the modern world. This enables you to assess developments in the international system and specific geographic regions. You will explore issues such as the origins of war and peace, foreign policy making, international trade, international terrorism, human rights, international organisations, international law, and the interaction of political and economic development. You also analyse the ways in which states relate to other international actors, and develop normative theories that relate the world as it is to the world as it might be. All of these have practical applications for you as both citizen and potential decision maker.


International Relations postgraduates may find employment as policy makers within national and EU civil services as well as political research units. Fieldwork-based jobs with aid agencies, other NGOs or journalism also present employment opportunities. With the increasing globalisation of industry, commerce and banking, the particular knowledge and awareness of the International Relations postgraduate are particularly relevant.

Visit the Middle East, Caucasus and Central Asian Security Studies (MLitt) page on the University of St Andrews website for more details!

(Student Profile)


As an International Relations student I have really benefited from the cosmopolitan mix of individuals welcomed by the School; each person brings a unique world view to academic debates and provides a genuinely stimulating environment to engage in seminars. The staff have provided all of us with the perfect mix of exceptionally informed teaching and quality feedback.


Entry Requirements

Our minimum academic requirement for entry to most programmes is a 2:1 degree classification from a recognised UK university or the equivalent in a subject-related area

Course Fees

2017/18: Home/EU £9,870; Overseas £20,370

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