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Course content

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.


Visit the Security, Terrorism and Insurgency MA page on the University of Leeds website for more details!

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