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International Security and Global Governance (MSc)

Course Description

This Master's degree in politics explores urgent contemporary debates about violence, conflict, security and governance from a global perspective. As the distinctions between civil wars, terrorism, warlord conflict and conventional war have blurred, the corresponding interventions - humanitarian, regional, international and imperial - have been the subject of considerable academic debate and political controversy. Simultaneously, geopolitical rivalries among global powers and the threat of violence and war between states continue to shape international security. Our approach works across disciplines, incorporating political, theoretical, historical, sociological and public policy approaches to produce comprehensive, balanced analyses of contemporary political controversies.

Core modules will examine the changing nature of war, violence and security, and their relationship with state and society. They provide a historical understanding of the evolution of global military, humanitarian and governance institutions and the ideas that shaped them. You will be equipped with the conceptual ideas, theoretical approaches and analytical research skills needed to study politics at postgraduate level.

You can then choose 2 option modules from a wide variety of topics including international security, American foreign policy, globalisation, political theory and sociology, war and conflict, nationalism and religion, and international political economy. The culmination of the programme is applying the concepts and methods you have learnt to undertake the researching and writing of a dissertation on the subject that interests you most.

Our Department of Politics is a lively and distinguished centre of interdisciplinary research, with a strong reputation for the quality of our teaching. Some of the world’s most famous libraries are on our doorstep in Bloomsbury, central London, and you can walk down to Whitehall, where Parliament and the UK’s most influential and important think-tanks and centres of political research and analysis are located.

Our departmental building was once a key location for members of the Bloomsbury Group, so you could be studying in rooms that have hosted distinguished visitors, including T. S. Eliot, George Bernard Shaw and Maynard Keynes.

Why study this course at Birkbeck?

This Master's degree provides the analytical and research tools required to examine security, governance and international relations in a comparative, global context.
The programme allows you to follow your own interests, with a wide choice of option modules, while developing your research skills and undertaking a dissertation in an area that interests you.
Our location in central London puts us at the heart of the UK’s political life and at the centre of academic London. You can walk down to Parliament and Whitehall, while Bloomsbury contains some of the world’s most famous libraries and centres of research.
You can take advantage of the rich research collections nearby, including Senate House Library, which is right next door to Birkbeck, the British Library, which is 5 minutes’ walk away, and the British Library of Political and Economic Science at the London School of Economics, which is walkable from Birkbeck.
Our Department of Politics was ranked 12th in the UK in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) results and is a world-renowned centre of original, influential research.
The department organises a lively programme of seminars and conferences and is home to affiliated research centres, such as the Centre for the Study of British Politics and Public Life, which run seminars, conferences and other events where some of the world's best scholars present their latest research.
Our academic staff are international authorities in their respective fields, publishing and delivering stimulating teaching in a wide range of political topics including civil society and the state, public policy, development, gender, international security and terrorism, and social and political theory, among others.
Birkbeck Library has a large politics collection, including the major specialist journals, and provides you with access to an extensive range of online materials.

Our research

Birkbeck is one of the world’s leading research-intensive institutions. Our cutting-edge scholarship informs public policy, achieves scientific advances, supports the economy, promotes culture and the arts, and makes a positive difference to society.

Birkbeck’s research excellence was confirmed in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, which placed Birkbeck 30th in the UK for research, with 73% of our research rated world-leading or internationally excellent.

In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), Politics at Birkbeck was ranked 17th in the UK.

Visit the International Security and Global Governance (MSc) page on the Birkbeck, University of London website for more details!

(Student Profile)

Hirut Fajembola

4081.jpg Hirut Fajembola is passionate about international relations, and she has developed her interest thanks to her postgraduate studies at Birkbeck, University of London. Her understanding of world affairs has improved as a result of her part-time studies, and she also really enjoyed the course.

Hirut, who grew up in Ethiopia before moving to London, heard about Birkbeck from a friend and decided to investigate further online. She found a course that interested her and decided to enrol at age 39 to read an MSc in International Security and Global Governance. The mother of three chose to study at Birkbeck because the evening teaching schedule enabled her to look after her children during the day.

'Birkbeck was perfect because it allowed me to raise my family and study at the same time', said Hirut. 'The lecturers were very caring, and understood the other demands on my time.'

Hirut greatly enjoyed learning throughout her Master’s degree, which gave her an insight into war and security, politics and economics, and how they are all driven by the interconnectedness of the world through the international movement of humans and goods, as well as ideas. She said: 'The lecturers provided information and research material to support my studies. It was fascinating and enlightening to learn about the legacies of the imperial period, the post-Cold War world that brought about the international system we have today. I met many people from all walks of life in the classroom, including diplomats, civil servants, international students and parents.'

Hirut’s classmates included students from Afghanistan, Italy, Greece, Iran, UK and US. She valued the range of experiences all these students brought to the discussions about international politics. She is confident her studies will help her achieve her ambition of working for an international organisation, such as the UN or African Union.

She added: 'Birkbeck and its lecturers are highly professional. You are valued for who you are. I would definitely recommend Birkbeck.'


Entry Requirements

A good undergraduate degree in a related area or relevant experience combined with an adequate academic background (subject to interview).If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English, our usual requirement is the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic Test) score of 6.5, with not less than 6.0 in each of the sub-tests.

Course Fees

Part-time home/EU students: £ 3975 pa Full-time home/EU students: £ 7950 pa

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