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International Studies (Security) (MA/ PGDip/ PGCert)

Course Description

One of the key themes in contemporary international studies is the changing nature of security in a global era. The International Studies (Security) masters course provides specialised training in the key theories and concepts of advanced international studies, and in particular applies these to contemporary debates on 'human security', culminating in autonomous learning and independent study in the form of a dissertation.

The programme will appeal to you if you have a broad interest in international affairs, and if your future work is likely to involve the public sphere in an international and global context. It is relevant to careers in media and general management, as well as in the civil service, intergovernmental organisations and non-governmental organisations. It will also appeal if you are wanting to progress to a research degree.

See the website http://www.brookes.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate/international-studies-security/

Why choose this course?

- A dynamic, supportive and rapidly growing community of scholars undertaking internationally recognised research in international studies, and the opportunity to be part of a research-active group and attend a rich programme of research seminars with presentations from high-profile external guest speakers.

- A reputation for excellence in teaching with strong links between course content and the work of our research-active academic staff.

- It covers issues such as changes in the nature of war, military culture, and security itself, both as a practice and academic discipline. Also provides a range of specialist modules that allow you to focus on particular areas of interest.

- Links with International NGOs, many of whom are based in Oxford, such as Oxfam and Rights and Accountability in Development (RAID).

- Excellent learning resources both at Brookes and through Oxford's Bodleian Library as well as the extensive use of e-learning facilities to complement your time in the classroom.

- A four-day study trip to Brussels and The Hague provides first-hand experience of how important international institutions, such as NATO and the EU, work. The cost of this course is covered in the fees.

Teaching and learning

Research is fundamental to the International Studies programme and you will be taught by a team of research-active scholars who are all specialists and publish in their areas of expertise. We include aspects of our research in all our courses, teach specialist modules in our areas of expertise and supervise dissertations in our specialist subjects.

Diverse teaching methods are employed including lectures, tutor/group-led seminars, analysis of case studies, group work presentations, individual presentations, and individual and small group tutorials.

Approach to assessment

Assessment is conducted through a variety of assignments linked to the expected learning outcomes. Assignments will include essays, presentations, projects, reports and the dissertation. These will be spread over the year to provide constant feedback and assessment. One of the compulsory modules is also partially assessed by a written exam.

Field trips

Each year students are required to go on a four-day study trip to Brussels and The Hague. The trip takes place just before the start of Semester 2 (in late January) and starts with visits to key institutions of the European Union and NATO. Then its moves to The Hague to visit a range of international organisations, including the International Criminal Court and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, which was awarded the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize. This study trip enables students to get a first-hand experience of how these important international institutions work. The cost of the trip is included in the course fees.

How this course helps you develop

Oxford has much to offer scholars of international studies and as one of the world's great academic cities, it is a key centre of debate, with conferences, seminars and forums taking place across a range of related topics within the University and within the city of Oxford.


The programme will appeal to students who have a broad interest in international affairs, and to those whose future work is likely to involve the public sphere in an international and global context. It is relevant to careers in media and general management, as well as in the civil service, intergovernmental organisations and non-governmental organisations. It will also appeal to those wanting to progress to a research degree.

“Knowledge of issues such as international development, global gender and employment and civil society would be extremely beneficial to any potential employee or volunteer…”
Helen Saunders, Opportunity International

Since Oxfam was founded in the city in the 1940s, Oxford has attracted a diverse range of voluntary organisations and now has one of the highest concentrations of non-governmental organisations outside London, making it the perfect place to begin a career in the third sector.

- Professional advice
Staff working in the Oxford Brookes Careers and Employment Centre can help you to make the most of the transferable skills that employers are looking for. During your time here you will have the opportunity to attend student employability workshops, job fairs and employer presentations. In addition a dedicated workshop is held for all students on the taught postgraduate programme. This provides specific support and advice about the career opportunities afforded by studying International Studies.

- Progression to PhD
Research is fundamental to the Department and is reflected in our strong research profile. A significant number of our students choose to pursue a career in academia and the programme is an excellent foundation for those wanting to proceed to do a PhD.

Research highlights

The programme is taught by a truly international team of leading scholars from across the globe. Our vibrant research culture is driven by a thriving and collaborative community of academic staff and doctoral students.

Staff involved in teaching on the programme have, in recent years, been awarded a number of Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) grants.

Dr Michael Lister co-led a project entitled 'Anti-Terrorism, Citizenship and Security in the UK', which examined the extent to which citizens of the United Kingdom feel that their security has been enhanced (or even diminished) by contemporary anti-terrorism measures.

Findings from Dr Mikko Kuisma’s ESRC-funded research project called 'Welfare State Practices and the Constitution of the Citizen: Nordic Models of Capitalism in an Age of Globalisation' have been published in a number of outlets including Policy Network, a leading international progressive politics think tank.

Dr Stephen Hurt was successful in a bid to the ESRC Research Seminars Competition together with colleagues from the Universities of Birmingham, Sheffield and Warwick, Chatham House and the Institute for Public Policy Research. The focus of the series is British policy to Africa and in particular the legacies of attempts by successive Labour administrations to transform this and the impact more recently of a Conservative-led coalition government operating in a context of financial austerity. The series will conclude with a parliamentary briefing at the House of Commons, hosted by the Africa All Party Parliamentary Group.

Meanwhile, Dr Rico Isaacs has conducted research funded by the British Academy into the effectiveness of Election Observation Missions (EOMs) in ensuring freer and fairer elections in the former Soviet Union. EOMs have been central to the Organisation for Cooperation and Security in Europe’s (OSCE) strategy to promote democracy in former Soviet states.

Visit the International Studies (Security) (MA/ PGDip/ PGCert) page on the Oxford Brookes University website for more details!

Entry Requirements

Students are normally required to have at least a second class honours degree from a university in the UK or an equivalent qualification from countries outside the UK. The degree should be in an appropriate discipline.

Course Fees

Home / EU: Full-time £5,980, Part-time £3,050; International: Full-time £13,620

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