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Geopolitics and Security (MSc)

Course Description

Both geopolitics and security are defining issues of our era. As a global community, we face unprecedented challenges relating to environmental catastrophe, resource shortages, economic meltdown, terrorism and infrastructural failure. We need to understand the conditions that make our daily lives vulnerable and to develop strategies to manage risk and mitigate the impact of crisis, whilst also fostering critical reflections on those very strategies and techniques which seek to keep us secure.

This course combines thematic elements which theorise geopolitics and security with specialist options, which allow you to follow your own interests, alongside a dissertation, which can be strongly connected to work-related/future career interests. Multiple methods of assessment and diverse research methods encourage skills development and employability. We will encourage students to network with relevant organizations and institutions, building on staff expertise and experience.

The course is designed for both ambitious young graduates and experienced professionals working in commercial or political organisations such as banking, energy, media, think tanks, NGOs and government, where risk (management), threat and insecurity are critical to strategic policy development.

See the website https://www.royalholloway.ac.uk/geography/coursefinder/mscgeopoliticsandsecurity.aspx

Why choose this course?

- The Departments of Geography and Politics and International Relations are top-ranked research-led departments.

- The course is taught by world-class scholars and informed by cutting-edge research and experience outside the academy.

- The course offers an advanced grounding in geopolitics and security while allowing you to specialize in issues and themes of interest to you.

- There is a strong emphasis on skills development especially communication.

- Highly focused on employability – invited outside speakers will provide networking opportunities.

Department research and industry highlights

- Leading researchers and research groups (e.g. Politics, Development and Sustainability Group in Geography) with established track record in grant awards (e.g. from the ESRC, AHRC, Leverhulme Trust, EPSRC, British Academy, British Council, Falkland Island Government and the EU Marie-Curie fund).

- External networking and public engagement (e.g. working with UK government departments including MOD (British Antarctic Survey); Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Civil Contingencies Secretariat; the Parliamentary Office for Science and Technology and the Canada-UK Colloquium.

- Networking and Knowledge Transfer (e.g. collaborative postgraduate projects with major institutions such as the British Library, Science Museum and Royal Geographical Society). We have also worked closely with the BBC and its world service contributing to programme development and televised broadcasting.

- Ongoing collaboration with leading think-tanks such as Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) and Chatham House.

On completion of the course graduates will have:

- A sophisticated knowledge and critical understanding of geopolitics and security including core debates, and case studies.

- A detailed appreciation of methods and sources used to investigate geopolitical and security related issues and themes

- High-level skills development especially in communication (including social media), report writing, briefing papers, political debate and critical thinking

- Opportunities to enhance employability through practical experience and exposure to relevant individuals and organizations in the geopolitical/security-related field


Formal and informal assessment is carried out by a variety of methods including coursework, oral and group work presentations, policy, briefing and media reports, video and documentary production, and a dissertation. Field visits to important sites and organisations, including RUSI, will also be available, supporting collegial interaction between students and staff. Emphasis is placed on informal assessment (especially through group work) so that students have plenty of opportunities to receive formative support and guidance.

Employability & career opportunities

Geography and PIR graduates are highly employable and, in recent years, have entered many careers including working in government, media, non-governmental organizations and public organizations both in the UK and the wider world. This new course is intended for both experienced professionals seeking further academic training/reflection and also younger graduates eager to gain further skills development and relevant experience through study. Assessment and presentation opportunities as well as strategic field visits will help develop these skills, while a programme of external speakers will provide insight into the field. There will also be the potential for internships and work placements. The course will act as an ideal stepping-stone for PhD progression should this be chosen as a career pathway.

How to apply

Applications for entry to all our full-time postgraduate degrees can be made online https://www.royalholloway.ac.uk/studyhere/postgraduate/applying/howtoapply.aspx .

Visit the Geopolitics and Security (MSc) page on the Royal Holloway, University of London website for more details!

Entry Requirements

A minimum of a 2:1 UK honours degree or overseas equivalent. Mature students with substantial and relevant work experience would be considered. IELTS 6.5 overall with 6.5 in writing and minimum of 5.5 in all other subscores.

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