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International Relations and Security (MA)


Course Description

The question of security now dominates contemporary international politics. Issues such as the 'War on Terror', pre-emptive self-defence and humanitarian intervention constitute seminal international concerns that have implications for all states and all peoples.

This course provides you with a detailed understanding of the nature of the contemporary security agenda, its origins, theoretical foundations and future trajectory. You will examine the theories of international security and those key security issues that have dominated security discourse in the post-Cold War era. You will also develop your analytical skills in order to facilitate understanding of the seminal contemporary security issues in a broader theoretical and historical framework.

Core modules

- Contemporary Controversies in International Security: Intervention Terrorism and Self-Defence
The end of the Cold War fundamentally altered the nature of international security, heralding the emergence of new issues and threats. In the contemporary era the locus and nature of the paramount threats have altered, with intra-state conflicts and non-state actors characterising sources of insecurity. This module will provide you with a comprehensive overview of security discourse and practice since the end of the Cold War relating key issues such as humanitarian intervention, self-defence and terrorism to broader trends such as the evolving role of the UN, the challenges to international law and the new concern with intra-state crises.

- Dissertation and Research Methods
You will receive supervised guidance and research methods training (through a series of research method workshops, the dissertation induction and colloquium seminars, and individual dissertation supervision sessions) to prepare you for your Masters dissertation on an agreed research topic. You will begin identifying your dissertation interests at the start of your studies, when you will be able to discuss your ideas with different tutors who may direct you towards taking appropriate option modules that support your future research studies. This module must be taken either following the completion of all other modules, or concurrently with modules in your second semester.

- Theories of International Security
This module examines the contemporary discourse and debates surrounding the meaning of international security. The end of the Cold War fundamentally altered the structure of the international system and precipitated the emergence of a new security agenda. The new systemic dynamics and reconfigured security agenda led many to question the dominant theoretical frameworks previously applied to international security, and new security discourses – such as human security and critical security studies – have emerged to challenge established security theory. This module will examine the key tenets of the new theoretical frameworks and critically analyse their contribution to our understanding of 'security'.

Option modules

You must choose four option modules from the following list (one of your options may be an approved free choice module hosted by another Masters course):

- Controversies in United States Foreign Policies and Processes
- Democracy and Islam
- Democratic Politics: Key Debates and Issues
- Development Theories, Policies and Practices
- European Immigration Policy in International Perspectives
- Global Change: Toward a New Non-Western Order
- Globalisation, Democratisation and Post-Authoritarian Transition
- Governance of the European Union
- International Relations: Beyond International Relations?
- International Relations: Theoretical Perspectives
- Islam and Politics in the Middle East
- Issues in International Politics of Resource
- Policy, Governance and Democracy: International Perspectives
- The European Union as an International Actor
- The Politics of Global Complexity: Rethinking Governance, Power and Agency
- The State, Politics and Violence

Associated careers

This course will provide you with numerous key skills and knowledge that will prepare you for your future career in a variety of different fields. Our graduates hold posts within various international and national government departments and organisations. Many have also gone on to study for doctorates at Westminster and other universities around the world.

Visit the International Relations and Security (MA) page on the University of Westminster website for more details!

Entry Requirements

You should have a First Class or Upper Second Class Honours degree or equivalent; equivalent qualifications from overseas are welcome. Your application must be supported by a reference written on institutional notepaper by an academic familiar with your abilities. Applications from mature candidates are welcomed. If your first language is not English, you will need an IELTS score of 6.5 or equivalent. The University offers pre-sessional summer programmes if you need to improve your English before starting your course.

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