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MA Security Studies (Research Training)

Course Description

The Department of International Politics is world leader in the study of security in world politics. One of three key non-traditional approaches to Security Studies bears the name the ‘Aberystwyth School’. This degree scheme offers MA students a thorough introduction into the Aberystwyth approach, which emphasizes ethical and political questions related to security, as well as into all competing approaches. Our particular strengths and research areas are theories of security; new security issues – especially health, environment, resource strain and the internet; nuclear proliferation and disarmament; European security and policing; gender and security and the ethics of security.

With further staff specialising in the cognate areas of development, peacebuilding and post-conflict reconstruction, intelligence and strategic studies as well as in numerous aspects of international theory, students with specific security-related interests can build up their own pathway to studying security. Students interested in the development of a critical awareness of the state of theory and practice in the field of contemporary security studies are well served by the programme.

Visit the website: https://courses.aber.ac.uk/postgraduate/security-studies-masters-research/

Suitable for

This degree will suit you:

-If you want to study Security Studies at Masters level
-If you wish to develop a critical appreciation of Security within a political context
-If you wish to nurture a career in politics
-If you desire formal recognition of skills highly sought-after by any postgraduate employer

Course detail

Students on this degree will develop expertise in contemporary security studies, with special emphasis on theories and conceptualizations of security and security threats. This grounding knowledge – introduced in the compulsory core module – is deepened through optional modules from the security studies basket. Most students focus on issues of new security agendas (such as health, the critical infrastructure or environmental stress), the challenges of the nuclear weapons and the issues of disarmament, the questions of security as related to risk, resilience and/or global governance, and on the theoretical and normative aspects of security. Students are encouraged to explore the inter-relationship between global processes and specific security dynamics in both the developing and developed world.

Thanks to Aberystwyth’s long tradition in the study of security, we have a large number of academics to advise MA students with their dissertations in this area. In the past years some of the dissertation topics included: the issues ecology and security; the security challenges of critical infrastructure; security and migration; European boundaries as related to security; the prospects of European security; security and group identity; relations between the nuclear states; the role of Al-Qaeda as related to the global security governance; the new security challenges of development work; and the developments in the theory of world security. We provide expert and structured guidance on how to develop a dissertation in your area of interest and are very happy, and able, to advise you also on less conventional topics.


In Semester One you will normally have eight hours per week of specific Research Training Modules and one two-hour seminar per week for your degree scheme core module. In Semester Two you will normally have one two-hour seminar per week for each of the three modules you take (one Research Training specific and two subject specific modules). You will also have contact with academic staff through participation in research groups, attendance in departmental research seminars and masters workshops and through staff office hours (two one hour sessions per week). There will also be additional sessions working towards developing your master’s dissertation. During semester three you will arrange your level of contact time with your assigned supervisor.


Assessment will be through a combination of essays, reports, project work, and dissertation. It may, depending on the modules chosen, include seminar presentations, review essays and literature searches.


Every course at Aberystwyth University is designed to enhance your vocational and general employability. Your Masters will place you in the jobs market as a highly-trained political specialist with a strength in depth of knowledge on vital subjects such as the relationship between global processes and specific security dynamics in both the developing and developed world. Topics covered include Securitization Theory, the Copenhagen School, Emancipation, the Ethics of Security, Discourse and Identity, Practices of (In)Security, Feminist Theorizing about Security and the Paris School. You will also graduate with a wealth of postgraduate-level skills which are transferable into any workplace. On the research training pathway you also develop advanced skills in quantitative and qualitative research skills and data analysis.

Key Skills and Competencies

- Study Skills -

Alongside the wealth of world-class critical expertise, you will master highly desirable skills in academic research, analysis, argument-formation, presentation and debate. The research training pathway provides you with a specific set of study skills focused on interrogating and analysing a range of different types of data from multiple sources. You will also prove your abilities in reflection and self-improvement; you will be able to identify your academic weaknesses and remove them whilst building on your strengths.

- Self-Motivation and discipline -

Studying at Masters level requires discipline and self-motivation from every candidate. You will have access to the expertise and helpful guidance of departmental staff, but you are ultimately responsible for devising and completing a sustained programme of scholarly research in pursuit of your Master’s degree. This process of independent study at an extremely high level will strengthen your skills as an independent and self-sufficient worker, a trait prized by most employers.

- Transferable Skills -

The International relations Masters programme is designed to give you a range of transferable skills that you can apply in a variety of employment contexts. Upon graduation, you will have proven your abilities in structuring and communicating ideas efficiently, writing for and speaking to a range of audiences, evaluating and organizing information, working effectively with others and working within time frames and to specific deadlines. You will also have advanced skills in data analysis that can be applied in a wide variety of work environments from business to the public sector and non-governmental organisations.

How to apply: https://www.aber.ac.uk/en/postgrad/howtoapply/

Visit the MA Security Studies (Research Training) page on the Aberystwyth University website for more details!

Entry Requirements

Good Undergraduate degree 2.2 (UK) (or above) equating to a mark of 56.5 or above. Those who are not graduates must satisfy the University that they are of the required academic standard to pursue postgraduate study.

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