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Home > Courses > Postgraduate > International Security
More in this section Politics & International Relations

International Security MSc

UCAS code
Year of entry 2018
Course Length
1 year full time
2 years part time
Department Politics and International Relations »
Main Campus
Main Campus (Egham) »


We live in uncertain times. Terrorism, conflict, environmental catastrophe, weapons of mass destruction and weak states are all security issues that are reflected in our media, dominate policy-making in international politics and increasingly impinge on our daily lives.

This course offers anyone interested in transnational security issues an advanced grounding in the subject whilst, at the same time, enabling you to specialise in particular issues or regions of interest. Drawing upon departmental expertise in the areas of security studies, comparative politics, international law and conflict, political theory and global politics, this course can be tailored to your specific interests; optional units can be taken in subjects such as political violence, biopolitics, media, communication and conflict, international law of targeting, and regional international politics.  The programme is ideal for anyone looking to pursue a career in policymaking, international organizations and non-governmental organizations.

The Department of Politics and International Relations has a strong commitment to high quality, cutting-edge research which informs our teaching. We are a research community that draws on various methodological and theoretical approaches to the study of domestic, transnational, regional and global politics.  This includes research into areas such as security, international diplomacy, international law, the use of military force, the European Union and the impact of new communication technology on politics, nationalism and migration.

This course is also offered at Postgraduate Diploma level for those who do not have the academic background necessary to begin an advanced Masters degree. The structure of the Diploma is identical except that you will not write a dissertation. If you are successful on the Diploma you may transfer to the MSc, subject to academic approval.

Core modules

Transnational Security Studies

This module introduces you to how the area of security studies has evolved to include ever more transnational dynamics. You will see how scholars have traditionally understood security and how the study of security has developed. You will develop a theoretical and conceptual awareness of the practical issues and problems in Transnational Security Studies, exploring why security has become transnational. You will also look at security communities, alliances and collective security; global security governance; and cyber warfare.

Introduction to Quantitative Research Methods in Politics and International Relations

This module provides an introduction to a range of quantitative methods commonly used in the study of Politics and International Relations, equipping you with the skills to successfully study and analyse a wide range of political phenomena. You will examine ways in which theoretical propositions can be tested with empirical data, and a substantial part of the module will be based in labs where you will learn how to carry out quantitative analysis on existing data sets on elections, democracy and war. The aim is to empower you so that you are confident in interpreting and handling statistical data. No prior knowledge or experience of statistics is needed, and you will develop both a conceptual understanding of the statistical techniques and practical experience in conducting statistical analysis.

Theories and Qualitative Approaches in Politics and International Relations

This module will provide you with an introduction to the core theories and qualitative approaches in politics and international relations. You will examine a number of explanatory and theoretical frameworks, their basic assumptions, strengths and weaknesses, and concrete research applications. You will consider the various qualitative techniques available for conducting search research, the range of decisions qualitative researchers face, and the trade-offs researchers must consider when designing qualitative research. You will examine qualitative methodology in political analysis, including interviews, focus groups and ethnography; analysing textual data; comparative qualitative methods; and comparative qualitative analysis of history and political change.

Dissertation

The dissertation is the culmination of independent supervised research, and will be around 10,000 words in length. Your choice of dissertation topic will be made at the end of the spring term, and you will be allocated a supervisor with expertise in your chosen field. You will submit an outline of the project, with an indicative bibliography, to the Programme Director at the beginning of the third term, and your supervisor will arrange a series of progress meetings over the summer period. Your dissertation may be either a critical analysis of a theoretical problem or the result of an empirical project.

Optional modules

In addition to these mandatory course units there are a number of optional course units available during your degree studies. The following is a selection of optional course units that are likely to be available. Please note that although the College will keep changes to a minimum, new units may be offered or existing units may be withdrawn, for example, in response to a change in staff. Applicants will be informed if any significant changes need to be made.

Politics and International Relations Units exploring Political Theory

Politics and International Relations Units exploring Comparative Politics

Politics and International Relations Units exploring International Relations

Politics and International Relations Units exploring Political Communication

Please note that although the College will keep changes to a minimum, new units may be offered or existing units may be withdrawn, for example, in response to a change in staff.

Assessment is carried out by a variety of methods including coursework, examinations and a dissertation.

Entry criteria:

UK Upper Second Class Honours degree (2:1); or equivalent

Mature students with substantial work experience will also be considered.

English language requirements:

IELTS 6.5 overall with 7.0 in writing and a minimum of 5.5 in all other subscores. For equivalencies see here.

If you require Royal Holloway to sponsor your study in the UK, your IELTS must be a UK government-approved Secure English Language Test (SELT).


This course attracts those with backgrounds in political science and from allied disciplines, and both recent graduates and mature students with work experience.

International and EU entry requirements

Please select your country from the drop-down list below




Students from overseas should visit the International pages for information on the entry requirements from their country and further information on English language requirements. Royal Holloway offers a Pre-Master’s Diploma for International Students and English language pre-sessional courses, allowing students the opportunity to develop their study skills and English language before starting their postgraduate degree.

 

Graduates of political degrees have much to offer potential employers having developed a range of transferable skills, both practical and theoretical, whilst studying with us. With up to 90% of our most recent graduates now working or in further study, according to the Complete University Guide 2015, it’s true to say our graduates are highly employable. 

The methodological nature of a politics degree provides graduates with valuable analytical and research skills in preparation for careers in government, political consultancy, NGOs and research organisations.

In recent years, departmental graduates have secured jobs in a wide range of professions, such as the law, the civil service, accountancy, management, journalism, broadcasting, teaching, international development and diplomacy. In fact, six-months after graduation, 90% of our most recent graduates are enhancing their skills with further study or forging careers in companies and institutions such as:

  • Amnesty International
  • Bloomberg
  • The Church of England
  • Citigroup
  • The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative
  • The Conservative Party
  • Ernst & Young
  • The European Commission Global Capital
  • HM Treasury
  • The Henry Jackson Society
  • House of Commons
  • Ipsos MORI
  • The Labour Party
  • KAYAK
  • NATO Headquarters
  • Oxford Business Group
  • Proctor & Gamble
  • Quadrangle
  • Save the Children 

 This course also equips graduates with a solid foundation for continued PhD studies.

Home and EU students tuition fee per year 2018/19*: £8,500

International students tuition fee per year 2018/19*: £14,900

Other essential costs**: There are no single associated costs greater than £50 per item on this course

How do I pay for it? Find out more about funding options, including loans, grants, scholarships and bursaries.

* These tuition fees apply to students enrolled on a full-time basis. Students studying part-time are charged a pro-rata tuition fee, usually equivalent to approximately half the full-time fee. Please email student-fees@royalholloway.ac.uk for further information on part-time fees. All postgraduate fees are subject to inflationary increases. Royal Holloway's policy is that any increases in fees will not exceed 5% for continuing students. For further information see tuition fees and our terms and conditions.

** These estimated costs relate to studying this particular degree programme at Royal Holloway. Costs, such as accommodation, food, books and other learning materials and printing, have not been included.

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