The upheaval of global politics in recent years has brought with it unique and unforeseen challenges, from the threat of environmental catastrophe and resource shortages, to the rise of populist political parties, infrastructural and economic failure and global terror. An MSc in Global Futures: Geopolitics and Security at Royal Holloway, University of London equips students with the knowledge and skills needed to tackle these era-defining issues, to mitigate the impact of potential crises, and to reflect critically and creatively on the strategies and techniques which seek to keep us secure.
Whether you are still an undergraduate or someone already in a professional career, graduates of this course will gain a Masters of Science in a discipline offering excellent employability prospects, while professionals seeking further academic training will learn transferable risk management skills ideal for further career development. Study an MSc Global Futures: Geopolitics and Security at Royal Holloway and you’ll graduate with a range of transferable skills to take with you into the workplace or further postgraduate study.
In the Department of Geography you’ll join a vibrant research community (ranked 2nd in the UK for research excellence in the most recent REF2014 assessment) and contribute to our renowned research culture with your own independent dissertation project. You’ll benefit from networking and placement opportunities with leading organisations and institutions, and enjoy exciting field working opportunities. In particular, you will work with the leading researchers based in our Geopolitics, Development, Security and Justice (GDSJ) research group, and benefit from their links to scholars in Politics and International Relations and Information Security, including the EPSRC Doctoral Training Centre in Cyber Security for the Everyday.
Engage with some of the most profound challenges of our times in this exciting Masters degree.
Core ModulesTerm 1
In this module you will develop an understanding of the theoretical concepts and thinkers at the heart of the study of geopolitics and security. You will look at the key objects, sites and agents of geopolitics and security, looking at the historical evolution and contemporary theorisation of these. You will explore the coeval development of geopolitics and security studies, considering post-structuralist theory in the early 1990s and the development of critical and popular geopolitics and securitisation theory. You will examine the conversations between geopolitics and security studies, and analyse the deepening and widening of these debates through object-centred philosophy, material relations and limits of representation.
In this module you will develop an understanding of research methods used for exploring the social sciences. You will look at the key methods used by social scientists, with teaching delivered by those who have practical experience in their field. You will look at the research process and explore research beyond the field, becoming familiar with the practical considerations of a range of methods, their benefits and challenges, their epistemological basis, and their ethics.
In this module you will develop an understanding of how your cultural geography learning is relevant beyond the academy. You will critically reflect on the role of impact and knowledge exchange in the contemporary academy, examining how you may put your cultural geographic ideas into practice.
This module aims to address some of the potential issues this world faces from a cutting edge geographical perspective. These topics include climate change, political division, and technological revolutions. The module is split into sessions, titled Earth Futures, Secure Futures, Just Futures, and Creative Futures.
This module explores several methods that reflect upon the rest of the program. These methods include creative methods, archiving and interpretation, and participatory methods.
In this module you will develop an understanding of how your cultural geography learning is relevant beyond the academy. You will undertake a placement with one of a number of cultural institutions across London, spending a minimum of 20 hours working with you chosen organisation. You will be allocated a member of staff as an academic tutor to help support your experience and learning.
The dissertation gives you the opportunity to study an aspect of geopolitics and security, in-depth, by managing and carrying out your own piece of research and analysis. You will be assigned a dissertation supervisor who will help you develop your research aims and objectives, identify bodies of relevant literature, establish a particular strang of conceptual thought, and select appropriate research methods for the collection and analysis of data. You will produce an extended written report of 15,000 words, and will be encouraged to work with an external organisation to build a network of contacts and relationships to facilitate your future career.
All modules are core
Teaching & assessment
Assessment is by coursework only. Formative feedback and detailed ongoing discussion of work before final submission is a central part of the teaching ethos of the course. Students also have significant autonomy in the selection of topics for coursework and dissertation allowing them to develop particular interests and specialisms.
Each module has a specific assessment as follows:
- Key Concepts in Geopolitics and Security – 5000 word essay (20 credits)
- Research Methods for Social Science – group presentation and 2000 word dissertation proposal (20 credits)
- Social Media & Audiencing – blog posts and a podcast or video (20 credits)
- Global Futures – 5000 word manifesto (20 credits)
- Advanced Research Methods for Global Futures – 5000 word workshop report (20 credits)
- Placements, Volunteering and Scenarios – 3000 word diarised report (20 credits)
- Dissertation – 15000 word dissertation (60 credits)
Please note, these modules are currently provisional and are subject to module validation.
Geography, Politics, International Relations, English, History and Classics, Sociology and Philosophy. Other disciplines may be considered.
Normally we require a UK 2:1 (Honours) or equivalent in relevant subjects but we will consider high 2:2 or relevant work experience. Candidates with professional qualifications in an associated area may be considered. Where a ‘good 2:2’ is considered, we would normally define this as reflecting a profile of 57% or above.
International & EU requirements
English language requirements
All teaching at Royal Holloway is in English. You will therefore need to have good enough written and spoken English to cope with your studies right from the start.
The scores we require
- IELTS: 6.5 overall. Writing 7.0. No subscore lower than 5.5.
- Pearson Test of English: 61 overall. Writing 69. No subscore lower than 51.
- Trinity College London Integrated Skills in English (ISE): ISE III.
For more information about country-specific entry requirements please see here.
Your future career
Gradates of this course will possess in-depth social scientific research skills and critical knowledge of contemporary geographic issues. Also, there is the opportunity to develop important public engagement skills, as well as to undertake placements and volunteer work in external institutions. The department has excellent links with a range of national and international charities business and political institutions such as the Big Data Institute, government departments and Google. These are actively used during the teaching of the course (via external speakers and field visits), and so students gain first hand experience and invaluable networks with this broad range of specialist institutions.
As such this is ideal preparation for careers in a wide-range of sectors including consultancy, government research, charities, intelligence, think tanks and private businesses.
Fees & funding
Home and EU students tuition fee per year*: £7,900
International students tuition fee per year**: £16,800
Other essential costs***: You should allow for up to £150 for travel and subsistence from campus to London for fieldwork and trips to organisations and societies.
* and ** These tuition fees apply to students enrolled on a full-time basis. Students studying on the standard part-time course structure over two years are charged 50% of the full-time applicable fee for each study year. All postgraduate fees are subject to inflationary increases. This means that the overall cost of studying the programme via part-time mode is slightly higher than studying it full-time in one year. Royal Holloway's policy is that any increases in fees will not exceed 5% for continuing students. For further information see tuition fees see our terms and conditions.
Please note that for research programmes, we adopt the minimum fee level recommended by the UK Research Councils for the Home/EU tuition fee. Each year, the fee level is adjusted in line with inflation (currently, the measure used is the Treasury GDP deflator). Fees displayed here are therefore subject to change and are usually confirmed in the spring of the year of entry. For more information on the Research Council Indicative Fee please see the RCUK website.
*** 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.