MA Security Studies (Research Training)

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.

Dr Kamila Stullerova is the degree scheme coordinator and you are encouraged to contact her with any queries regarding the MA in Security Studies.

Key Facts


One year full-time. The academic year (September to September) is divided into three semesters: September to January; January to June; June to September.

Contact Time:

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, resports, project work, and dissertation. It may, depending on the modules chosen, include seminar presentations, review essays and literature searches.

Entry Requirements:

Good Undergraduate degree 2.2 (UK) (or above) equating to a mark of 56.5 or above. European and International applicants can find their grade equivalence on our comparability page. Those who are not graduates must satisfy the University that they are of the required academic standard to pursue postgraduate study.

English Language Requirements:

If you have a Bachelor’s degree from a UK University, you do not need to take an English proficiency test.

Non-native English speakers who do not meet this requirement must take a University-recognised test of academic English language proficiency. For further information please see our English Language requirements page.

Course Fees:

Please see the tuition fee pages for current tuition fees. Please note that all fees are subject to an annual increase.


Funding opportunities may be available, please check our funding calculator for details.


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.

Our Staff

Lecturers in the Department of International Politics are all research active and qualified to PhD level, and most also have a PGCHE.

Course Content

Welsh medium modules available

Please note: The modules listed below are those currently intended for delivery during the next academic year and may be subject to change. They are included here to give an indication of how the course is structured.

Year 1 Core (20 Credits) Students following the Research Training pathway on any degree scheme within the Department of International Politics must take and pass the following RT 'bridge' module:

Semester 2

Political, Social And Historical Research: Philosophy, Methods And Application IPM2120

Year 1 Core (40 Credits) Students following the Research Training pathway on any degree scheme within the Department of International Politics must take and pass the following Univeristy-taught Generic Research Training Modules:

Semester 1

Principles Of Research Design PGM0210

Quantitative Data Collection And Analysis PGM1010

Qualitative Data Collection And Analysis PGM1100

Semester 2

Qualitative Data Collection And Analysis PGM1120

Year 1 Core (20 Credits) Students MUST take the following Degree Scheme Core Module:

Semester 1

Critical Security Studies: Emerging Issues IPM1220

Year 1 Electives Students must take two modules from the follow basket:

Semester 1

Intelligence, Security And International Politics 1900-45 IPM0320

Violence And Civilization In World Politics IPM5820

Semester 2

Intelligence, Security And International Politics Since 1945 IPM0420

British Counterinsurgency Warfare In The Twentieth Century IPM8820

Year 1 Core (60 Credits) Students must submit a dissertation on a topic relevant to their degree scheme. Students may submit their dissertation in either Welsh or English. Students wishing to submit their Dissertation in Welsh should register for GWM0060.

Semester 3

Dissertation IPM0060


 Qualification: Masters in Security Studies

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


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. In addition, the prestige of masters from our department of International Politics wills open doors for you into workplaces in every industry.

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 trainign 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 Masters 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 buisness to the public sector and non-governmental organisations.

How to Apply

Postgraduate applicants can submit their application either on-line or off-line. Please see our How to Apply page for further information.

Departmental contact details 

Tel: (01970) 622708
Fax: (01970) 622709

Department of International Politics
Aberystwyth University
Penglais Campus
Aberystwyth University
SY23 3FE

If you'd like to see how we assess your application please click and watch our Application videos.

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