MA Security Studies (Specialist)

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:

During the first two semesters you will normally take one two-hour seminar per module per week. 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.

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 MUST take the following Degree Scheme Core Module:

Semester 1

Critical Security Studies: Emerging Issues IPM1220

Year 1 Options In addition to the Degree Scheme core module and 40 credits from the 'basket' list, students on the Specialist pathway must take an additional 60 credits (3 modules) of modules which may include 1 x 20 credit modules outside the department if desired.

Semester 1

Polisi A Chyunllunio Iaith Yng Nghymru Heddiw GWM9520

International Politics 1: Theories And Concepts (s) IPM0520

Postcolonial Politics IPM1320

Fear, Cooperation And Trust In World Politics IPM2220

The International Politics Of Conflict Knowledge IPM3720

Violence And Civilization In World Politics IPM5820

Islam And Modernity IPM8420

Language Policy And Planning In Wales Today IPM9520

Semester 2

Britain And Zion. The Arab-israeli Conflict In British Politics IPM1420

Power And Postwar Reconstruction: A Critical Approach IPM3820

International Communications In Asia-pacific: Power, Peoples And Propaganda IPM4020

The State Through The Ages IPM4220

The Strategy And Politics Of Nuclear Weapons 1945-present IPM4320

Security Policy In The European Union IPM6820

British Counterinsurgency Warfare In The Twentieth Century IPM8820

Year 1 Electives Specialist pathway students must choose 40 credits (2 modules) from the 'basket' list below (semester 1 and/or 2).

Semester 1

Intelligence, Security And International Politics 1900-45 IPM0320

Thoughts Of War: Strategic Theory & Thinkers (s) IPM0920

Semester 2

Intelligence, Security And International Politics Since 1945 IPM0420

Political Responsibility In A Globalized World IPM4520

Cyber Security IPM9820

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. 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. 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.

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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