Typical Course Length
The MA War, Strategy and Intelligence degree at Aberystwyth University will provide you with the necessary conceptual and empirical tools and knowledge to understand, debate and critique the interconnected phenomena of War, Strategy and Intelligence.
This course is only available for applicants wishing to study from September 2021.
The question of war has been at the heart of the human experience since the beginning of political communities and remains an enduring feature of the international system and many states and societies. Understanding the causes and consequences of war is a complex task which requires an interdisciplinary approach. Throughout the course, you will engage with a diversity of fields from the social sciences and humanities to understand the phenomenon of war and the perennial but elusive quest for security that characterises international relations. As you explore fields such as military history, security, intelligence, strategic studies, and international relations, you will develop the knowledge and analytical instruments needed to understand the concepts of war and warfare, the various strategies used to wage it and the intelligence apparatuses used to inform those strategies.
From Sun Tzu to ‘Shock ‘n’ Awe’ this degree develops your conceptual and empirical understanding of the use of force in international relations. In the 21st century, with the initial post-Cold War hopes for a ‘New World Order’ fading, fears of major regional and even global wars are growing. This degree examines the most pressing strategic issues facing the world today and analyses the evolving nature of war and conflict from traditional great power competition to modern forms of hybrid warfare. Renewed friction between Russia and the West, escalating tensions in the Middle East and South Asia, growing Chinese military assertiveness, and ongoing intra-state violent conflicts around the world demonstrate the continuing need for an in-depth and critical understanding of the dynamics of war, strategy and intelligence.
One year full-time. The academic year (September to September) is divided into three semesters: September to January; January to June; June to September.
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, project work, short reports, book reviews and dissertation. It may, depending on the modules chosen, include seminar presentations, review essays and literature searches.
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.
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.
Our graduates have expansive career opportunities.
Previous graduates from our Department have gone on to work:
- in the development sector
- in local and national politics
- for the Diplomatic Service
- for the Civil Service
- for NGOs
- with international organisations
- as journalists
- within academia
- as governmental and social researchers
- for Foreign Offices
- for the military
- in leadership roles in business/industry (CEOs/Chairmans)
- as political assistants
- as teachers, lawyers and accountants
This Masters programme emphasises the development of strong research, writing and analytical skills as well as the capacity to work independently - qualities highly valued by employers. A Masters is also ideal for students who want to pursue PhD research. This MA Programme will empower you to:
- Develop your abilities in structuring and communicating complex ideas efficiently
- Write for and speak to a range of audiences
- Evaluate and organise information
- Work effectively with others
- Work within time frames and to specific deadlines
Learning & Teaching
The MA War, Strategy and Intelligence is available as a Specialist or Research Training pathway degree. Students studying the Specialist pathway pursue advanced, subject-specific study, through a core module and a number of option modules along with a dissertation. Those on the Research Training pathway take a suite of research training modules in place of some option modules.
Core modules you will study on this course include Warfare in the Twenty-First Century and the Dissertation.
Warfare in the Twenty-First Century
Examines the evolution of modern warfare into the 21st century. It analyses various aspects of war and warfare in their contemporary expressions across the domains
of land, sea, air, space and cyberspace. You will develop a good understanding of the latest strategic trends in areas such as: inter- and intra-state conflict, asymmetric and hybrid warfare, nuclear proliferation, the evolution of the ‘War on Terror’, and great power competition.
You will also choose from a range of option modules, which currently include:
- Thoughts of War
- Intelligence, Security and International Relations
- British Counterinsurgency in the 20th Century
- Critical Security Studies: Emerging Issues
- Power and Post-war Reconstruction
- Russia at War since 1812
- War and Peace in the Middle East
How will I be taught?
During the first two semesters (September to May), 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 at 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 dissertation. During semester three you will arrange your level of contact time with your assigned dissertation supervisor.
What will I learn?
Students will undertake a core module, simply entitled International Politics, which will provide an advanced Masters level introduction to the challenges of thinking and practicing international politics today, covering the tools, concepts and perspectives in International Politics. In addition to the core module students then pursue their own interests by choosing two modules from a ‘basket’ of options and three optional modules (including up to 20 credits from outside the Department). Basket and optional modules cover a wide range of themes and students interested in specific thematics will find distinct routes amongst the ‘basket’ and optional modules to build a schedule of study to satisfy their interests and career needs.