Course Overview

Attendance
UK/EU Fees £3,750 *
International Fees £6,500 *
Alumni Discount See details
Duration 2 years

* Price per academic year

Course summary

The question of security now dominates contemporary international politics. Issues such as the 'War on Terror', pre-emptive self-defence and humanitarian intervention constitute seminal international concerns that have implications for all states and all peoples.

This course provides you with a detailed understanding of the nature of the contemporary security agenda, its origins, theoretical foundations and future trajectory. You will examine the theories of international security and those key security issues that have dominated security discourse in the post-Cold War era. You will also develop your analytical skills in order to facilitate understanding of the seminal contemporary security issues in a broader theoretical and historical framework.

Course structure

The following modules are indicative of what you will study on this course.

You must choose four modules from the list of option modules (one of your options may be an approved free choice module hosted by another Masters course).

 

Core Modules

The end of the Cold War fundamentally altered the nature of international security, heralding the emergence of new issues and threats. In the contemporary era the locus and nature of the paramount threats have altered, with intra-state conflicts and non-state actors characterising sources of insecurity. This module will provide you with a comprehensive overview of security discourse and practice since the end of the Cold War relating key issues such as humanitarian intervention, self-defence and terrorism to broader trends such as the evolving role of the UN, the challenges to international law and the new concern with intra-state crises.

You will receive supervised guidance and research methods training (through a series of research method workshops, the Dissertation induction and colloquium seminars, and individual Dissertation supervision sessions) to prepare you for your Masters Dissertation on an agreed research topic. You will begin identifying your Dissertation interests at the start of your studies, when you will be able to discuss your ideas with different tutors who may direct you towards taking appropriate option modules that support your future research studies. This module must be taken either following the completion of all other modules, or concurrently with modules in your second semester.

This module examines the contemporary discourse and debates surrounding the meaning of international security. The end of the Cold War fundamentally altered the structure of the international system and precipitated the emergence of a new security agenda. The new systemic dynamics and reconfigured security agenda led many to question the dominant theoretical frameworks previously applied to international security, and new security discourses – such as human security and critical security studies – have emerged to challenge established security theory. This module will examine the key tenets of the new theoretical frameworks and critically analyse their contribution to our understanding of ‘security’.

Option Modules

This module focuses on post-Cold War United States foreign and national security policies, and the US policy-making processes. It exposes you to competing interpretations of both policy and the policy-making process. For example, did the end of the Cold War or 9/11 and the onset of the so-called ‘war on terror’ mark new eras in US foreign and national security policy? And how important is the Congress and US public opinion in the making of US foreign policy? The module shows that US policies are rooted as much in domestic politics as they are in America’s perceptions of its interests in a changing international environment.

The module examines key issues and debates in democratic politics. It focuses on 20th-century democratic thought and discusses how key democratic ideas/ideals have been interpreted and re-interpreted to address dominant trends and changes in democratic societies. The module identifies some of the challenges confronting democratic theory and practice, and it examines differences between old and new democracies. Throughout the module special emphasis is given to the dynamics of democratic institution and democratic renewal.

This module aims to provide a rounded understanding of key theories that inform thinking about development, especially since the Cold War, and an understanding of some of the most significant policy debates in international development today. It will provide a framework of ideas within which to understand current debates about development theories, and give you a comprehensive understanding of major problems and policy debates within the field of development. You will also examine the application of major policies on developing countries; critically assess the social, political and economic impact of globalisation and liberalisation on the developing economies; and consider the changing relations between the state and civil society in the developing world.

Your main focus throughout this module will be on the domestic and international politics of China and India, and on empirical examples of the global change characterised by the predicted rise of these two non-Western states. The aim will be to go beyond the news headlines to develop a scholarly and critical understanding of the emerging great powers. This offers you an opportunity to train in international relations and recognise, understand, and deal with the changes in the global political landscape.

This module aims at evaluating the relevance of contemporary debates in international relations and political economy to the study of energy security, energy markets and climate change. It examines the political history of the modern energy systems and the role played by states and major private and state-owned companies. In addition, it explores the role of global institutions and their impact on the interplay between energy security, energy markets and climate change. The module also critically assesses standard approaches to the issue of energy security by focusing on the problem of energy poverty and resilience.

*Subject to approval.

This module investigates the nature and process of ‘transition’ in formerly authoritarian (mainly communist) countries since the beginning of the 1990s. The concept of transition will be explored in a global context, looking at different regions’ particular versions and legacies of authoritarianism. Drawing on comparative politics and international political economy, shifts in the roles of state, civil society and economy will be investigated, as will their political and governmental implications.

You will explore the EU as a polity and as a system of governance. The module offers a practice-led survey of governance issues in the EU, informed by relevant theoretical approaches. You will cover the legal framework of the EU and the roles of member state and institutional actors in its decision-making processes; questions of institutional efficiency, accountability and the wider legitimacy of the EU; and characterisations of the EU as a polity and as a global actor.

The module focuses on current debates on Middle Eastern politics from a number of perspectives, with a focus on the role of Islam. You will be introduced to a variety of theoretical approaches to studying the modern Middle East, to relevant perspectives in International Relations, to selected case studies and various contributions to the debate from inside and outside the Arab world. A multidisciplinary approach will be adopted, where you will be steered through the fields of comparative politics, Islamic and Middle Eastern studies, and social and political theory so that at the end you will have achieved, in addition to familiarity with key issues in modern Middle Eastern politics, an appreciation of the theoretical perspectives being covered. In the process, you will be encouraged to develop a critical understanding of the workings of the region and challenged to assess the explanations given and provide your own explanations. 

The module explores and compares a range of approaches to analysing and evaluating governance and policy, assessing the understandings of democracy that they imply. These approaches are introduced through a range of case studies relating to policy making in contrasting national and international contexts. You will explore the challenges of defining and delivering policy across a range of international, national and sub-national contexts, and reflect on the implications of these challenges for democracy.

The module will introduce the students to new theories and different ways of looking at the core concepts of international relations, and enable them to utilise these to understand the transformations in global politics brought about by the rise of non-Western states. Key concepts and key issues from international relations, especially those salient for West-nonWest relations and for the Global South in general, will be examined from different critical perspectives.

Since the 2000s the global energy landscape that took shape in the last two decades of the twentieth century has been altered due to major geo-political and geo-economical shifts, the rise of new players in the energy sector and technological breakthroughs. The aim of this module is to analyse the impact that these developments had on the energy security of key producing and consuming countries. It will analyse these problems by focusing on change and continuity in the decision-making processes of state and non-state actors. Countries covered include the US, the EU, the Asian rising powers, Russia and specific case studies from the Middle East, Central Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa.

*Subject to approval.

You will explore the European Union’s international role: as an international trade partner; in its evolving competencies in foreign policy; in its dealings with NATO, the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and its member states over defence and security issues; in its relations with accession states and other ‘third states’; and in its self-image and values as an international actor. The module offers a practice-led survey of the EU’s external activities, informed by relevant theories.

This module introduces you to the theoretical frameworks and practices of the politics of global complexity, the debates that have been triggered, and the way that complexity understandings have developed, especially in the 1990s and 2000s. Emphasis is placed upon the conceptual frameworks deployed in understanding system effects on political, economic and social life and how these enable us to rethink democratic governance, power and agency. While focusing on conceptual frameworks, this module also engages with how complexity is reflected in new approaches to policy, and external stakeholders will provide input to the module (for example, the Social Market Foundation, Demos, the New Local Government Network and the Foreign Policy Centre).

You will explore the main 20th- and 21st-century theories of the state and examine the different approaches to the phenomenon of violence and its causes. The module examines the challenges arising from globalisation and will help you to grasp the new forms of antagonisms that have evolved in the new world order emerging after the collapse of the Soviet model.

Entry Requirements

Typical Offer

You should have a First Class or Upper Second Class Honours degree or equivalent in Social Sciences or Humanities; equivalent qualifications from overseas are welcome. Your application must be supported by a reference written on institutional notepaper by an academic familiar with your abilities. Applications from mature candidates are welcomed.

If your first language is not English, you will need an IELTS overall score of 6.5 and 6.0 in Writing, Listening, Reading and Speaking or equivalent. The University offers pre-sessional summer programmes if you need to improve your English before starting your course.

View more information about our entry requirements and the application process

 

Typical Offer

You should have a First Class or Upper Second Class Honours degree or equivalent in Social Sciences or Humanities; equivalent qualifications from overseas are welcome. Your application must be supported by a reference written on institutional notepaper by an academic familiar with your abilities. Applications from mature candidates are welcomed.

If your first language is not English, you will need an IELTS overall score of 6.5 and 6.0 in Writing, Listening, Reading and Speaking or equivalent. The University offers pre-sessional summer programmes if you need to improve your English before starting your course.

View more information about our entry requirements and the application process

More information

 

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In 2015–16, we helped over 1,500 students find work placements across a range of sectors, with 250 employers attending 14 on-campus skills and careers fairs.

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We can help you:

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  • meet employers and explore your career options at our employer fairs, careers presentations and networking events throughout the year

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Fees and Funding

UK and EU tuition fee: £3,750 (price per academic year)

Find out how we set our tuition fees.

Alumni discount

This course is eligible for an alumni discount. Find out if you are eligible and how to apply by visiting our Alumni discounts page.

Funding

As well as tuition fee loans, there is a range of funding available to help you fund your studies.

Find out about postgraduate student funding options.

Scholarships

The University is dedicated to supporting ambitious and outstanding students and we offer a variety of scholarships to eligible undergraduate students, which cover all or part of your tuition fees.

Find out if you qualify for one of our scholarships.

Additional costs

See what you may need to pay for separately and what your tuition fees cover.

International tuition fee: £6,500 (price per academic year)

Find out how we set our tuition fees.

Alumni discount

This course is eligible for an alumni discount. Find out if you are eligible and how to apply by visiting our Alumni discounts page.

Funding

Find out about funding for international students.

Scholarships

The University is dedicated to supporting ambitious and outstanding students and we offer a variety of scholarships to eligible undergraduate students, which cover all or part of your tuition fees.

Find out if you qualify for one of our scholarships.

Additional costs

See what you may need to pay for separately and what your tuition fees cover.

Course Location

Our Regent Campus is composed of three sites all situated on and around one of the most famous and vibrant streets in London. The Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities is based at 309 Regent Street and includes recently refurbished social spaces and gym facilities. Students in the faculty are also taught at our Wells Street site. Westminster Law School resides at Little Titchfield Street. Alongside a full mock courtroom, hi-tech learning spaces and a pro-bono clinic, it also houses our state-of-the-art, 382-seat lecture theatre. For more details, visit our locations page.

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