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Postgraduate study

Student in Arts Building

The School has a vibrant and substantial community of postgraduate students involved in both research and taught programmes.

The School Handbook contains further essential information for all (undergraduate and postgraduate) students.

Taught Programmes

The emphasis at postgraduate level is on small group teaching, with modules exclusively designed for the programmes. Postgraduates are encouraged to take part in the wider research life of the School by participating in research seminars and the activities of the various research centres.

The taught degrees consist of several components:

Students take 120 credits worth of taught modules, normally four 30 credit modules or their equivalents. Each degree has one or more core modules that all students take. The balance is made up of optional modules chosen in conjunction with the programme co-ordinator. A 15,000 word dissertation, worth 60 credits, written over the summer months, adds a significant research element to the M.Litt degree. The coursework elements must be passed at a high standard before progression to the dissertation is allowed.

We have a steady stream of students who go on to do M.Phil and PhD degrees.

  • M.Litt in International Security Studies

The Internatonial Security Studies programme attracts candidates of varied backgrounds from all over the world, many of whom go on the careers in politics, diplomacy, the armed forces, international organisations and business as well as academic research.

  • M.Litt in International Political Theory

The International Political Theory programme has been designed to offer students the opportunity of further study in past and contemporary international political theory.

  • M.Litt in Middle East and Central Asian Security Studies

The Middle East and Central Asian Security Studies programme is designed to further the interdisciplinary study of the Middle East and Central Asia. The programme's scholarly disciplines emphasize the international security, comparative politics, economics, history, cultures and societies of this strategically significant and vast geographic area.

  • M.Litt in Peace and Conflict Studies

The Peace and Conflict Studies programme aims to provide students with an opportunity to work on peace and conflict theory, broader issues relating to peacebuilding and peace processes (including gender, development, etc), and on specific case studies in conflict analysis. Perhaps most importantly, it will provide a guided fieldwork experience for students in a post-conflict and development setting, in order to introduce them to both the physical and intellectual terrain of a peace process.

  • M.Res in International Relations

The M.Res in International Relations is based on a new initiative in the Social Sciences to provide interdisciplinary training in the social sciences plus advanced research training in International Relations. It is intended to provide the research and professional skills that are required to perform doctoral research successfully. This allows students to pursue a subsequent 3-year Ph.D. after obtaining the M.Res (this is described as a "1+3" programme).

  • MLitt / PgDip in Terrorism Studies

The Centre for the Study of Terrorism at the University of St. Andrews is pleased to offer an e-learning based MLitt in Terrorism Studies. Our ground-breaking new programme will seek to develop in its students an understanding on the latest thinking on terrorism.


Research Programmes

The School has a number of students working in a wide variety of fields towards M./Phil and PhD degrees.

  • PhD

The PhD is studied over 3 years and requires the production of a thesis of up to 80,000 words and an oral examination (Viva voce).

  • M.Phil

The M.Phil is normally of 2 years duration. The first year comprises the taught components of an M.Litt, and the second a dissertation of about 40,000 words followed by an oral examination.

New students begin as General Research Students. At the end of the first year if they have completed their research training and first year of research satisfactorily, they are upgraded to Ph.D. or M. Phil status. The postgraduate committee meets with all first year students in the spring to decide on this change of status. Although a recommendation to re-register as a PhD student is the norm for students who are planning to do a PhD or M Phil, it is not automatic.

Transfer to a PhD or M. Phil programme will depend upon satisfactory progress on your research (based on your supervisors recommendation), completion of IR 5601 (Research methods in International Relations), your Training Programme and of your research proposal.

Application Procedure

Details of the application procedures for postgraduate programmes.