Terrorism and Political Violence – Distance Learning (MLitt) 2019 entry

The Distance Learning MLitt in Terrorism and Political Violence is a part-time online course that seeks to develop in students a critical understanding of the concept of terrorism and political violence within the context of a multidisciplinary approach to security studies.

Terrorism and Political Violence is also offered as a full-time residential programme.

Applications for 2019 entry for this course have now closed, see which courses are available for the upcoming academic year.

Course type

Postgraduate; leading to a Master of Letters (MLitt)

Course dates

  • Start date: 9 September 2019
  • End date: varies depending on how long you take to complete the course.

If you started this programme in 2018, you can find information about 2018 entry on the 2018 Terrorism and Political Violence – Distance Learning page. Information about all programmes from previous years of entry can be found in the archive.

Course duration

Minimum three years part time; maximum five years part time

Entry requirements

Students are required to have at least one of the following qualifications for entry to the programme:

  • A good 2.1 Honours degree in political science, international relations, social sciences or other relevant discipline.
  • A good 2.1 Honours degree in any other discipline; successful applicants from other disciplines will likely receive a conditional offer should they be unable to provide evidence of relevant professional experience or prior knowledge.
  • Significant professional or other relevant experience alongside evidence of prior alternative learning such as professional qualifications or certifications.

If you studied your first degree outside the UK, see the international entry requirements. Students will also need English language proficiency; see English language tests and qualifications.

The qualifications listed are indicative minimum requirements for entry. Some academic Schools will ask applicants to achieve significantly higher marks than the minimum. Obtaining the listed entry requirements will not guarantee you a place, as the University considers all aspects of every application including, where applicable, the writing sample, personal statement, and supporting documents.

Tuition fees

UK and EU: £1,815 per module, £3,620 MLitt dissertation module.
Overseas: £3,665 per module, £7,330 MLitt dissertation module.

Application deadline

30 June 2019. Applicants should apply as early as possible to be eligible for certain scholarships and for international visa purposes.

Application requirements

  • CV or résumé. This should include your personal details with a history of your education and employment to date
  • personal statement explaining how this programme will enhance your professional development (1,000 words)
  • sample of previous academic written work or a piece on "Terrorism is a written term" (2,000 words)
  • a note confirming you have access to a PC or laptop and an internet connection
  • two original signed academic or professional references
  • academic transcripts and degree certificates
  • evidence of English language proficiency (required if English is not your first language).
  • Applicants may be required to attend an online interview as part of the application process. 

For more guidance, see supporting documents and references for postgraduate taught programmes.

Course information

The Distance Learning MLitt in Terrorism and Political Violence is a part-time taught postgraduate programme run by the School of International Relations.


  • Study in Terrorism and Political Violence examines selected approaches to knowledge generation around terrorism and counterterrorism and considers the development of new responses to terrorism and political violence.
  • The programme utilises both e-learning technologies as well as traditional teaching methods.

Teaching format

The course is delivered via mixed mode teaching involving online tutorials alongside e-lectures.

Students will take four taught modules followed by a year-long research period culminating in the submission of a 15,000-word dissertation for the award of MLitt. Assessment comprises coursework including essays and projects.

Students who wish to exit the programme with a PGDip in Terrorism and Political Violence will not be required to undertake the dissertation element.

Online tutorial support includes regular web conferencing, direct email contact with tutors, podcasts of interviews with area experts and access to course materials, including electronic journals.

Every MLitt student is assigned a dissertation supervisor who will advise on the choice of subject and provide guidance throughout the research process.

Further particulars regarding curriculum development.


Each module typically comprises:

  • two one-hour tutorials per month plus advertised office hours
  • a minimum of eight hours of coursework per week
  • 100% coursework assessment.

For more details of each module, including weekly contact hours, teaching methods and assessment, please see the latest module catalogue which is for the 2018–2019 academic year; some elements may be subject to change for 2019 entry.

Distance learning students are required to take four compulsory modules over two to four years. Students are encouraged to only take one module per year; under certain circumstances, they may be permitted to take two. Each module is completed between September and May.

  • Distance Learning Electives: offers students the opportunity to apply the conceptual and theoretical knowledge gained in other modules to selected areas of application, reflecting when possible the student's own interests and needs.
  • Fundamental Issues and Structures of Terrorism: introduces the core conceptual issues of Terrorism and Political Violence.
  • Research Methods: presents appropriate research methods to enable students to critically understand the professional literature, and to lay the foundations to enable students to engage in further research.
  • State Responses to Terrorism: takes a holistic look at state responses to terrorism and political violence and students study the work of scholars from right across the social sciences and humanities who have sought to understand and explain aspects of state responses to terrorism. 

The final element of the MLitt is a 15,000-word dissertation. The dissertation should focus on an area of terrorism and political violence in which you are interested. Each student is supported by a relevant supervisor from the School who will advise on the choice of subject and provide guidance throughout the research process. The completed dissertation must be submitted by a date specified in August.

If students choose not to complete the dissertation requirement for the MLitt, there is an exit award available that allow suitably qualified candidates to receive a Postgraduate Diploma. By choosing an exit award, you will finish your degree at the end of the course of study and receive a PGDip instead of an MLitt.

The modules listed here are indicative, and there is no guarantee they will run for 2019 entry. Take a look at the most up-to-date modules in the module catalogue.

Conferences and events

The School of International Relations hosts a variety of research seminars throughout the academic session to promote the work of the faculty, students and visiting speakers.

The Centre for Study of Terrorism and Political Violence is dedicated to the study of the causes, dynamics, characteristics and consequences of terrorism and related forms of political violence. Each February, the centre hosts a non-compulsory postgraduate workshop in which both full-time and distance-learning students are invited to attend to hear from experts in the field, network, and meet one-to-one with lecturers and supervisors.

A number of student-led associations and organisations contribute to development and profile of International Relations throughout the University and the community.


Recent Graduate Discount
The University of St Andrews offers a 10% discount in postgraduate tuition fees to students who are eligible to graduate or who have graduated from St Andrews within the last three academic years and are starting a postgraduate programme with the University of St Andrews. 

Find out more about postgraduate scholarships. 

After the MLitt

Research degrees

In addition to the MLitt, the School offers a two-year residential Master of Philosophy (MPhil) degree option in International Relations.

The new Professional Doctorate (DProf) in International Relations offers a more flexible and attractive programme of research study to those students working in a professional capacity. Undertaken on a part-time basis, the DProf is open to experienced professionals who are employed in any area of work, including those in emerging professions and disciplines.

Many of our graduates continue their education by enrolling in a PhD programme at St Andrews. The Economic and Social Research Council provides PhD studentship funding for UK students which covers university and college fees and contributes towards living costs.

PhD in International Relations


Students who graduate from the MLitt in Terrorism and Political Violence go on to work in various professional fields including law, policy research and consultancy, non-governmental organisations, charities, international organisations, civil service and publishing.

The Careers Centre offers one-to-one advice to all students on a taught postgraduate course and offers a programme of events to assist students in building their employability skills.

Contact information

School of International Relations
University of St Andrews
Arts Building
The Scores
St Andrews
KY16 9AX

Phone: +44 (0)1334 46 1940
Email: tsadmin@st-andrews.ac.uk

International Relations website


Admission to the University of St Andrews is governed by our Admissions policy.

Curriculum development

As a research intensive institution, the University ensures that its teaching references the research interests of its staff, which may change from time to time. As a result, programmes are regularly reviewed with the aim of enhancing students' learning experience. Our approach to course revision is described online. (PDF, 72 KB).

Tuition fees

The University will clarify compulsory fees and charges it requires any student to pay at the time of offer. The offer will also clarify conditions for any variation of fees. The University’s approach to fee setting is described online. (PDF, 84 KB).