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International Security Studies (MLitt) 2021 entry

The MLitt in International Security Studies introduces international security through traditional and critical approaches. Students will learn to cultivate their own voice by engaging with different theoretical approaches and empirical case studies. 

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Course type

Postgraduate, leading to a Master of Letters (MLitt)

Course dates

  • Start date: 6 September 2021
  • End date: 30 September 2022

Information about all programmes from previous years of entry can be found in the archive.

Course duration

One year full time

Entry requirements

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.

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Tuition fees

UK: £11,990
Overseas: £24,240

Application deadline

Friday 30 April 2021. Applicants should apply as early as possible to be eligible for certain scholarships and for international visa purposes.

Application requirements

  • CV or résumé
  • personal statement indicating your knowledge of the programme and how it will benefit you (500 words)
  • sample of academic written work (2,000 words)
  • two original signed academic references
  • academic transcripts and degree certificates
  • evidence of English language proficiency (required if English is not your first language).

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

Course information

The MLitt in International Security Studies is a one-year taught postgraduate programme run by the School of International Relations.

Highlights

  • Allows students to study critical and traditional security approaches.
  • Ensures that students grasp the cutting-edge debates taking place in security studies. 
  • Invites students to think originally and pushes them to ask alternative questions. 
  • Provides opportunities for students to apply a wide array of theoretical lenses. 
  • Encourages students to focus on empirical case studies and global security issues.

Teaching format

The programme consists of four taught modules taken over two semesters and a 15,000-word dissertation in an area of your choice. The two compulsory modules will ground you in both long-standing and contemporary approaches to security issues.

Modules are taught through a mixture of lectures, seminars and tutorials. Average lecture sizes range from 20 to 30 students, and tutorial sizes range from 1 to 15 students. Assessment methods include a combination of examination and coursework.

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.

Modules

All International Security Studies MLitt students take two compulsory and two optional modules over the course of the programme.

The modules in this programme have varying methods of delivery and 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 2020–2021 academic year; some elements may be subject to change for 2021 entry.

  • Critical Security Studies: examines the challenge to traditional conceptions of security presented by the emergence of critical security studies since the end of the Cold War.
  • International Security: focuses on important issues and significant debates in security studies.

Here is a sample of optional modules that may be offered.

  • Agency and Strategy in Non-Western Political Thought: explores different elements of non-Western thought to understand assumptions about the body, political community and the world.
  • The Changing Face(s) of Diplomacy: Emotions, Power and Persuasion in International Relations: highlights the role of emotions, persuasion and communication technology into the diplomatic arena. 
  • Emergent Great Powers: provides a comparative analysis of the emergence of India and China as great powers within the international system.
  • Gender and Terrorism: familiarises students with how gender is a construction that privileges certain actors over and against others.
  • The Global Politics of Everyday Life: explores how everyday life and global politics are co-constitutive by drawing on a range of interdisciplinary theoretical perspectives.
  • The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: explores the complexities of the conflict from its origins to its recent evolution, drawing upon history, critical security, postcolonialism, and the politics of emotion. 
  • The Military in Politics: introduces students to civil-military relations and then analyses how armed forces impact states domestic politics.
  • Political Economy of Conflict: provides a political economy perspective on conflict in a developing economy.
  • Security and Development in East Asia: investigates whether there is a uniquely Asian approach to both security and development that produces a distinctive regional pattern of challenges and responses. 
  • Security and Insecurity in Contemporary Russian Politics: examines how the concepts of security and insecurity have come to underpin the Kremlin's approach to domestic politics and foreign policy in the post-communist era?  
  • Security and Justice Institutions in World Politics: examines the development and efficacy of institutions in the fields of peace, security and justice.
  • Spaces of Securitization: explores how securitization unfolds in theory and in practice by investigating the ‘spatial turn’ in international relations.

You may, with permission, take modules from other MLitt programmes in the School. 

Optional modules are subject to change each year and require a minimum number of participants to be offered; some may only allow limited numbers of students (see the University’s position on curriculum development). 

The final element of the MLitt is a 15,000-word dissertation. The dissertation should focus on an area of international security studies 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.

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 second semester 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 2021 entry. Take a look at the most up-to-date modules in the module catalogue.

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Research centres

The School of International Relations has three broad research themes:

  • conflict, peace and security
  • the evolving character of global and supra-national institutions
  • civil societies and international relations.

These themes are covered by the School's research centres:

Funding

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 Master of Philosophy (MPhil) degree option in International Security Studies.

Many graduates continue their education by enrolling in a PhD programme at St Andrews. 

PhD in International Relations

Careers

Students who graduate from the MLitt in International Security Studies frequently find employment in the foreign service, non-governmental agencies and security consulting, or advance to a PhD to pursue an academic career.

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.

"From the very start of the course I have felt supported and encouraged by members of staff and by fellow students. I have also benefited from a wide range of talks and masterclasses which made the academic world seem far more accessible. I have been provided with a range of skills and opportunities that I believe has uniquely prepared me for my future career."

Emily
Emily
- Dorset, England (2020)

 

"The International Security Studies programme, with its comprehensive curriculum, provides students with a thought-provoking understanding of past and present security issues. The modules provided in the first semester, covering both critical and traditional security perspectives, offered me the perfect opportunity to cultivate my own academic voice and curiosity. Working together with students and lecturers with diverse academic backgrounds and perspectives makes exploring new thoughts and challenges an enriching task. My studies at St Andrews has provided me with a strong foundation from where I have been able to start my future international career."

Sebastian
Sebastian
- Farsta, Sweden (2019)

Contact

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

Phone: +44 (0)1334 46 1944
Email: irpgt@st-andrews.ac.uk

International Relations website

Policies

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).

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