Strategic Studies (MLitt) 2024 entry

The information on this page is for 2024 entry. If you are considering applying for 2025 entry or later, some of these details may differ and we advise you to check the page again before you apply. To receive a notification of when applications open for 2025 entry, please register your interest.

The MLitt in Strategic Studies addresses core themes in strategic studies, enabling students to apply knowledge of strategy-making and strategic thinking as a historical practice to armed conflict.

Start date
September 2024
End date
September 2025
One year full time
School of International Relations

Application deadline

Friday 26 April 2024

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

“The most valuable part of the programme is the community, with plenty of opportunities to build friendships, networks, and learn more about the research within the School. Fortnightly events with visiting academics and policymakers have provided a great chance to discuss realistic applications of theories and have provided inspiration for essays and my dissertation topic. The modules have suited my interests and future career aspirations and are impressive in their scope and depth. Not only will I have a great qualification from a reputable university, but I have also formed friendships that will continue throughout my career.”
- Aarhus, Denmark

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.

Application requirements

  • CV or résumé 
  • personal statement indicating your knowledge of the programme and how it will benefit you (500 words) 
  • sample of your own, single-authored academic written work (2,000 words maximum) 
  • two original signed academic references 
  • academic transcripts and degree certificates.

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

English language proficiency

If English is not your first language, you may need to provide an English language test score to evidence your English language ability.  See approved English language tests and scores for this course.

Course details

The MLitt in Strategic Studies is a one-year taught postgraduate programme run jointly by the Schools of International Relations and History, and is linked to the Institute for the Study of War and Strategy


  • The course is firmly grounded in a historical approach to the subject, with a view to strategic theory as a subfield of both intellectual history and political theory. 
  • The wide-ranging choice of optional modules enables students to tailor the programme’s taught elements to their individual requirements and interests. 


The modules published below are examples of what has been taught in previous academic years and may be subject to change before you start your programme. For more details of each module, including weekly contact hours, teaching methods and assessment, please see the module catalogue.

  • Modern War and Strategy: provides students with essential knowledge of strategy and military history as well as the necessary skills and techniques for independent further study of topics and questions in strategic studies. 
  • Strategic Thought: provides students with essential knowledge of strategic thought and the history of strategic thought as well as an overview of the academic field of strategic studies. 

Students choose two from the range of optional modules available. Modules dedicated for Strategic Studies students include: 

  • Directed Reading in the History of War and Strategy 
  • The Influence of seapower on history 1805-present 
  • Carl Von Clausewitz: Life, Work and Reception 
  • Emergent Great Powers 
  • The Military in Politics 

Modules across the School of International Relations are also available to choose from, depending on availability of spaces, which include: 

  • African Political Thought 
  • Conflict and Peace in Post-communist Eurasia 
  • International Relations of the Modern Middle East 
  • International Society and Central Asia 
  • Nationalism and Ethnic Conflict 
  • Political Order and Violence in the Middle East  
  • Politics after the Death of God: Evil and Tragedy in Modern Politics 
  • Security and Development in East Asia 
  • Spaces of Securitization
  • State Responses to Terrorism 
  • Terrorism and Liberal Democracy
  • Terrorism and Theories of Collective Action 
  • The Changing Face(s) of Diplomacy: Emotions, Power and Persuasion in International Relations 
  • Theories of Friendship and Enmity

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 strategic 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. The completed dissertation must be submitted by the end of August.

If students choose not to complete the dissertation requirement for the MLitt, there are exit awards 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 programme consists of four taught modules taken over two semesters and a 15,000-word dissertation in an area of your choice.

Modules are mainly seminar-based.

Seminars normally have no more than 12 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. 


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. 

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

Institute for the Study of War and Strategy is a research group within the School of International Relations. The Institute holds a regular speakers series across Semester 1 and 2, and organises a wide range of one-off conferences. Examples of past topics for conferences included the role of airpower in modern warfare and the role of deterrence theory in the domain of cyber warfare. 




Application fee

Before we can begin processing your application, a payment of an application fee of £50 is required. In some instances, you may be eligible for an application fee waiver. Details of this, along with information on our tuition fees, can be found on the postgraduate fees and funding page.

Funding and scholarships

The University of St Andrews is committed to attracting the very best students, regardless of financial circumstances.

15% Recent Graduate Discount

If you have graduated from the University within the last three academic years, you may be eligible for a 15% discount on postgraduate taught tuition fees. Terms and conditions apply.

Taught postgraduate scholarships    Postgraduate loans

After your degree


Students who graduate from the MLitt in Strategic Studies go on to work in various professional fields including: 

  • law 
  • policy research and consultancy 
  • NGOs 
  • charities 
  • international organisations 
  • civil service 
  • publishing. 

The Careers Centre offers one-to-one advice to all students as well as a programme of events to assist students in building their employability skills.

Further study

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

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

Postgraduate research

What to do next

Online information events

Join us for one of our information events where you can find out about different levels of study and specific courses we run. There are also sessions available for parents and college counsellors.

Postgraduate online visiting days

We encourage all students who are thinking of applying to the University to attend one of our online visiting days.

Contact us

+44 (0)1334 46 1944
School of International Relations
The Arts Building
The Scores
St Andrews
KY16 9AX

School of International Relations website