Terrorism and Political Violence – online (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 online 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. The course is designed to be as flexible as possible, and can be completed in between 2 and 5 years.

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

Start date
September 2024
End date
Varies depending on how long you take to complete the course
Minimum two years part-time; maximum five years part-time
School of International Relations

Application deadline

Sunday 30 June 2024

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

Entry requirements

  • A 2.1 Honours degree in political science, international relations, social sciences or other relevant discipline.
  • A 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.

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 explaining how this programme will enhance your professional development (1,000 words) 
    sample of your own, single-authored previous academic written work or a piece on 'The threat of terrorism is greatly exaggerated. Discuss.' (2,000 words) 
  • two original signed academic or professional 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 online learning MLitt in Terrorism and Political Violence is a part-time taught postgraduate programme led by the Handa Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence, the oldest terrorism research centre in Europe, based within the School of International Relations.


  • The programme examines contemporary understandings of terrorism and counterterrorism by drawing on a wide range of relevant cases and considers the development of new responses to terrorism and political violence.
  • The programme blends e-learning technologies with traditional teaching methods.


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.

Each module typically comprises: 

  • two one-hour tutorials per month, plus advertised office hours to speak with academic members of staff.
  • a minimum of eight hours of guided independent study per week 
  • pre-recorded lecture materials.


Online students are required to take four compulsory modules concurrently over two to four years. Each module is completed between September and May. 

  • Fundamental Issues and Structures of Terrorism: introduces the core conceptual issues of terrorism and political violence focusing on the definition of terrorism, the history of terrorism as a societal threat and the causes of terrorist 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; 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.  
  • Online 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. 

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 Handa CSTPV 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 allows 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 course is delivered through mixed-mode teaching, which involves online tutorials alongside e-lectures.

Online tutorial support includes:

  • regular web conferencing
  • direct email contact with tutors
  • podcasts of interviews with area experts
  • access to course materials, including electronic journals.

Assessment is 100% coursework which includes essays and projects. 

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

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


Each February, the centre hosts a non-compulsory postgraduate workshop in which both full-time and online students are invited to attend to hear from experts in the field, to network, and to meet one-to-one with lecturers and supervisors.

Both CSTPV and the School of international relations host a variety of research seminars throughout the academic session to promote the work of the academic staff, students and visiting speakers. Where possible, we try to make these accessible to students studying online with us. 



Home £2,355 per module, £4,720 MLitt dissertation module

£4,990 per module, £9,990 MLitt dissertation module

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 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
  • journalism
  • 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 residential Master of Philosophy (MPhil) degree option in International Relations.

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 1931
School of International Relations
The Arts Building
The Scores
St Andrews
KY16 9AX

School of International Relations website