MLitt in Terrorism and Political Violence

The Handa Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence (CSTPV) at the University of St Andrews is pleased to offer an MLitt in Terrorism and Political Violence. Our ground-breaking programme will seek to develop in its students an understanding on the latest thinking on terrorism.

The MLitt offers students the opportunity to take research-led taught Modules and also to develop a piece of systematic research in a Dissertation focusing on a selected area of Terrorism and Political Violence.

This postgraduate programme is available for both full and part-time study. E-learning technologies mean that students can take the part-time Course on a distance-learning basis.

The MLitt in Terrorism and Political Violence offers students the opportunity to learn from acknowledged experts in the field. A sample of the research interests of CSTPV teaching staff can be found on our research panel.

Please visit our "Hear from our Students" page to read what our former students have said about the course.

For further information regarding modules, assessments, applications and fees please view the information on the University's Digital Prospectus.

Full-time (Residential)  Part-time (Distance)
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General Information

  • Full-time (Residential)

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    Full time students must complete the four modules of the Post Graduate Diploma in 9 months with the MLitt dissertation taking a further 3 months.

    The next intake for this residential program will commence in September 2017 and will be delivered via mixed mode teaching. This involves traditional teaching methods in the form of tutorials alongside e-teaching methods.

    This innovative method of teaching allows flexibility for students and access to a wider range of teaching facilities. The PgDip/ MLitt is semesterised and students will take four modules per year.

    Students may opt to leave the programme with the Post Graduate Diploma in Terrorism and Political Violence.

    Full-time students take four modules per year to complete the Postgraduate Diploma.

    Each module will take a semester to complete.

  • Part-time (Distance)

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    Part-time students will complete the programme in either two or four years. Each module is equivalent to one quarter of the workload of a full time 1 year course.

    All students will apply for the MLitt in Terrorism Studies but may opt to leave the programme with the Post Graduate Diploma in Terrorism and Political Violence.

    Part-time students may take one or two modules per year to complete the Postgraduate Diploma before completing the MLitt dissertation in their final year.

    After making their initial module choices for the year, students have up to one month to change these choices.

    Online Tutorials

    Online tutorial support includes regular web conferencing, direct email contact with tutors, podcasts of interviews with area experts and access to most course materials, including electronic journals, through the University’s e-learning platform.

    Students have regular tutorials for each of their modules. Part-time students will attend tutorials online. Most online tutorials for part-timers are conducted out of office hours.

    CSTPV uses the WebEx conferencing system for conducting tutorials. This allows the tutorial to be conducted with audio and/or video communication. Tutorials are used to discuss academic papers and to make presentations.

    WebEx is a cross platform system and supports Windows, Mac, Linux, Solaris, HP-UX and AIX Operating Systems.

    To use WebEX you will need access to your computer and a telephone line. If you wish to use the video as well as the audio you must have a web camera attached to your computer.

    All calls charged using the WebEX systems from a landline are charged at a local rate.

    elearning Provision

    The PgDip/MLitt in Terrorism and Political Violence will be delivered through the Moodle elearning platform whilst online tutorials will be provided through the WebEx conferencing system.

    Students will be expected to participate in discussion forums, video/audio conferencing and online assessments amongst other internet based activities. It is therefore axiomatic that e-learning courses place a premium on efficient IT systems. Due to issues with firewalls and restricted user privileges workplace IT systems are often ill-suited for the purpose. If you intend to use a work place computer you must ensure with your own IT department that you are able to install and run the various applications needed to access the course material. The University is unable to give technical help with regard to issues affecting company/external IT systems.

    It is often preferable to use a home PC but you should ensure that it is of a reasonable standard as you will encounter problems if they are old or of poor quality.

    Before starting your studies you must ensure that you meet the following minimum standards detailed in the section following.

    iBooks for iPad

    The course content of modules shared between full and part-time students will be available in iBook form. This will be provided as an alternative to the material found on the Moodle platform.

    Generally the module content for each iBook will consist of:

    • A comprehensive unit guide written by the module author(s)
    • Image Galleries
    • Video, including lectures [*]
    • Audio
    • Links to academic journal articles and other required reading.[**]

    [*]: Once the iBook is downloaded much of the content can be viewed offline. Wherever possible multimedia has been embedded within the book however in the case of some videos they will be offered as a stream and an internet connection will be needed to view.

    [**]: Links to the PDF versions of many journal articles and readings are provided and once accessed may be downloaded to the iPad for offline viewing.

  • Learning Outcomes

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    The programme will seek to develop in its students:

    • a critical understanding of the concept of terrorism and political violence within the context of a multidisciplinary approach to security studies
    • knowledge and understanding of the principal social and psychological factors that influence the emergence, development, and abandonment of terrorism as a method of waging conflict
    • an understanding and critical evaluation of the political context to contemporary terrorism
    • a capacity to critically assess terrorist incidents around the world, examine selected approaches to counter-terrorism, and the development of new responses
    • skills of literature search, the use of open source material, and an introduction to basic and principal elements of intelligence analysis
    • skills in research design and analysis using qualitative and quantitative techniques
  • What’s the difference between the MLitt/PgDip and the Certificate ?

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    A Post Graduate Diploma is typically a qualification that follows on from a first degree (a bachelors degree or (in the Scottish system) a Masters degree). Although the Post Graduate Diploma in Terrorism and Political Violence has an entry route for people who do not have a first degree, the level of the course is post graduate in character. That means that as well as dealing with complex conceptual issues, students are expected to engage in individual reading and research outside and beyond the course material, using the library and other resources available.

    In contrast the Certificate in Terrorism Studies is a highly structured and largely self contained introductory course, which whilst it does address complex conceptual issues, does not require the level of analysis and understanding, nor the degree of independent work, expected in a post graduate programme. The dissertation element of the programme undertaken for the MLitt is “a substantial paper that is typically based on original research and that gives evidence of the candidate’s mastery both of her own subject and of scholarly method.” The dissertation will show that the writer knows the subject, the key facts and different points of view in it and also advances a point of view resulting from original research.

  • Georgetown Exchange Programme

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    Starting from the 2012/2013 academic year the University of St Andrews, Scotland and Georgetown University, Washington D.C. have created a student transfer programme whereby postgraduate students have the opportunity to study abroad for one semester. Students from the Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence (CSTPV) at the University of St Andrews will have the opportunity to study at the Centre for Security Studies at Georgetown University and vice versa. Information regarding this programme will be provided to full-time students at the start of the academic year.

  • Continuing Study in St Andrews after the MLitt

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    Although CSTPV does not offer either an M.Phil or PHD it may be possible for you to apply to undertake a research degree with a supervisor from CSTPV. Full information is available here.

  • System Requirements

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    • PC - Windows 7, Windows 8

    • Apple Mac - Mac OS X 10.7 and later

    • Internet connection - Broadband or ISDN recommended

    • Web browser - See below for further details

    • Plug-ins & settings -See below for further details

    • Software: An office suite compatible with MS Word

    • Telephone

    Internet Browsers

    Moodle and WebEx will work in any modern web browser however there are occasionally features that work better in some browsers than in others. Currently, the best recommendation we have is to use the latest version of the Firefox ( or Chrome ( browser. Users using Internet Explorer 10 and earlier may find content does not behave as expected and are advised to upgrade to a later version.

    Your browser should also have both cookies and javascript enabled. These are typically enabled by default, but if you think these settings might need enabling, check the documentation for your particular browser for how to do this.


    You may need one or more of the plug-ins listed below. Browsers will generally automatically download any plug-in required by a particular page.

    Windows Media Player



    Animation and interactive content. Please note that the Chrome browser has Adobe Flash Player built in.

    Adobe Reader

    View, navigate, and print Adobe PDF files across all major computing platforms. Please note that Mac users may well prefer to use the built in Preview application rather than use Adobe Reader.

  • Distance Learning Funding News

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    Update on Scottish PG loans: Tuition fee loans of £5,500 are to be made available to distance learning students on taught postgraduate courses from next year. (

For further information regarding modules, assessments, applications and fees please view the information on the University's Digital Prospectus.

Full-time (Residential)  Part-time (Distance)