Security Studies MSc

London, Bloomsbury

This MSc will deepen your understanding of the world's most pressing security challenges and develop your analytical and methodological skills to address them. Security studies focus on the causes and consequences of international and civil conflict. The MSc will train you to apply empirical methods to understand why conflicts escalate to international and civil wars, the logic of wartime strategies and technologies, and how to end and prevent violent conflict.

UK students International students
Study mode
UK tuition fees (2024/25)
Overseas tuition fees (2024/25)
1 calendar year
2 calendar years
Programme starts
September 2024
Applications accepted
Applicants who require a visa: 16 Oct 2023 – 28 Jun 2024
Applications close at 5pm UK time

Applications open

Applicants who do not require a visa: 16 Oct 2023 – 30 Aug 2024
Applications close at 5pm UK time

Applications open

Entry requirements

As a minimum, an upper second-class Bachelor's degree from a UK university or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard; Applicants should ideally have a background in political science, international relations, law, European studies, history, philosophy, economics, or a related subject. Relevant practical or work experience in a related field may also be taken into account.

The English language level for this programme is: Level 4

UCL Pre-Master's and Pre-sessional English courses are for international students who are aiming to study for a postgraduate degree at UCL. The courses will develop your academic English and academic skills required to succeed at postgraduate level.

Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.

Equivalent qualifications

Country-specific information, including details of when UCL representatives are visiting your part of the world, can be obtained from the International Students website.

International applicants can find out the equivalent qualification for their country by selecting from the list below. Please note that the equivalency will correspond to the broad UK degree classification stated on this page (e.g. upper second-class). Where a specific overall percentage is required in the UK qualification, the international equivalency will be higher than that stated below. Please contact Graduate Admissions should you require further advice.

*Should you experience any issues with the drop-down below, try de-selecting the country and re-selecting it. If this doesn't work, then you may refer to this page which may help you find the same equivalencies - check the Entry requirements above beforehand. Please note the table is indicative only, revisiting when the dropdown is working to confirm is recommended.

About this degree

Students develop an understanding of theoretical approaches and debates in security studies, and the ability to analyse how different forms of violent and non-violent political conflict emerge, diffuse, are managed and resolved. They are also equipped with the qualitative and quantitative research skills required to collect and analyse empirical evidence in a systematic way.

Who this course is for

The programme is suitable for students who wish to specialise in security studies for a career and/or further research in the fields of international relations, public policy and political analysis. Applicants should ideally have a background in economics, history, international relations, law, political science, psychology or sociology.

What this course will give you

UCL Political Science is recognised as a centre of excellence in the field of peace and conflict studies and offers a uniquely stimulating environment for the study of international security.

Students benefit from a world-class diverse faculty that actively influences contemporary debates in this field, as well as, seminars featuring distinguished external speakers, and regular high-profile events with academics and policymakers..

Thanks to faculty members' outstanding expertise in all relevant topics. the methodological and substantive training students receive in this programme is one of the finest available globally. Students also; benefit from the multidisciplinary nature of the programme. Beyond the recognised quality of its core research faculty, the MSc in Security Studies is embedded in a first-rate political science department in one of the world's top universities, as reflected in a range of rankings.

The foundation of your career

The Security Studies MSc is designed to endow students with an advanced set of analytical and methodological skills that enable them to collect and analyse data to test theoretically-informed hypotheses relating to the causes and consequences of conflict and related security issues. These analytical skills have made our students attractive for employers across many sectors, including the civil service, the private sector; (e.g. in political risk analysis), NGOs and international organisations.


Graduates of the programme are ideally placed to develop careers in the fields of international relations, public policy and political analysis. Many graduates go on to study their PhD at UCL or other universities in the UK or overseas.


Students will have the opportunity to meet leading academics and experts in the subject field during their studies. The department also organises an annual Careers Week which brings together alumni, industry speakers and skills workshops.

Teaching and learning

The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures and seminars and is taught by scholars who have subject-specific knowledge have substantially contributed to the key academic debates and knowledge in the field and have a clear grasp on policy debates.

Students will be assessed by a variety of methods: examinations, long essays, policy papers and the dissertation.

You should allocate 150 hours to each 15-credit module. These includes 20 contact hours and 130 study hours.


You will undertake a series of compulsory modules covering key substantive knowledge and methodological skills You will further attend optional module(s)  which will allow you to personalise your degree in order to fit your own academic and/or professional interests. Finally, you will write a dissertation featuring your original take on a debate within the field.

In term one, you will take a compulsory module on “International Peace and Security”, which introduces you to major themes and debates in the contemporary study of international security, peace and conflict. You will also attend compulsory modules on quantitative methods (introductory or casual inference , depending on prior training) and on “Violent and Non-Violent Conflict”.

In term two, you will take a compulsory module on qualitative methods ( depending on prior training). It is recommended your module selection on the second term already aligns with what you will need for your dissertation research.

In terms one and two, you will also choose at least one of six semi-compulsory modules, plus two optional modules in the fields of comparative politics, international relations, public policy and political theory. Our course; offer is vast and allows you to tailor your degree to the area you want to specialise in Please consult the department’s website for an overview of modules.

In term three, you will sit exams and work on your MSc dissertation project, in one-to-one meetings with your dissertation supervisor and by conducting independent research.

The programme structure for part-time students follows the same structure as our full-time students. We do encourage our part-time students to distribute their study evenly between the two years of study.

Upon completion you will have undertaken modules to the value of 180 credits, comprising of compulsory modules covering key substantive and methodological concepts and a dissertation. You will have further attended elective module(s) so you can personalise your programme of study to your own academic or professional interests.

Please note that the list of modules given here is indicative. This information is published a long time in advance of enrolment and module content and availability are subject to change. Modules that are in use for the current academic year are linked for further information. Where no link is present, further information is not yet available.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits. Upon successful completion of 180 credits, you will be awarded an MSc in Security Studies.


Details of the accessibility of UCL buildings can be obtained from AccessAble Further information can also be obtained from the UCL Student Support and Wellbeing team.

Fees and funding

Fees for this course

UK students International students
Fee description Full-time Part-time
Tuition fees (2024/25) £19,300 £9,650
Tuition fees (2024/25) £31,100 £15,550

The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Where the programme is offered on a flexible/modular basis, fees are charged pro-rata to the appropriate full-time Master's fee taken in an academic session. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Students website:

Additional costs

All full-time students are required to pay a fee deposit of £1,000 for this programme. All part-time students are required to pay a fee deposit of £500.

There are no additional costs for this programme.

For more information on additional costs for prospective students please go to our estimated cost of essential expenditure at Accommodation and living costs.

Funding your studies

For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.

Aziz Foundation Scholarships in Social and Historical Sciences

Value: Full tuition fees (equivalent to 1yr full-time) (1yr)
Criteria Based on financial need
Eligibility: UK

GREAT Scholarship

Deadline: 14 May 2024
Value: £10,000 towards tuition fees (1 year)
Criteria Based on both academic merit and financial need
Eligibility: EU, Overseas

Next steps

Students are advised to apply as early as possible due to competition for places. Those applying for scholarship funding (particularly overseas applicants) should take note of application deadlines.

There is an application processing fee for this programme of £90 for online applications and £115 for paper applications. Further information can be found at Application fees.

When we assess your application we would like to learn:

  • why you want to study Security Studies at graduate level
  • why you want to study Security Studies at UCL
  • what particularly attracts you to this programme
  • how your personal, academic and professional background meets the demands of a challenging and truly international academic environment
  • where you would like to go professionally with your degree

Together with essential academic requirements, the personal statement is your opportunity to illustrate whether your reasons for applying to this programme match what the programme will deliver.

When it is necessary to calculate a final average mark, the department will calculate all years of undergraduate study.

Please note that you may submit applications for a maximum of two graduate programmes (or one application for the Law LLM) in any application cycle.

Choose your programme

Please read the Application Guidance before proceeding with your application.

Year of entry: 2024-2025

Got questions? Get in touch

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