Contemporary security research and policy-making focus heavily on the causes and consequences of violent and non-violent political conflict. This MSc trains students to apply empirical methods to explore the causes of terrorism, civil, and international conflict, the application of military force, humanitarian intervention, and the provision of global public goods.
Modes and duration
Tuition fees (2021/22)
Note on fees: The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Students website: ucl.ac.uk/students/fees.
Fee deposit: 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.
As a minimum, an upper second-class Bachelor's degree from a UK university; a CGPA of 3.3; or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard. Relevant practical or work experience in a related field may also be taken into account.
English language requirements
If your education has not been conducted in the English language, you will be expected to demonstrate evidence of an adequate level of English proficiency.
The English language level for this programme is: Advanced
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. International Preparation Courses
Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.
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.
Select your country:
About this degree
Students develop an understanding of theoretical approaches and debates in security studies, and the ability to analyse how forms of violent and non-violent political conflict emerge, diffuse, are managed, and are resolved. They gain the qualitative and quantitative research skills required to collect and analyse empirical evidence in a selective and systematic way.
Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.
The programme consists of four core modules (75 credits), optional modules (45 credits) and a research dissertation (60 credits).
Upon successful completion of 180 credits, you will be awarded a MSc in Security Studies.
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 is subject to change.
- International Peace and Security (30)
- Violent and Non-Violent Conflict (15)
- Qualitative Methods: Interviews, Observations and Mixed Methods (15)
- or Qualitative Methods: Texts and Images (15)
- or Qualitative Methods: Case Studies and Comparative Analysis (15)
- Introduction to Quantitative Methods or Advanced Quantitative Methods (15)
Choose one of the following 15 credit methods modules (the other modules remain available as options). Please note that the precise list of modules may vary year by year.
- Rebellion (15)
- Conflict Resolution and Post-War Development (15)
- Governing Divided Societies (15)
- Terrorism (15)
- War and International Law (15)
- Foreign Policy Analysis (15)
Further modules can be chosen up to a value of 30 credits in total from a list available on our website. The full list of modules offered by the Department is subject to change year-to-year.
All MSc students undertake an individual research project which culminates in a dissertation of 10,000 words.
Teaching and learning
The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures and seminars, and is taught by scholars who have subject-specific knowledge and have carried out theoretical and empirical research in the field. Students will be assessed by a variety of methods: unseen examinations, long essays and the dissertation.
For more information on additional costs for prospective students please go to our estimated cost of essential expenditure at Accommodation and living costs.
Scholarships relevant to this department are displayed below.
- £11,000 (1 year)
- Based on academic merit
For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.
Graduates of the programme are ideally placed to develop careers in the field of international relations, public policy and political analysis. Many graduates go on to further research study at UCL or other universities in the UK or overseas.
The Security Studies MSc is designed with the intention of endowing students with an advanced set of methodological skills that enable them to collect and analyse real-world data to test theoretically-informed hypotheses about the sources, impacts, and resolution of various forms of non-violent and violent political conflict. These analytical skills have enabled prior students to gain employment across the sectors, including positions on the civil service fast stream, at private sector political risk firms and banks, and in niche area NGOs and charitable organisations helping to tackle poverty and unrest at home and abroad.
Why study this degree at UCL?
UCL Political Science is recognised as a centre of excellence in the field and offers a uniquely stimulating environment for the study of all fields of politics.
Students benefit from weekly seminars featuring distinguished external speakers, and regular high-profile events for policymakers and others.
The research preparation and tailor-made interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary training students receive is one of the highest available in the world, in one of the world's top universities, as reflected in its performance in a range of rankings and tables.
Department: Political Science
Application and 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.
This programme requires two references. Further information regarding references can be found in our How to apply section.
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: ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/graduate/taught/application.
Who can apply?
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, European issues, international relations, law, philosophy, politics, political science or sociology.
- All applicants
- 31 May 2021
For more information see our Applications page.Apply now
What are we looking for?
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 marks, the department will calculate all years of undergraduate study.
UCL is regulated by the Office for Students.