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Certificate in Security Research


This certificate provides students about to enroll on a security-related PhD programme with a thorough understanding of the problem domain: threats to society, infrastructure and individuals. The programme focuses on how to apply science better to understand crime problems and develop effective risk reduction measures.

Students taking this course will be given an introduction to the crime spectrum and the theories that were developed to model security threats and other crime phenomena. They will develop the ability to apply scientific principles to crime control, combine multidisciplinary knowledge to investigate contemporary security problems, appreciate the complexity of development and implementation issues, critically assess the likely impact of security technologies and generate ambitious research proposals for reducing particular security problems.

This multi-disciplinary Certificate was specially designed for those holding a Master’s degree in a scientific discipline, and who would like to gain a foundational knowledge in security before embarking on a security related PhD. The lectures of this course are also part of the MRes in Security Science which is the first year of UCL’s integrated doctoral programme in security science.

Collaborative working is an important aspect of this multidisciplinary programme. Immersed in the atmosphere of UCL SECReT, the Certificate students mix with peers from various backgrounds including architecture, computer science, statistics, electronic engineering, chemistry, forensic sciences, psychology, philosophy, ethics and laws. There is no better place to learn how different fields can be combined to address security challenges.

Availability: Full-time 3 months

Students undertake modules to the value of 60 credits. The programme consists of 4 core modules.

Core Modules

  • Doing Research in Security Science: The aim of the modules is to prepare students to plan scientific research in security science and to introduce graduate students to the logic of scientific research in the areas of security science.
  • Foundations of Security and Crime Science: The purpose of this module is to set out the foundational concepts, theories and approaches that underpin the masters programmes offered in the Department of Security and Crime Science. In this way the module provides an overarching framework for the modules that follow. It outlines the distinctive nature of the crime science approach to understanding, preventing, detecting and investigating crime and security problems. It presents the key theories that explain the temporal and spatial patterning of crime and terrorism events, and introduces students to associated strategies for disrupting these patterns. The need for a multidisciplinary approach – especially the integration of the social and physical sciences - to address crime and security problems is emphasised, with the contributions of the forensic sciences and security technology highlighted.  Assessment: one exam.
  • Global Security Challenges: Any search for innovative solutions must begin with an understanding of the problem. The contemporary security agenda has broadened, coming to encompass "traditional" questions, such as terrorism, crime, proliferation, and military intervention, and other global issues, such as migration, health, and the environment, all of which have a fundamental security dimension. This module introduces students to the many domains of application of security science through an overview of key security challenges and concepts.
  • Risk and Contingency Planning: presents key elements of security risk theory including quantitative risk assessment. It introduces students to systems-thinking approach, and equips them with an understanding of techniques and tools to identify and evaluate security risks. This module will also provide research students with a basic knowledge of key scientific principles behind security systems and technologies.


  • There are no optional modules on this programme.


Not applicable

Teaching and Learning

This intensive programme is delivered through lectures, seminars, tutorials, and practical exercises during 12 weeks starting at the end of September. Practical work involves the analysis and interpretation of data sets, and the development of new ideas for solving problems. Assessment is through class tests, unseen written examinations, coursework and presentations in December and January.

A minimum of an upper second-class Bachelor's degree in a relevant discipline from a UK university or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard. Due to the limited number of places applicants who also hold a strong Master’s degree will be prioritized. Relevant disciplines include science subjects (e.g. engineering or computer science) or social science subjects (e.g. psychology or geography). Proficiency in the use of spoken and written English is required. Students whose first language is not English will need to meet the College's English language requirement.

How to apply

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.

The deadline for applications is 19 August 2014.

Who can apply?

This programme is specially designed for those holding a Master’s degree in a scientific discipline who would like to gain a foundational knowledge in security before embarking on a security-related PhD. (The lectures are also part of the Security Science MRes, which forms the first year of UCL’s integrated doctoral training programme).

What are we looking for?

When we assess your application we would like to learn:

  • why you want to study Security Research at graduate level
  • why you want to study Security Research at UCL
  • what particularly attracts you to this programme
  • how your personal, academic and professional background meets the demands of a challenging 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.


All applications are made online at the following link:

Scholarship Schemes
Please click here for funding and scholarship schemes.  

Certificate in Security Research
Home/EU £2,900 
Overseas £7,200

With the rise of security concerns on the political agenda, skilled leaders with a holistic understanding of security, risk, usability and ethics are in high demand. Whether you are planning to design more resilient cities, build sensors to detect rhino poachers or develop nano-tags for counterfeits detection, this programme will help you acquire the knowledge and skills you need to develop more impactful research ideas and to build a network of key contacts in your field.

Armed with the right skills and a strong foundation, a PhD is often described as one of the most exciting and rewarding experiences one can undertake. The Postgraduate Certificate in security research is designed to empower research students to drive their doctoral projects and make the most of the resources available around them. Whatever your discipline, this course will help you understand how your skills could be applied to real security problems, and improve the impact of your research in our society. 

Page last modified on 19 nov 13 12:09