Security and Terrorism - PDip, MA

November Open Event

Meet us at our Canterbury campus or join our virtual Open Event. Come along from 17.00 - 19.00 on Wednesday 16 November to find out more about postgraduate study at Kent.

Examine a variety of theoretical and empirical materials needed for analysing pressing questions, relating to war, security and peace.

Overview

Gain a solid understanding of contemporary security challenges, from environmental degradation to gender based insecurity, and the ability to analyse these issues surrounding security and terrorism. Develop your research skills which will contribute to your specialist dissertation.

Reasons to study Security and Terrorism at Kent

  • We are the only politics and international relations school in the country with a postgraduate centre in Brussels
  • you’ll receive high-quality teaching with cutting-edge research in a supportive environment
  • you’ll benefit from being taught by world leading experts at the cutting edge of research, actively engaged in advising government and shaping debates.
  • be part of our vibrant, diverse and international student community, bringing different perspectives into dialogue and facilitating a global network of close connections. Read about our first town hall on Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity
  • you’ll gain the fundamental skills of analysis, interpretation and prediction, combined with the flexibility to follow your interest through a broad range of optional modules.
  • we have high-profile engagement through the Global Europe Centre and the Conflict Analysis Research Centre, which crystallise our research, policy and practitioner networks into an annual schedule of events.

What you’ll learn

Specialise in quantitative methodology for political science, governance and war in cyberspace, the European Union, conflict resolution, and negotiation and mediation. You’ll develop the skills necessary for independent research and application to real world problems.

See the modules you'll study

Why study an MA in Security and Terrorism at Kent? 


About the School of Politics and International Relations

The School of Politics and International Relations is one of the most dynamic places to study Politics and International Relations. We combine high-quality teaching with cutting-edge research in a supportive environment.

The School is cosmopolitan, with staff originating from eight different countries, and over half of all postgraduate students come from outside the UK. We pride ourselves on our global outlook, which is reflected in a wide range of international partnerships. We are the only politics and international relations school in the country with a postgraduate centre in Brussels, which allows students on some of our programmes to follow part, or their entire, programme in Brussels.

All lectures and seminars on postgraduate modules are informed by the latest research and scholarship, delivered by full-time academic staff who have internationally recognised expertise in their field. The School has over 30 academic staff based at two locations, Canterbury and Brussels.

Entry requirements

A first or second class honours degree or equivalent in a relevant subject.

All applicants are considered on an individual basis and additional qualifications, professional qualifications and relevant experience may also be taken into account when considering applications. 

International students

Please see our International Student website for entry requirements by country and other relevant information. Due to visa restrictions, students who require a student visa to study cannot study part-time unless undertaking a distance or blended-learning programme with no on-campus provision.

English language entry requirements

The University requires all non-native speakers of English to reach a minimum standard of proficiency in written and spoken English before beginning a postgraduate degree. Certain subjects require a higher level.

For detailed information see our English language requirements web pages. 

Need help with English?

Please note that if you are required to meet an English language condition, we offer a number of pre-sessional courses in English for Academic Purposes through Kent International Pathways.

Form

Sign up now

This field is required
This field is required
Please enter a valid email address
This field is required
This field is required
This field is required
This field is required
This field is required
This field is required
This field is required
Please tick here if you would like to receive further information by email or SMS about the courses available at the University of Kent, including information about relevant future events, scholarships, and other general information.
This field is required

If you would like further information about how the University of Kent will process your data, then please read our Privacy Notice.

Course structure

Duration: 1 year full-time, 2 years part-time. Students who start in January, finish at the end of the Spring Term in the following academic year.

Full-time students who start in September complete the MA in Security and Terrorism over 12 months. Study is divided between taught modules, which last for one term each, and dissertation work. For full-time students, a total of six modules must be taken over the first two terms. Supervised dissertation work, on a relevant agreed subject, is then undertaken during the remainder of the academic year.

Full-time students who start their programmes in January take their modules in the Spring Term and Autumn Term of the subsequent academic year consecutively, and write their dissertation over their second Spring Term.

The MA can be taken on a part-time basis, typically over two years but flexible arrangements are also possible. When taking it over two years, part-time students choose three modules in each academic year, and write a supervised dissertation thereafter.

The programme is also offered as a Postgraduate Diploma (comprising six taught modules only) worth 120 Kent credits (60 ECTS credits) which can be taken on a part-time basis.

Modules

The following modules are indicative of those offered on this programme. This list is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation.  Most programmes will require you to study a combination of compulsory and optional modules. You may also have the option to take modules from other programmes so that you may customise your programme and explore other subject areas that interest you.

Compulsory modules currently include

This module focuses on the evolution of security studies as a discipline and its implications for practice. We examine a variety of theoretical and empirical materials that provide students with the basis for analysing pressing questions related to issues of war, security and peace in the world today. This module thus provides a good grounding for understanding contemporary security challenges (such as the environmental degradation, conflict, gender-based insecurity, terrorism, mass surveillance and arms proliferation among others) and our responses to them. It will engage with debates around the 'broadening' and ‘deepening’ agenda of security studies, which has extended the scope of security studies beyond the nation-state, and the role of new security actors.

Find out more about POLI9160

The purpose of the module is to develop an understanding of the complex relationships between terrorism, counter-terrorism efforts, and human rights, both at home and abroad. Central to the module is the role of the state in responding to terrorism, in attempting to prevent terrorism, and in itself using and sponsoring terrorism. In this regard students are encouraged to re-evaluate assumptions about the state and its place in domestic and international politics, focusing particularly on crimes by the state. Students will be introduced to competing approaches to the study of terrorism, many of which are grounded in wider theories and approaches common to International

Relations and Security Studies. One of the challenges of the module is to think critically about the implications and consequences of those various approaches. The module will begin by looking at the various methodological, theoretical, and definitional challenges associated with the study of terrorism. Building on this grounding, students will then begin analysing terrorism, counter-terrorism and the role of the state through a number of case studies drawn from the 20th and early 21st Centuries. They will be encouraged to relate each of the case studies to the broader methodological and theoretical debates explored in the first few weeks of the module.

Find out more about POLI9170

This module introduces the research design and methods used in the study of Politics and International Relations. The aim of the module is twofold: (1) to provide you with the knowledge and skills needed to understand, compare and evaluate the design of, and methods used in, research in the field of politics and IR, and (2) to provide you with the knowledge and skills needed to design your own research project and to make informed choices with regards to the methods of research.

The module focuses on the logic behind various types of research design and the key features of different methods used in research in the field of politics and IR. It gives you the necessary tools, methods and approaches in order to succeed in your essays and your dissertation. It covers the key steps you need in order to write successful postgraduate essays and a successful MA dissertation. The lectures and workshops provide you with the tools to do so, and you will, in the parallel seminars, address a series of topics which are necessary to help you write your first term papers.

The topics which are covered include description and explanation, concept analysis and typologies, the role of theories and theoretical frameworks, delineating a topic and formulating a research question, formulating an argument, the comparative method, case studies and case selection, and historical and ethnographic research.

Find out more about POLI9640

To provide students with an understanding of academic research and an ability to identify and utilise appropriate strategies and techniques for the purpose of individual investigation, research and practice within a subject specific area of their course route. This module will prepare students to undertake the dissertation module in Stage 2 of their course.

Find out more about POLI9990

Optional modules may include

The module is designed around 12 lectures and 10 one-hour seminars for hands-on computer work. The course is aimed at introducing students to the fundamentals of quantitative methodology in political science (applicable to all social sciences). The course proceeds from the grounding theoretical issues of quantitative work, data manipulation, and formal analysis. It builds students' knowledge by developing the most common and – useful – quantitative methods in the discipline including: univariate, bivariate, and multivariate description and analysis. Finally, significant attention will be given to inferential statistics as it represents the most visible aspect of modern political science.

Find out more about POLI8100

The module is designed to provide students with an advanced understanding of politics in the Middle East. The module covers various social (e.g. identities), economic (e.g. role of natural resources) and religious (e.g. role of Islam) themes, and thus provides students with a wide-ranging perspective from which to analyse the political life of the region. Particular emphasis is placed on the nature and causes of conflict and political violence, and on the role of the state. The module also focuses on the historical development of the region as a way of helping students to understand the nature and causes of its contemporary political situation.

Find out more about POLI8109

This module provides an overview of the degree to which cyberspace continues to revolutionise the operations of both state and non-state actors, and the challenges of governing this 'fifth sphere' of power projection. Whilst this module is not entrenched in International Relations or Security Studies theory, students will have the opportunity to apply both traditional and non-traditional approaches to the politics of cyberspace. Key themes include: 21st century technology, cyber warfare, espionage, surveillance, deterrence theory, cyberterrorism, and representation of threatening cyber-entities. Students will develop a toolkit to critique the existing state and NGO-based governance regime for cyberspace, and will convey arguments both for and against a ‘Geneva Convention’ for cyberspace.

Find out more about POLI8114

Whenever we make a statement about international affairs, and world politics we rely on certain (often implicit) theoretical assumptions: about power, interests, identities, norms and how they relate to the behaviour of international actors. Whether we like it or not, we are 'doomed' to rely on theories. The starting-point of this course is not that theories are the only possible and all-encompassing approach to the study of international affairs, but that they are helpful to understand, compare and critically evaluate interpretations of international issues: if we all use theoretical assumptions, we better make them explicit and understood, to make sure what exactly we are claiming.

International Relations theories are not approached as strict categories with clear boundaries, but rather as a continuously evolving debate. The course does not attempt to give an encyclopaedic overview of all theories of International Relations, but rather to confront different views. The main objective is to understand the core differences between different theoretical approaches.

Find out more about POLI8240

This module will examine how conflict research has evolved within the field of political science and International Relations. It will initially investigate competing theories on conflict and violence highlighting specific case studies and new security concerns. The theoretical reflections will focus on the understanding of modern nationalism in world politics as well as different aspects of conflict ranging from inter-state to intra-state conflict. Moreover, students will be exposed to a detailed and critical analysis of the political and constitutional options in societies beset by violent ethnic conflict, with particular emphasis being given to mechanisms directed at the achievement of political accommodation.

Find out more about POLI8280

The module aims to introduce current thinking and practice in the field on conflict resolution, conflict management and conflict transformation, including conflict prevention and peace-building. Can protracted violent conflicts be prevented, and how are they brought to an end? Is it possible to deal with the root causes of conflict? How do the wider conflicts in the international system impact on local and regional conflicts, and under what circumstances are conflicts transformed? We will explore these questions with reference to theories of conflict resolution, comparative studies and case studies. The module will focus mainly on international and intra-state conflict. There will be opportunities to discuss conflicts at other levels, such as the role of diasporas and the media in conflict and its transformation. You are encouraged to draw on your own personal knowledge of conflict situations.

Find out more about POLI8320

The course provides an overview and a framework for considering the field of international conflict resolution. The students have the opportunity to explore conflict resolution methods such as mediation, negotiation, collaborative problem solving, and alternative dispute resolution. The approach is interdisciplinary and juxtaposes traditional approaches in conflict management with the scientific study of conflict and cooperation. Across the term students will be exposed to a range of different theories and approaches to conflict management and be required to practically apply the course content in a number of simulations.

Find out more about POLI8480

The module draws from comparative politics, international relations, and political thought to analyse the past, present, and future of the democratic national state, the dominant form of political system in today's world. It addresses questions such as: Why are some states federal and others unitary? What explains the resilience of nationalism? Does economic integration leads to political disintegration? Why has regional integration gone much further in Europe than elsewhere? Is multi-national democracy possible? The module first charts the emergence of the modern state and its transformation into a national and democratic form of political system. Subsequently, it explores some key aspects of the formation, structuring, restructuring, and termination of states such as the unitary/federal dichotomy, processes of devolution, the challenge of secession, the question of the connections between the economic environment and the number and size of states, the phenomenon of supra-state regional integration, and the connections between nationality and democracy. It concludes by assessing the challenges facing the democratic national state in the 21st century and their likely trajectory in the foreseeable future.

Find out more about POLI9510

This module complements the core programme module ('Political Psychology') by providing students with a detailed introduction to the nature and study of public opinion. Opinion and attitudes are central to the choices that citizens make and to the way they behave, which in turn are core outcomes in politics. Yet the nature and formation of those attitudes are complex, and shaped by a range of individual and contextual factors, which are central subjects within psychology. This module therefore brings together perspectives from both political science and psychology, in helping students to understand how citizens form attitudes and opinions, the processes and considerations that underpin attitude formation, the factors and actors that influence these formative processes and the effect that citizens’ attitudes have on their behaviour. The module will also consider the principal ways in which we identify and measure public opinion, notably through surveys. Underpinning the module will be the central question of whether the nature of citizens’ opinions are consistent with the assumptions and demands of modern democratic states.

Find out more about POLI9560

Compulsory modules currently include

This module builds on and applies the skills and learning outcomes attained in Stage 1 of all PGT courses, and in particular Research Methods 1 & 2. It does so through the assessment of individual MA thesis projects, including via oral presentation and a final thesis document. This dissertation forms a major assessed element of the Masters course and is on a topic that falls within the scope of your MA. The overall goal is to help you move through the components of the dissertation, including the actual research as well as presenting and writing up your findings.

Find out more about POLI9650

Teaching

Teaching and assessment

Assessment is by coursework plus the dissertation for MA students.

Programme aims

This programme aims to:

  • offer you a unique programme which incorporates research-led teaching from various disciplines within the social sciences
  • develop teaching in response to the advance of scholarship and the needs of the national and international community
  • prepare you for further postgraduate study by research, or for careers in public service, the professions, international organisations and NGOs
  • develop your critical, analytical problem-based learning skills and the transferable skills to prepare you for graduate employment or further postgraduate study by research
  • develop your competence in applying theories to specific case studies
  • develop your knowledge of terrorism and political violence by both state and non-state actors
  • develop your study and research skills in relation to key debates in the subject areas
  • provide you with opportunities to develop individual and collaborative research and presentation of work, both in oral and written form, of material that engages with key debates within various disciplines on the phenomena of terrorism and political violence, and the implications of these phenomena for various state and non-state actors
  • develop your research and personal skills further through a specialist dissertation (MA only).

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

You gain knowledge and understanding of:

  • the phenomena of terrorism and political violence as perpetrated by both state and non-state actors
  • the implications of these phenomena for the security of individuals, societies, states and the international system
  • the use of terrorism and political violence by state and non-state actors and the measures taken by states and international organisations to deter terrorism
  • the various concepts involved in the study of terrorism and political violence, and the various theoretical and methodological approaches deployed by social scientists from various disciplines to study these phenomena (with reference to international relations, you will develop an understanding of contemporary approaches to international relations theory. With reference to sociology and criminology, you will develop an understanding of contemporary approaches to social theory and criminology).
  • the key literature relating to terrorism, counter-terrorism and security
  • how to design and write a substantial scholarly paper that demonstrates familiarity with key academic and professional conventions (MA only).

Intellectual skills

You develop intellectual skills in:

  • applying the skills needed for academic study and research, including gathering, organising and deploying evidence, data and information in a variety of primary and secondary resources, and identifying, investigating, analysing, formulating and advocating solutions to specific problems
  • the ability to critically evaluate existing research outputs, including secondary texts and monographs, scholarly articles, statistical data, policy documents, internet sources and media material
  • the ability to synthesise information from a variety of sources to gain a coherent understanding of concepts, theory, methods and practice, and construct reasoned and persuasive arguments in response to these data, methods and theories
  • the ability to compare and contrast the methods used by scholars from various disciplinary backgrounds
  • the ability to relate scholarship to policymaking.

Subject-specific skills

You gain subject-specific skills in:

  • the ability to evaluate the effectiveness of terrorism and counter-terrorism strategies
  • the ability to critically compare the theoretical and methodological approaches taken by scholars from different disciplinary backgrounds in their study of terrorism and security
  • the ability to assess the relationship between academic work on terrorism and security with policymaking and the counter-terrorism practices of states, and compare these across states and regions of the world
  • the ability to develop skills in locating, accessing and evaluating primary sources relating to terrorism and security
  • the ability to demonstrate an understanding of how the subjects studied relate to the origins and evolution of international political systems and to changes underway in international politics
  • the ability to contextualise concepts such as terrorism and ‘the war on terror’ against the wider backdrop of contemporary social theory
  • an awareness of the epistemological issues relevant to research in the social sciences, including the major theoretical and epistemological debates in the social sciences, as they bear on political theory and practices of resistance.

Transferable skills

You gain the following transferable skills:

  • the ability to develop effective and persuasive communication skills and fluency in both spoken and written work intended for a wide audience, both lay and academic
  • the ability to reflect on your own performance and learning and make appropriate use of constructive feedback from tutors and peers
  • the ability to take responsibility for your own study and research
  • effective time management and the appropriate prioritisation of workloads and deadlines
  • develop your IT skills for information retrieval and research.

Fees

The 2023/24 annual tuition fees for this course are:

Security and Terrorism - MA at Canterbury

  • Home full-time £9500
  • EU full-time £13500
  • International full-time £18000
  • Home part-time £4750
  • EU part-time £6750
  • International part-time £9000

Secuity and Terrorism - PDip at Canterbury

  • Home full-time £6400
  • EU full-time £9000
  • International full-time £12000
  • Home part-time £3200
  • EU part-time £4500
  • International part-time £6000

For details of when and how to pay fees and charges, please see our Student Finance Guide.

For students continuing on this programme fees will increase year on year by no more than RPI + 3% in each academic year of study except where regulated.* If you are uncertain about your fee status please contact information@kent.ac.uk.

Your fee status

The University will assess your fee status as part of the application process. If you are uncertain about your fee status you may wish to seek advice from UKCISA before applying.

Additional costs

There are no compulsory additional costs associated with this course. All textbooks are available from the library, although some students prefer to purchase their own.

General additional costs

Find out more about general additional costs that you may pay when studying at Kent. 

Funding

Search our scholarships finder for possible funding opportunities. You may find it helpful to look at both:

We have a range of subject-specific awards and scholarships for academic, sporting and musical achievement.

Search scholarships

Independent rankings

In the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021, 100% of our Politics and International Studies research was classified as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’ for environment and publications.

Research

Research areas

Our research interests span a broad spectrum of the discipline, with particular strengths in the fields of conflict analysis and resolution, political theory and European politics. The strength of the School’s research culture is reflected in the numerous books and articles published and in the existence of its three University-recognised research centres: the Conflict Analysis Research Centre (CARC), the Global Europe Centre (GEC) and the Centre for Critical Thought (CCT).

All members of staff can supervise theses leading to research degrees. We encourage potential research students to refer to our postgraduate research handbook (pdf) for detailed information.

In 2011, the University successfully applied for ESRC recognition as a provider of doctoral training in political science and international studies (and other areas of the social sciences) as part of a consortium. As a result, we are now part of the South East ESRC Doctoral Training Centre, making us one of the key training outlets in our subject in the UK.

Conflict Analysis Research Centre (CARC)

Kent has been at the forefront of conflict negotiation and resolution for almost 50 years. The Conflict Analysis Research Centre brings together academics working on different aspects of conflict and security as well as PhD and Master’s students studying International Conflict Analysis, International Law and International Relations. Current research includes an investigation into how migrant communities can support peacebuilding in their home society and how South Africa and the UK treat refugees and security. The Centre is also at the forefront of trying to resolve actual conflicts – for example, it played a role in the Moldova-Transnistria peace process and has supported reconciliation efforts in Africa.

Global Europe Centre (GEC)

The Global Europe Centre is a pioneering research-led learning centre focusing on the study of Europe and its relations with the outside world. The GEC’s research focus is on contemporary policy challenges to Europe and its nation states, the engagement with policy-makers and policy-shapers is at the core of its activities. The GEC mission is to promote excellence, through innovative research and knowledge exchange and to facilitate research-driven impact through its learning and teaching activities. The GEC’s activities include dissemination of policy-relevant research via publications, research-led knowledge transfer workshops, conferences and public lectures, and keynote addresses by leading public figures. The Centre has a strong commitment to the creation of the next generation of ideas innovators and policymakers and pursues these through its learning, teaching and knowledge exchange activities and via the Global Europe Student Forum. GEC is an interdisciplinary research centre aiming to develop synergies across Politics and International Relations, Economics, Law, Business, History, and European Languages and Culture.

Centre for Critical Thought (CCT)

The Centre for Critical Thought is an exciting multidisciplinary initiative across both the Social Sciences and Humanities Faculties, co-ordinated by staff in Politics and International Relations, Law and Italian Studies. It enables staff and students interested in cutting-edge critical thought to discuss their work together and to explore the insights of interdisciplinary collaboration. In addition, it serves as a forum for distinguished lectures, seminars and an annual workshop. The Annual Kent Lecture in Political and Social Thought is the headline lecture series and recent speakers have included Professor Bernard Stiegler, Professor Chantal Mouffe and Professor William Outhwaite. All students interested in contemporary critical thought are encouraged to become members while at Kent.

Careers

The School of Politics and International Relations has a dedicated Employability Coordinator who organises employability events within the School as well as providing students with assistance in securing graduate opportunities. Centrally, the Careers and Employability Service can help you plan for your future by providing one-to-one advice at any stage of your postgraduate studies.

Study support

Postgraduate resources

Students have access to an excellent library and extensive computing facilities. You also have access to online resources; inter-library loans; video library; online book renewals and reservations; laptop and netbook loan facilities; more than 1,300 study spaces/seats; more than 27,500 books and 10,500 bound periodicals catalogued under politics and international relations and related class marks plus British Government Publications and 50,000 online journals also available off-campus.

The School’s resources include a European Documentation Centre, with all official publications of the EU institutions, and a specialised collection on international conflict and federal studies as well as the University’s collection of political cartoons. In addition, postgraduate research students have their own designated room with 12 computer terminals.

Dynamic publishing culture

Staff publish regularly and widely in journals, conference proceedings and books. Recent contributions include: Contemporary Political Theory; International Political Sociology; Journal of Human Rights; New Political Economy; Political Studies; Telos. Details of recently published books can be found within the staff research interests section.

Global Skills Award

All students registered for a taught Master's programme are eligible to apply for a place on our Global Skills Award Programme. The programme is designed to broaden your understanding of global issues and current affairs as well as to develop personal skills which will enhance your employability.  

Apply now

Learn more about the application process or begin your application by clicking on a link below.

You will be able to choose your preferred year of entry once you have started your application. You can also save and return to your application at any time.

Apply for entry to:

Contact us

bubble-text

United Kingdom/EU enquiries

MA at Canterbury

PDip at Canterbury

Admissions enquiries

T: +44 (0)1227 768896

E: information@kent.ac.uk

Subject enquiries

T: +44 (0)1227 827307

F: +44 (0)1227 827033

E: polirpgadmissions@kent.ac.uk

earth

International student enquiries

Enquire online

T: +44 (0)1227 823254
E: internationalstudent@kent.ac.uk