Security and Terrorism is a unique programme of research-led teaching in which you investigate the most pressing problems in international terrorism. You gain the advanced theoretical and empirical skills required to understand and analyse issues around terrorism and security.
The programme is designed to explore terrorism and political violence as perpetrated by both state and non-state actors. You analyse the implications of international terrorism for the security of individuals, societies, states and the international system, along with the measures taken by states to deter political violence.
Teaching in the programme is offered by world-leading specialists in traditional and critical approaches to the study of terrorism and its implications. The programme equips you with a range of research-based and more practical skills, and offers a springboard for careers in government, international organisations, journalism, the security sector and advocacy groups. It also gives you the resources to go onto further study in the field.
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.
In the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, research by the School of Politics and International Relations was ranked 15th for research power and in the top 20 in the UK for research impact.
An impressive 96% of our research was judged to be of international quality and the School’s environment was judged to be conducive to supporting the development of research of international excellence.
Full-time students 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.
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 in a two-year 120 ECTS credit format (comprising nine taught modules plus a dissertation) and as a Postgraduate Diploma (comprising six taught modules only) worth 120 Kent credits (60 ECTS credits). Both the 120 ECTS credit version and the Diploma can also be taken on a part-time basis.
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.
|Modules may include||Credits|
PO825 - Philosophy & Methodology of Politics and International Relations
Students of politics ‘have not been, in general, sufficiently reflective about the nature and scope of their discipline. They just do it rather than talk about it'’ (G.Stoker). Given that political scientists study people – individuals, groups, states, nations, cultures – rather than ‘things’, PO825 moves from the assumption that politics students ought to be reflective about their research. The module aims to provide an opportunity for reflection by presenting some of the key theoretical and methodological debates in politics and international relations. These debates deal with issues such as: the concept of ‘the political’ and the concept of power; the relationship between structure and agency; the causal and constitutive role of ideas and discourse; positivism and post-positivism; critical theory, emancipation, and the importance of normative questions; an introduction to quantitative and qualitative research, to research design and research ethics.Read more
PO916 - Security in a Changing World
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.Read more
PO917 - Terrorism and Crimes of the State
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.Read more
PO998 - Dissertation:Politics
This module is for students on Politics and International Relations MA courses. It offers introduction into writing a postgraduate dissertation, which forms a major assessed element of a Master's course. The dissertation, 12,000-words long, must be on a topic approved by a module convenor, and relevant to the MA programme, for which the individual student is registered. It is conceived as that part of the degree programme where students have considerable leeway to follow their own particular interests with guidance from staff. Supervision of work on the dissertation is concentrated in the second half of the academic year. The module offers a general overview of the dissertation components, and techniques of writing a successful workpiece.Read more
SO825 - Terrorism and Modern Society
This module explores some key issues, debates and controversies in the cross-disciplinary study of terrorism and political violence. Since 9/11, terrorism and jihadist violence in particular has become one of the most contentious and politically charged issues of our time. Yet it remains poorly understood, in part because of the contention and consequent polarization surrounding it, but also because of the methodological challenges in researching the individuals and group involved in terrorist activity. One of the core aims of the module is to bring into focus the central points of contention in debates over the meaning, nature and causes of terrorism in contemporary western societies, and to help shed a light on the challenges - methodological, practical and ethical - of researching an issue saturated in danger, secrecy and stigma.
What is terrorism and how should it best be defined? Why does the term "terrorism" carry such a potent stigma? What are the master cultural and intellectual narratives for thinking about terrorism and terrorists? Does it make sense to talk of "the terrorist" as a category of person, and what are the problems inherent in efforts to "profile" those who engage in terrorism? What do terrorists and terrorist groups want? Is terrorism rational? What is suicide bombing and what explains it? How do terrorist rhetorically frame the use of violence against civilians? What is ISIS and is it Islamic? What is radicalization and how should it be conceptualized? Can terrorism ever be morally justified?
The purpose of this module is to provoke a framework for thinking about these and other crucial questions about terrorism and political violence.Read more
Teaching and Assessment
Assessment is by coursework plus the dissertation for MA students.
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).
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).
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.
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.
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.
The School of Politics and International Relations has a dedicated Employability, Internships, Placements and Alumni Manager who works with students to develop work-based placements in a range of organisations. 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.
Politics at Kent was ranked 6th in the UK for graduate prospects in The Guardian University Guide 2017. Our graduates have gone on to careers in academia, local and national government and public relations.
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.
A first or upper-second class honours degree in a relevant subject or equivalent.
All applicants are considered on an individual basis and additional qualifications, and professional qualifications and experience will also be taken into account when considering applications.
Please see our International Student website for entry requirements by country and other relevant information for your country.
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.
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. Further details can be found on the South East DTC website.
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.
Staff research interests
Full details of staff research interests can be found on the School's website.
Dr Albena Azmanova: Reader in International Relations
Political traditions and democratisation; globalisation and political identities; European integration.View Profile
Dr Tom Casier: Senior Lecturer in International Relations
EU as an international actor; EU-Russian relations; Russian foreign policy.View Profile
Professor Feargal Cochrane: Professor of International Conflict Analysis
Conflict studies; Northern Ireland conflict; Irish American diaspora.View Profile
Dr Philip Cunliffe: Senior Lecturer in International Conflict
IR theory; sovereignty; peacekeeping; liberal interventionism; Marxism and critical theory; political theory; social theory.View Profile
Dr Paolo Dardanelli: Senior Lecturer in European and Comparative Politics
Federalism, devolution, secession; nationalism; democracy; state formation and dissolution; European politics.View Profile
Dr Andrea den Boer: Senior Lecturer in International Relations
Human rights and ethics; international political theory; continental political philosophy; feminism.View Profile
Dr Charles Devellennes: Lecturer in Political and Social Thought
Political theory; history of political thought; international relations theory.View Profile
Dr Frank Grundig: Lecturer in International Relations
Power, interests and institutions; regime and rational actor theory; international environmental politics; hegemonic leadership.View Profile
Professor Elena Korosteleva: Professor of International Politics
European politics; EU as a global actor and EU foreign policies studies; Eastern partnership and the new eastern Europe; the concept of democracy and democracy promotion.View Profile
Dr Pak K Lee: Senior Lecturer in Chinese Politics and International Relations
Chinese politics; non-traditional security threats in China (especially energy security and public health security); China’s engagement with global governance.View Profile
Professor Neophytos Loizides: Professor of International Conflict Analysis
Federalism; ethnic conflict; international politics; conflict analysis; negotiation and mediation; referendums.View Profile
Dr Iain MacKenzie: Senior Lecturer in Politics
Critical political theory and philosophy.View Profile
Dr Luca Mavelli: Senior Lecturer in Politics and International Relations
International relations theory, social theory; security and political violence.View Profile
Dr Sean Molloy: Reader in International Relations
Realism; international ethics; democratic peace theory; cosmopolitanism.View Profile
Dr Edward Morgan-Jones: Senior Lecturer in Comparative Politics
Parliamentary and semi-presidential regimes; Cabinet composition and termination; West and East European Politics.View Profile
Dr Jane O'Mahony: Senior Lecturer in European Politics
European integration; EU policymaking; Europeanisation; Irish politics.View Profile
Dr Adrian Pabst: Reader in Politics
Political theory and political economy; political philosophy and history of ideas; European thought; religion, politics and ethics, with a special focus on Christian social teaching.View Profile
Dr Stefan Rossbach: Senior Lecturer in Politics
Political theory and methodology; history of political philosophy; religion and politics.View Profile
Professor Richard Sakwa: Professor of Russian and European Politics
Russian government and politics; communism and postcommunism; democratisation.View Profile
Dr Ben Seyd: Senior Lecturer in British and Comparative Politics
Political institutions; electoral systems; public attitudes to the state and trust; British politics.View Profile
Dr Harmonie Toros: Senior Lecturer in International Conflict Analysis
Conflict resolution, conflict transformation, terrorism studies.View Profile
Professor Richard G Whitman: Professor of Politics
European studies; international relations; international role of the European Union.View Profile
Dr Andrew Wroe: Senior Lecturer in American Politics
Direct democracy; trust in politics; immigration; race/ethnicity; American politics and government.View Profile
Dr Toni Haastrup: Lecturer in International Security
Human security discourses; gender and feminist international relations; regional security; EU external relations and African peace and security architecture. Recent publications include: Charting Transformation through Security: Contemporary EU-Africa Relations (2013).View Profile
Dr Ingvild Bode: Lecturer in International relations
United Nations peacekeeping; thematic mandates at the Security Council; US use-of-force policy; conflict narrativesView Profile
Professor Trine Flockhart: Professor of International Relations
International order; European security and transatlantic relations; constructivist theoryView Profile
Professor Matthew Goodwin: Professor of Politics and International Relations
Political parties; electoral behaviour; Euroscepticism and immigration.View Profile
Dr Yvan Guichaoua: Lecturer in international Conflict Analysis (Brussels)
The dynamics of insurgency formation; rebel governance and state responses in Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire, Mali and Niger since 2004.View Profile
Dr Bojan Savic: Lecturer in International Relations (Brussels)
Game theory; qualitative and quantitative research strategies in relation to conflict and development.View Profile
Dr Amanda Klekowski von Koppenfels: Senior Lecturer in Migration and Politics
Dr. Klekowski von Koppenfels' current research interests focus on the concept of diaspora and transnational engagement of migrants, in particular with respect to Global North migrants, although she remains interested in the phenomena more broadly.View Profile
Dr Laura Sudulich: Senior Lecturer in Politics
Effects of new media on electoral behaviour; electoral campaigns; election forecasting and processes of politicisation.View Profile
Dr Nadine Ansorg: Lecturer in International Conflict Analysis
Post-conflict transformation and institutional reform, Security sector reform, Regional dynamics of conflict and violence and Conflict analysis.View Profile
Dr M. Malksoo: Senior Lecturer in International Security (Brussles)
Main research interests: The intersection of security, memory and identity politics, and critical IR theory. Previous research has covered social theoretic perspectives of the EU and NATO’s eastern enlargements, liminality in IR, and the conflicts over historical memory between Russia and its former Soviet/East European dependants. Current research focuses on (i) the nexus between transitional justice and foreign policies on the example of post-communist Russia and (ii) NATO’s ‘back to the roots’-policy in re-strengthening its collective defence arm and its eastern flank.View Profile
Dr Yaniv Voller: Lecturer in Politics of the Middle East
The geopolitics of the Middle East, the foreign policies of Middle Eastern states, ideology and practices in shaping international politicsView Profile
The 2019/20 annual tuition fees for this programme are:
|Security and Terrorism 120 ECTS - MA at Canterbury:|
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|Secuity and Terrorism - PDip at Canterbury:|
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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
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