The subject of security has considerable contemporary relevance, both nationally and internationally. A long and diverse list of issues have been characterised as security threats from warfare to global warming.
On this Masters you will consider events such as these across a range of different perspectives discussing their implications for security at the international, national and local levels as well as their relevance to different actors such as the state and the individual.
For example, the ongoing Syrian civil war and the breakdown of the Syrian state may represent a security risk for the UK by giving groups likes ISIS the space to operate and potentially attack the West. However, if we alter our focus we quickly become aware of a range of different insecurities felt by civilians displaced from their homes and struggling to survive as a result of the conflict.
The MA Security Studies course takes a detailed and critical approach to the study of security, incorporating all of these different perspectives within a contemporary and international context. On this course, you will get a mix of the traditional focuses of the discipline such as conflict between states and theories of international relations, new security challenges such as cybersecurity and an opportunity to reflect upon what security is, who or what it is for and the impacts of practicing security.
If you opt to undertake this course, you will get the opportunity to study this diverse subject with academics who have an equally diverse range of research informed expertise, including war and modern conflict, terrorism and counterterrorism, cybersecurity, European foreign affairs, and intelligence and surveillance.
Alongside this, you will receive dedicated research training and practice throughout the degree that will prepare you for the dissertation as well as develop essential transferable skills that will allow for you to standout in the job market as well as providing you with the necessary tools should you wish to continue within academia.
Join us for lunch to find out more about our postgraduate Psychology and Criminology degrees, and how you can either continue your studies to the next level or become an expert in a new field.
Visit our School site for more student work and extra information.
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*DLHE Survey 2015/16
A second class degree from a UK University or international equivalent.
Exceptions will be made on a case by case basis should a student possess enough relevant professional experience.
|English language requirements 2017/18|
|IELTS||6.0 overall with 5.5 minimum in all bands|
|Other accepted qualifications||Visit our English language page|
|MA||Sep 2018||FT||1 Year||£7,900 per year|
|MA||Sep 2018||PT||2 Years||£3,950 per year|
|MA||Sep 2018||FT||1 Year||£12,000 per year|
The University reserves the right to increase fees in line with inflation based on the Retail Prices Index or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament up to a maximum of five per cent.
UK / EU students are required to submit a personal statement as part of their application for this course.*
Your postgraduate personal statement is going to shine a light on your personal experience, academic success, personal skills and any other factors that will support your application for further study.
Here are the key areas you’ll need to address:
Studying a postgraduate course usually means you want to specialise in something. So what’s driving you?
Show that you’ve researched the course offering. What is it about this particular course that appeals to you? Is it the lecturers? The modules? Etc.
Tutors want to know that you can handle postgraduate study, so show them how your undergraduate experiences or work life has equipped you for a more advanced level of study. Key areas to address are research and group work but this can vary depending on your chosen course.
Add anything relevant that relates back to your chosen course and shows how your skills will contribute towards your learning. What extra-curricular activities have you taken part in? What awards have you won? What employment or voluntary experience do you have that has helped you develop transferable skills? How do these specifically relate to the course you are applying for?
You should also mention your future plans and how a postgraduate qualification fits in. Try to look beyond your postgraduate study – do you plan to jump straight into a specific career or follow your studies with a research degree? Lastly, use plain, professional English and, where possible, utilise the language of your chosen industry.
Get more information on writing personal statements.
*Non-EU students are not required to submit a personal statement when applying for this course.
While there are no additional costs associated with purchasing text books, there may be other costs to you. If you are joining the course which has a professional body accreditation you may be required to pay membership or examination costs. For details of these costs, please click on the link below.
Based on the past experience of our students, you might find it helpful to set aside about £50 for each year of your studies for your personal stationery and study materials. All our students are provided with 100 free pages of printing each year to a maximum total value of £15.
The cost of accommodation and other living costs are not included within your course fees. More information on the cost of accommodation can be found in our accommodation pages.
We offer further information on possible postgraduate financial support. This includes the type of loans, grants and scholarships available both from the government and from Birmingham City University.
Did you know that you will soon be able to apply for a postgraduate loan of up to £10,000 for some courses and options?
Security and International Relations Theory
This module is designed to develop within students a detailed understanding of the theoretical underpinnings of Security Studies in International Relations through an examination of the various different schools of thought that exist within the discipline.
This module serves a core function within the MA Security Studies programme giving you the requisite knowledge and understanding to appreciate the major discussion and debates within the field as well as a deep understanding of the nuance, diversity and complexity contained within the essentially contested nature of security. The module begins with a discussion surrounding the nature of security before moving on to consider a wide array of different theories that take you from the orthodoxy surrounding the study of security to the explicitly critical approaches.
This module gives you a chance to study a series of genuinely contemporary and often ongoing issues within security that vary from individual case studies, events or overarching themes.
The module reflects the interests and research expertise of the teaching team to give students an eclectic and varied module that builds on the theoretical insights they gained in Security and International Relations Theory and apply these to present day case studies. The module, therefore, challenges you to apply your knowledge of the discipline in a variety of radically different scenarios from the UK based to the international, from traditional security to security in its broader and more critical incarnations.
International Institutions and Security
Cooperation among countries in order to create a peaceful world has been pursued for over a century. However, the creation of international institutions has also provoked unexpected and expected international security problems.
This module examines the link between International Institutions and Security Studies. It also examines Institutionalism theories and illustrates several case-studies. This module will address specific questions that are relevant both for practitioners and academics working in the security arena in the 21st century. I.e. Is the United Nations outdated? Should we have an European Army? Does NATO create problems with Putin’s Russia?
This module is designed to enable you to develop an understanding of the research process and the nature and variety of research methods together with the need for an evidence base to guide decision making process.
Its characteristic features are to encourage you to see qualitative and quantitative methods as equally valuable and often complementary and to involve you, wherever possible, in using and applying the methods rather than merely talking about them.
Researching Crime and Security
This module builds upon the basic practical research skills acquired in the ‘Research Methods’ module and critically considers central areas of contemporary Crime and Security research.
In order to do this, you are expected to be involved in individual and collective learning opportunities provided in the module and then work both individually and collaboratively to deliver a research tender. Correspondingly, this module mimics the ‘real world’ processes that are significant and useful in both statutory and non-governmental employment where a significant proportion of both time and turnover is often given to managing strategic tenders and undertaking detailed research.
Dissertation in Security Studies
This module provides you with the opportunity to carry out a self-directed, empirical and critical investigation of a specific Security Studies topic presented as an extended written piece of work.
Students will engage in empirical research or conduct a literature based research project where they will be required to demonstrate an awareness of ethical issues arising in particular research situations, manage empirical data, show systematic and critical ability to synthesis both theoretical and methodological knowledge (the latter applied in praxis). The dissertation marks the culmination of the Masters degree and each project is overseen by an academic member of staff acting as the research supervisor.
Please note that these option modules are subject to staff and student numbers, and are therefore subject to change.
Terrorism, Political Violence and Extremism
This module will offer you the opportunity to deepen your understanding of the sources, dynamics and consequences of contemporary political violence, and to consider the significance of terrorism and conflict within the broader realm of politics and international relations.
This module will examine and explore some conceptual, theoretical and methodological themes associated with contemporary conflict locating these themes within a historical survey of civil war, insurgency and armed political resistance. In addition, while the module will put a particular focus on the policy dimensions of counter-terrorism within the UK, the module will also cater to students who are interested in taking a conceptually ‘critical’ approach to the study of terrorism and counter-terrorism, exploring the methodological challenges inherent in this scholarship, and questioning the assumptions which underpin mainstream approaches.
Security in the Digital Age
This module will examine the intersection between digital technology and security in the contemporary era bringing together a range of topics and issues subsumed under the heading “cybersecurity”. Innovation in the field of digital technology has enhanced how security is performed but has also created opportunity for security breaches and the eroding of international norms and civil liberties.
The module offers a comprehensive overview of the capabilities of digital security and the improved operationalisation of security as well as considering how these developments can be exploited to pose potential insecurities of their own. The module will examine a range of different debates including the security and insecurity brought on by innovation in the field of digital technologies and the tensions that exist between how security is performed and how we can begin to understand freedoms and liberties and how these may be affected by particular security agendas.
Students will also be able to select one of the Criminology option modules as their option if they wish – the option modules for Criminology are included below
Homicide and Violent Organised Crime
This module provides you with an opportunity to critically engage with some of the key contemporary debates that surround the phenomenon of homicide and multiple homicide, as well as a range of separate and related forms of Organised Violent Crime.
You will be encouraged to investigate how various perspectives have generated your own arguments in an attempt to understand this unique form of offending. The module will make significant use of various case studies of serial murderers, violent crimes and organised crime in both a historical and contemporary setting, whilst also engaging in a discussion about how academic understanding and society has developed during this time.
Understanding Domestic and Sexual Violence
This module utilises a range of theoretical frameworks and empirical case studies to examine a complex range of abusive behaviours, from coercive control to revenge pornography.
Moreover, the module provides you with a detailed and critical engagement with the many various theoretical aspects of domestic and sexual abuse, focusing in particular on issues of definition, nature, extent and the impact of this behaviour. A mixture of different teaching and learning techniques are used on the module to assist students in understanding the process of identifying, assessing and managing both perpetrators and victims of both sexual and domestic (or intimate partner) violence.
Each module has four hours of teaching and learning attributed to it per week. These hours are delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars, workshops, online virtual learning environment content, directed reading, one-to-one supervision and independent/small group-led learning. In the first two semesters you will take three 20 credit modules that will all be delivered on one day during the week.
After completing your Masters, you could move on to a PhD within the School of Social Sciences.
The teaching team draws on the combined with the expertise of members of the Centre for Applied Criminology, who will give you cutting-edge criminological knowledge from their impactful and high-profile research, as well as giving you excellent access to experienced practitioners and Criminal Justice System organisations.
The access provided to professionals, the presence of practitioners among fellow students and the capacity to reflect upon relevant volunteering or work experience within the structure of the course means that the course provides excellent opportunities for building contacts and networking, as well as developing opportunities for employment.
The School of Social Sciences has relationships with a number of criminal justice agencies and non-government organisations, including the local Community Safety Partnership, HMP Grendon and the Howard League.
OpportUNIty: Student Jobs on Campus ensures that our students are given a first opportunity to fill many part-time temporary positions within the University. This allows you to work while you study with us, fitting the job around your course commitments. By taking part in the scheme, you will gain valuable experiences and employability skills, enhancing your prospects in the job market.
It will also allow you to become more involved in University life by delivering, leading and supporting many aspects of the learning experience, from administration to research and mentoring roles.
*DLHE Survey 2015/16
Birmingham City University is a vibrant and multicultural university in the heart of a modern and diverse city. We welcome many international students every year – there are currently students from more than 80 countries among our student community.
The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK.
Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:
International students who have a serious interest in studying with us but who perhaps cannot meet the direct entry requirements, academic or English, or who have been out of education for some time, can enter Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC) and begin their degree studies.
BCUIC is part of the global Navitas Group, an internationally recognised education provider, and the partnership allows students to access the University’s facilities and services and move seamlessly through to achieving a Bachelor’s degree from Birmingham City University.
We are constantly investing in our estate and are currently in the process of spending £260 million on new learning facilities.
This course is based at our City Centre Campus – and specifically The Curzon Building, alongside other social sciences, law, business and English students.
The £63m building offers students a unique social learning space, including a dedicated student hub incorporating student support services, in the heart of Birmingham’s Eastside development.
Realistic, simulated environments include two mock court rooms, a Magistrates' and Crown Court, and an interviewing suite. We’re also exploring the use of virtual environments as a way to develop case study analysis.
For those studying on the BA (Hons) Criminology, Policing and Investigation pathway, you’ll experience simulations of police interviewing environments for both suspects and witnesses, with access to tape recording and video playback analysis.
Crime investigation files are prepared using computer-based technology, and the crime data analysis requirements of the degree are supported by appropriate statistical and analytical software.
Psychology students can look forward to using state-of-the-art equipment as well, including the latest in eye-tracking software, and our new EEG machine, all geared towards giving you true hands-on experience with tools you’ll be using in your later career.
Dr Keith Spiller's research examines the internationalisation of crime and terror prevention. Focuses have included the regulation of international industries and impacts on organisational and operational practices, as well as the production and consequences of security rhetoric.