Security Studies - MA
Looking for a security studies Master’s in Birmingham? Our MA Security Studies is open to graduates from all subjects. 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....
Studying with us in 2021/22
It is possible that the 2021/22 academic year may be affected by the ongoing disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Information about the arrangements the University has put in place for the 2021/22 academic year in response to Covid-19 and the emerging variants can be found here.
Should the impact of Covid-19 continue in subsequent years of your course, any additional and/or alternative arrangements put in place by the University in response will be in accordance with the latest government public health advice, pandemic-related/health and safety legislation, and the terms and conditions of the student contract.
Looking for a security studies Master’s in Birmingham? Our MA Security Studies is open to graduates from all subjects.
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.
Professional Placement option
For our MA Security Studies degree, you will have the opportunity to take the Professional Placement version of the course, which is offered as an alternative to the standard version of the course.
This will allow you to complete a credit bearing, 20 week Professional Placement as an integral part of your Master’s Degree. The purpose of the Professional Placement is to improve your employability and transferable skills. The placement experience will allow you to evidence your professional skills, attitudes and behaviours at the point of entry to the postgraduate job market.
You will be responsible for finding and securing your own placement. The University, however, will draw on its extensive network of local, regional and national employers to support you in finding a suitable placement to complement your chosen area of study, with support from our Careers+ team as well as advice and guidance from your School.
Please note that placements will only be confirmed following a competitive, employer-led selection process, therefore the University will not be able to guarantee placements for students who have registered for the ‘with Professional Placement’ course.
For full details, please click here.
What's covered in this course?
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.
Why Choose Us?
- You will critically explore the concept of security, asking what it is, who it is for and what it entails.
- You’ll get to learn about issues of contemporary and international significance that reflect the breadth of the discipline from the proliferation of nuclear weapons to climate change.
- You’ll experience research-led teaching and study alongside a team of academics with diverse expertise who are actively publishing in the field.
- Separate yourself within the job marketplace by demonstrating to potential employers your academic commitment, expertise and transferable skills, such as research training and practice.
- Birmingham City University has just launched the UK's first Centre for Brexit Studies, researching all aspects of the UK's vote to leave the EU, including the impact it has on hate crime and national security in the UK.
Find out more
|Typical Offers (UK Students)|
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.
Additional information for EU/International students
Applications from international applicants with equivalent qualifications are welcome. Please see your country page for further details on the equivalent qualifications we accept.
In additional to the academic entry requirements listed above, international and EU students will also require the qualifications detailed in this table.
|English language requirements 2020/21|
6.0 overall with 5.5 minimum in all bands
If you do not meet the required IELTS score, you may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English courses. Please note that you must have a Secure English Language Test (SELT) to study on the pre-sessional English course. More information.
|Other accepted qualifications||Visit our English language page|
Fees & How to Apply
- UK students
- International students
Starting: Sep 2021
- Full Time
- 1 Year
- £8,800 per year
- Full Time
- 18 Months (Professional Placement)
- £9,700 per year
- Part Time
- 2 Years
- Show fees
- Year 1 (80 credits) £4,000
- Year 2 (100 credits) £5,000
Fees for Part-time students
This course can be studied on a Part-time study basis. The cost per year of study is based on credit requirements for that year as shown here.
Starting: Sep 2021
- Full Time
- 1 Year
- £13,200 per year
- Full Time
- 18 Months (Professional Placement)
- £14,520 per year
Access to computer equipment
You will require use of a laptop, and most students do prefer to have their own. However, you can borrow a laptop from the university or use one of our shared computer rooms.
You will receive £5 print credit in each year of your course, available after enrolment.
All essential field trips and associated travel costs will be included in your course fees.
Access to Microsoft Office 365
Every student at the University can download a free copy of Microsoft Office 365 to use whilst at university and for 18 months after graduation.
You will be able to download SPSS and Nvivo to your home computer to support with your studies and research.
Subscriptions to key journals and websites and available through our library.
Free access to Rosetta Stone
All students can sign up to the online learning language platform for free through the Graduate+ scheme.
Free Adobe Creative Cloud Licence
Students studying on a course with a requirement to use Adobe software can request a free licence to install the entire suite of applications on up to two personal devices.
Excess printing (optional)
Once you have spent your £5 credit, additional printing on campus costs from 5p per sheet.
Some modules may suggest that you purchase a key textbook. All module key texts will be in the University library, but in limited numbers. Many students choose to purchase a copy.
Placement expenses (optional)
If you choose to undertake a placement, you'll need to budget for accommodation and any travel costs you may incur whilst living or working away from home.
Accommodation and living costs
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.
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:
Your passion and motivations
Studying a postgraduate course usually means you want to specialise in something. So what’s driving you?
Why this course?
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.
What makes you a good postgraduate candidate?
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.
Relevant academic or work experience
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.
Course in Depth
In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 160 credits):
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. The module makes use of face-to-face teaching in the form of workshops alongside blended learning outside of scheduled time in the classroom.
This module is designed to enable students 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. The design of the module allows for face-to-face and blended learning.
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.
Rather than simply to provide students with a module that gives a broad overview to the various different topics that come under the remit of Security Studies this module gives students 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 purpose of ‘Researching Crime and Security’ is to build upon the basic practical research skills acquired in the ‘Research Methods’ module and to begin to critically consider central areas of contemporary Crime and Security research. In order to do this, students 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, hence demonstrating that they have acquired practical and transferable skills that are clearly linked to either employment or HEI work in the field of social research.
This module provides students with the opportunity to carry out a self-directed, empirical and critical investigation of a specific criminology or Security Studies topic. A dissertation will usually contain an extended literature review, methodology, summary of findings and conclusion, although this is an indicative guide only and the final product will vary dependent upon topic and method selected.
In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete at least 20 credits from the following indicative list of OPTIONAL modules:
This module will offer students the opportunity to deepen their 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 (IR). It will also ‘critically’ analyse the policies and politics of preventing and countering terrorism at both the national and international levels.
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.
This postgraduate module provides students with an opportunity to critically engage with some of the key aims of their programme by examining some of the contemporary debates that surround the phenomenon of homicide and multiple homicide, and a range of separate and related forms of Organised Violent Crime - and how various perspectives have generated their own arguments in an attempt to understand this unique form of offending.
The content of the module includes both theoretical material and case study overviews that will examine the complex range of abusive behaviours, from coercive control to revenge pornography and the many theoretical aspects of domestic and sexual violence particularly relating to definition, nature, extent and impacts of these issues and engage in debate and discussion of them.
All core modules are guaranteed to run. Optional modules will vary from year to year and the published list is indicative only.
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.
Welcome to the School of Social Sciences, home to students from all around the world!
All of our undergraduate and postgraduate social sciences courses are open to international students, and our courses have been tailored to take a global approach to learning. We frequently welcome international students through the Erasmus scheme, from countries including Germany, Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands.
Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:
- Explore some of the good reasons why you should study here
- Find out how to improve your language skills before starting your studies
- Find all the information relevant to applicants from your country
- Learn where to find financial support for your studies
The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK.
Facilities and Staff
We are constantly investing in our estate and are currently in the process of spending £340 million on new learning facilities.
The Curzon Building
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) Policing or BA (Hons) Criminology, Policing and Investigation degrees, 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. You will also benefit from facilities across the wider campus including the Parkside and Millennium Point buildings.
The Curzon Building also features:
- An impressive new library with access to over 65 million full text items and stunning views of Eastside City Park
- Your Students’ Union which is located in a beautifully restored 19th century pub, The Eagle and Ball
- A modern 300-seat food court with space to study and socialise
- Brand new, accessible IT facilities with full Office365 for all students for free
Dr Andrew Whiting
Senior Lecturer in Security Studies and Criminology
Dr Andrew Whiting research currently spans two main areas. The first concerns the constitutive effects of various different security discourses and their impact upon wider collective understandings and security practices. This work has included investigating constructions of terrorism and cyber‑security within political, media and expert discourses.More about Andrew
Dr Keith Spiller
Senior Lecturer in Criminology / Course Director for MA in Security Studies
Dr. Keith Spiller’s research focuses on the social consequences of surveillance and monitoring, with an emphasis on the impact of governmental regulatory policy. His recent book examines new forms of public duty mandated by the UK Counter Terrorism and Security Act and its bearing on the educational sector.More about Keith