course page main image

Security Studies - MA

Currently viewing course to start in 2022/23 Entry. Switch to 2023/24 Entry

Looking for a security studies Master’s in Birmingham? Our MA Security Studies is open to graduates from all subjects. The relevance of the course goes further than current affairs and academia into an ever-expanding security industry that offers a diverse range of different employment opportunities across both the private and public sector....

  • Level Postgraduate Taught
  • Study mode Full Time/Part Time
  • Location City Centre
  • School School of Social Sciences
  • Faculty Faculty of Business, Law and Social Sciences

Overview

Looking for a security studies Master’s in Birmingham? Our MA Security Studies is open to graduates from all subjects.

The relevance of the course goes further than current affairs and academia into an ever-expanding security industry that offers a diverse range of different employment opportunities across both the private and public sector.

Studying on the Security Studies MA course will allow you to learn about and actively research security from the unique perspective that the city and its history provides, as well providing close proximity to a range of fantastic employability opportunities.

The Security Studies MA will provide you with knowledge and skills for a range of professions including jobs within intelligence, defence, the civil service, local government, finance, think tanks, human rights organisations and the third sector.

In addition to this, with Birmingham being home to the largest police force outside of London (with which BCU has strong ties) you will be well placed for employment and research opportunities with West Midlands Police.

The Security Studies MA offers a unique and exciting taught postgraduate experience that includes:

  • A unique one day a week intensive delivery pattern that will benefit students in full-time work; the programme has been designed to be flexible and benefit professional practitioners and students undertaking voluntary placement work.
  • Contact with a staff team who are experts in their field and who are actively researching cutting edge issues relating to security.
  • A unique pedagogical approaches that seek to encourage students to learn practically
  • and theoretically.
  • Unique modules such as “Contemporary Security” that give students a topical and
  • internationally relevant understating of security in the contemporary era.

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.

Core values of the programme team

The Security Studies course team have a wealth of expertise and are committed to providing you with the knowledge and skills to develop a critical understanding of the contemporary world, current affairs and the geopolitical context.

The course team strive to provide the environment and support necessary to develop a broad and deep understanding of security as a discipline as well as the ‘real world’ ramifications of the concepts, ideas and theories studied.

The core values of the course team mean you will be actively engaged throughout and encouraged to be active partners in your own education, applying the skills and knowledge gained on the course to the contemporary world around you.

This can be from a local or national perspective, however, the team’s commitment to internationalism means encouraging a full appreciation and understanding of how particular issues are experienced and interpreted differently along spatial lines and in turn also encourage you to reflect on your own experience and perceptions of different “security issues”.

You will explore and analyse a range of contemporary security issues, different theories of security, central debates within the discipline and various specific case studies in a critical and applied manner.

This course is open to International students.

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.

Find out more

Studying with us during the Covid-19 pandemic

The University has put in place measures in response to Covid-19 to allow us to safely deliver our courses. Should the impact of the pandemic continue in future years, any additional or alternative arrangements put in place by the University will be in accordance with the latest government public health advice, health and safety legislation, and the terms and conditions of the student contract.

Open Days

Join us for an on-campus Open Day where you'll be able to explore our campus and facilities in person. You'll be able to hear more about your chosen subject area from our academics.

Register your interest

Entry Requirements

Essential Requirements
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
Essential

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
IELTS

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

Please select your student status to view fees and apply
  • UK Student
  • International Student

UK students

Annual and modular tuition fees shown are applicable to the first year of study. The University reserves the right to increase fees for subsequent years of study in line with increases in inflation (capped at 5%) or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament. View fees for continuing students.

Award: MA

Starting: Sep 2022

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 1 Year
  • £9,000 in 2022/23
  • Full Time
  • 18 Months (Professional Placement)
  • £9,900 in 2022/23
  • Part Time
  • 2 Years
  • TBC

International students

Annual and modular tuition fees shown are applicable to the first year of study. The University reserves the right to increase fees for subsequent years of study in line with increases in inflation (capped at 5%) or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament. View fees for continuing students.

Award: MA

Starting: Sep 2022

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 1 Year
  • £16,300 in 2022/23
  • Full Time
  • 18 Months (Professional Placement)
  • £17,930 in 2022/23

If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our PDF application form and equal opportunities PDF form instead.

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.

Printing

You will receive £5 print credit in each year of your course, available after enrolment.

Field trips

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.

Key software

You will be able to download SPSS and Nvivo to your home computer to support with your studies and research.

Key subscriptions

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.

Books (optional)

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.

Personal statement

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

Modules

In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 160 credits):

In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete at least 20 credits from the following indicative list of OPTIONAL modules:

Inside-Out 20 credits

Homicide & Harm: Critical Understandings of Violence 20 credits

Understanding Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence 20 credits

Green Criminology in an Age of Climate Breakdown 20 credits

Contemporary Coercions: Norms, practices, and systems of control in society 20 credits

All core modules are guaranteed to run. Optional modules will vary from year to year and the published list is indicative only.

Download course specification

Download now

Employability

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.

International

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:

The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK.

Facilities & Staff

Curzon facilities eatery
Curzon facilities staircase
Curzon facilities student hub

Our Facilities

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

Our staff

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,...

More about Andrew

Professor Imran Awan

Professor of Criminology

Professor Imran Awan is one of the country’s leading criminologists and experts on Islamophobia and countering extremism.

More about Imran

Dr Arantza Gomez Arana

Visiting Fellow

Arantza enjoys engaging in academic discussions with undergraduate, postgraduate students and colleagues, through the development of critical thinking in Social Sciences. Full Profile

More about Arantza

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.  Full Profile

More about Keith