Introduction

MSc Strategic Studies provides you with advanced understanding of the use of force in conflict.

Study Information

Study Options

Learning Mode
On Campus Learning
Degree Qualification
ISS, MSc or PgDip
Duration
9 months, 12 months, 21 months or 24 months
Study Mode
Full Time or Part Time
Start Month
January or September
Location of Study
Aberdeen

The MSc Strategic Studies provides you with ability to scrutinise real world security issues which challenge governments, conflict, armed services, peace, international organisations and business around the world. The programme intends to equip you with a range of advanced theoretical and operational understanding of the characteristics, practise and profound effects of use of force by states and non-state actors throughout the international system. The programme is multidisciplinary and international in course content, attracting international students.

You learn about the contribution of strategy as a mechanism for the application of power and force, addressing the nature of strategy, deterrence, arms control terrorism, counterinsurgency, sanctions and limited war. The history of international organisations and challenges contributing to the global order, will be examined. You learn about global security and its developments, policies in different areas and countries globally and defense policies internationally. You look at historical facets of transnational terrorism and different causes, plus you look at domestic, international and cultural ideological factors.

Available Programmes of Study

Strategic Studies

Qualification Duration Learning Mode Study Mode Start Month Location  
ISS 12 months On Campus Learning Part Time September View

Programme Information

Please contact study@abdn.ac.uk for more information about this programme.

MSc 12 months or 24 months On Campus Learning Full Time or Part Time January Aberdeen View

Programme Information

Semester 1

Semester 1

Optional Courses

Students will select two courses from the following.

International Energy Security (PI5518)

30 Credit Points

Topics:

Oil and Security – how oil crises have occurred since 1973, with a focus on the energy demand and supply pressures and the political factors triggering the 1973 and 1979 oil crises. OPEC and IEA. The factors underpinning the oil crisis of 2008 and its relationships to world economic crisis. The role of China in oil politics.

Natural Gas, the EU and Russia. How conceptions of (natural gas) energy security are constructed and implemented in the EU and Russia –Nuclear Power and energy security;– eg Iran .

Climate Security

View detailed information about this course
The use of Force in International Law (LS5549)

30 Credit Points

The course analyses how international law regulates the use of armed forces between States. It is of interest to students who want to understand the legal considerations which frame contemporary conflicts. The course will study the fundamental principle of the prohibition on the use of inter-State force. It will examine the current exceptions to this principle, and how States try to justify the use of force. Consequently, the course will study the most recent recourses to force on the international plane, in particular in Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Ukraine. Teaching will be delivered mainly through discussion based seminars.

View detailed information about this course
Terrorism and Counter - Terrorism (PI5520)

30 Credit Points

Salient, specific facets of historical and contemporary national, international and transnational terrorism and the problems and challenges these different kinds of terrorism pose for national and international counter-terrorism strategies will be scrutinised. The debates on the different causes for terrorism (for instance religion, ethnicity, and ideology) and the different theoretical approaches to explain and understand the roots of terrorism will be examined. Specific facets of terrorism like (female) suicide bombers, ‘lone wolfs’ and ‘home-grown terrorists’, as well as the national and international strategies to counter terrorism, will be critically reviewed.

View detailed information about this course
Global Security Issues (PI5502)

30 Credit Points

'Global Security Issues' is an elective, second semester module for the MSc Strategic Studies, Strategic Studies & International Law and Strategic Studies & Management degree programmes.

View detailed information about this course
Semester 2

Semester 2

Compulsory Courses
Dissertation in Strategic Studies (PI5901)

60 Credit Points

The Strategic Studies dissertation is a compulsory element of the MSc Strategic Studies, Strategic Studies & International Law and Strategic Studies & Management degree programmes.

View detailed information about this course
Semester 3

Semester 3

Compulsory Courses
Strategic Theory (PI5001)

30 Credit Points

'Strategic Theory' is the compulsory, cornerstone module for the MSc Strategic Studies degree programme, and also the MSc Strategic Studies & International Law and Strategic Studies & Management degree programmes.

View detailed information about this course
Religion, Conflict and Security (PI5027)

30 Credit Points

Since the end of the Cold War the world has seen a resurgence of religious movements in the public sphere and, particularly since 9/11, religion has increasingly been viewed in policy debates as an issue of domestic and international security. In the ever increasingly globalized era, religious identifications criss-cross national boundaries and identities posing a dilemma for the established norms of the secular nation-state, political theory and actors. This course will examine some of the emerging theories associated with the rise of political religion, and the potential for conflict and peace that emerge. Utilizing diverse case studies ranging from religious Zionism, to political Islam to national Hindu movements the course will critique and employ contemporary theoretical frameworks to gain understanding of the current phenomena of religion in the international political domain.

View detailed information about this course

Programme Fees

Fee information
Fee category Cost
EU / International students £19,400
Tuition Fees for 2021/22 Academic Year
Home / RUK £9,200
Tuition Fees for 2021/22 Academic Year
MSc 12 months or 24 months On Campus Learning Full Time or Part Time September Aberdeen View

Programme Information

Semester 1

Semester 1

Compulsory Courses

Students must take the following compulsory courses.

Strategic Theory (PI5001)

30 Credit Points

'Strategic Theory' is the compulsory, cornerstone module for the MSc Strategic Studies degree programme, and also the MSc Strategic Studies & International Law and Strategic Studies & Management degree programmes.

View detailed information about this course
Religion, Conflict and Security (PI5027)

30 Credit Points

Since the end of the Cold War the world has seen a resurgence of religious movements in the public sphere and, particularly since 9/11, religion has increasingly been viewed in policy debates as an issue of domestic and international security. In the ever increasingly globalized era, religious identifications criss-cross national boundaries and identities posing a dilemma for the established norms of the secular nation-state, political theory and actors. This course will examine some of the emerging theories associated with the rise of political religion, and the potential for conflict and peace that emerge. Utilizing diverse case studies ranging from religious Zionism, to political Islam to national Hindu movements the course will critique and employ contemporary theoretical frameworks to gain understanding of the current phenomena of religion in the international political domain.

View detailed information about this course
Semester 2

Semester 2

Optional Courses

Two courses from the following:

The use of Force in International Law (LS5549)

30 Credit Points

The course analyses how international law regulates the use of armed forces between States. It is of interest to students who want to understand the legal considerations which frame contemporary conflicts. The course will study the fundamental principle of the prohibition on the use of inter-State force. It will examine the current exceptions to this principle, and how States try to justify the use of force. Consequently, the course will study the most recent recourses to force on the international plane, in particular in Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Ukraine. Teaching will be delivered mainly through discussion based seminars.

View detailed information about this course
Terrorism and Counter Terrorism (PI5520)

30 Credit Points

Salient, specific facets of historical and contemporary national, international and transnational terrorism and the problems and challenges these different kinds of terrorism pose for national and international counter-terrorism strategies will be scrutinised. The debates on the different causes for terrorism (for instance religion, ethnicity, and ideology) and the different theoretical approaches to explain and understand the roots of terrorism will be examined. Specific facets of terrorism like (female) suicide bombers, ‘lone wolfs’ and ‘home-grown terrorists’, as well as the national and international strategies to counter terrorism, will be critically reviewed.

View detailed information about this course
Global Security Issues (PI5502)

30 Credit Points

'Global Security Issues' is an elective, second semester module for the MSc Strategic Studies, Strategic Studies & International Law and Strategic Studies & Management degree programmes.

View detailed information about this course
International Energy Security (PI5518)

30 Credit Points

Topics:

Oil and Security – how oil crises have occurred since 1973, with a focus on the energy demand and supply pressures and the political factors triggering the 1973 and 1979 oil crises. OPEC and IEA. The factors underpinning the oil crisis of 2008 and its relationships to world economic crisis. The role of China in oil politics.

Natural Gas, the EU and Russia. How conceptions of (natural gas) energy security are constructed and implemented in the EU and Russia –Nuclear Power and energy security;– eg Iran .

Climate Security

View detailed information about this course
Semester 3

Semester 3

Compulsory Courses
Dissertation in Strategic Studies (PI5901)

60 Credit Points

The Strategic Studies dissertation is a compulsory element of the MSc Strategic Studies, Strategic Studies & International Law and Strategic Studies & Management degree programmes.

View detailed information about this course
Optional Courses

Only candidates who complete the above programme at an appropriate standard will be allowed to progress to Stage 3.


Programme Fees

Fee information
Fee category Cost
EU / International students £19,400
Tuition Fees for 2021/22 Academic Year
Home / RUK £9,200
Tuition Fees for 2021/22 Academic Year
PgDip 9 months or 21 months On Campus Learning Full Time or Part Time September View

Programme Information

Stage 1

Stage 1

Compulsory Courses
Strategic Theory (PI5001)

30 Credit Points

'Strategic Theory' is the compulsory, cornerstone module for the MSc Strategic Studies degree programme, and also the MSc Strategic Studies & International Law and Strategic Studies & Management degree programmes.

View detailed information about this course
Religion, Conflict and Security (PI5027)

30 Credit Points

Since the end of the Cold War the world has seen a resurgence of religious movements in the public sphere and, particularly since 9/11, religion has increasingly been viewed in policy debates as an issue of domestic and international security. In the ever increasingly globalized era, religious identifications criss-cross national boundaries and identities posing a dilemma for the established norms of the secular nation-state, political theory and actors. This course will examine some of the emerging theories associated with the rise of political religion, and the potential for conflict and peace that emerge. Utilizing diverse case studies ranging from religious Zionism, to political Islam to national Hindu movements the course will critique and employ contemporary theoretical frameworks to gain understanding of the current phenomena of religion in the international political domain.

View detailed information about this course
Optional Courses

Select two of the following courses:

Stage 2

Stage 2

Optional Courses

Students will select two courses from the following.

International Energy Security (PI5518)

30 Credit Points

Topics:

Oil and Security – how oil crises have occurred since 1973, with a focus on the energy demand and supply pressures and the political factors triggering the 1973 and 1979 oil crises. OPEC and IEA. The factors underpinning the oil crisis of 2008 and its relationships to world economic crisis. The role of China in oil politics.

Natural Gas, the EU and Russia. How conceptions of (natural gas) energy security are constructed and implemented in the EU and Russia –Nuclear Power and energy security;– eg Iran .

Climate Security

View detailed information about this course
The use of Force in International Law (LS5549)

30 Credit Points

The course analyses how international law regulates the use of armed forces between States. It is of interest to students who want to understand the legal considerations which frame contemporary conflicts. The course will study the fundamental principle of the prohibition on the use of inter-State force. It will examine the current exceptions to this principle, and how States try to justify the use of force. Consequently, the course will study the most recent recourses to force on the international plane, in particular in Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Ukraine. Teaching will be delivered mainly through discussion based seminars.

View detailed information about this course
Terrorism and Counter Terrorism (PI5520)

30 Credit Points

Salient, specific facets of historical and contemporary national, international and transnational terrorism and the problems and challenges these different kinds of terrorism pose for national and international counter-terrorism strategies will be scrutinised. The debates on the different causes for terrorism (for instance religion, ethnicity, and ideology) and the different theoretical approaches to explain and understand the roots of terrorism will be examined. Specific facets of terrorism like (female) suicide bombers, ‘lone wolfs’ and ‘home-grown terrorists’, as well as the national and international strategies to counter terrorism, will be critically reviewed.

View detailed information about this course
Global Security Issues (PI5502)

30 Credit Points

'Global Security Issues' is an elective, second semester module for the MSc Strategic Studies, Strategic Studies & International Law and Strategic Studies & Management degree programmes.

View detailed information about this course

Programme Fees

Please refer to our InfoHub Tuition Fees page for fee information for this programme, or contact study@abdn.ac.uk.

We will endeavour to make all course options available; however, these may be subject to timetabling and other constraints. Please see our InfoHub pages for further information.

How You'll Study

Learning Methods

  • Individual Projects
  • Lectures
  • Research
  • Tutorials

Assessment Methods

By written examination, essay work and class presentation as prescribed for each course and by submission of a dissertation. The degree of MSc shall not be awarded to a candidate who fails to achieve a CGS grade of D3 or above in PI5901, irrespective of their performance in other courses.

Why Study Strategic Studies?

  • The programme scrutinises salient, real-world security issues which challenge governments, armed services, international organisations and business around the world.
  • MSc Strategic Studies has produced graduates of high repute with excellent career prospects for over thirty years, with a network of alumni internationally.
  • There are plenty of Strategic Studies Alumni from Aberdeen around the world and the student body is international with many countries represented.
  • An MSc in Strategic Studies provides you with a strong methodology and knowledge to interpret situations that present in a wide range of areas of work globally.

Entry Requirements

Qualifications

The information below is provided as a guide only and does not guarantee entry to the University of Aberdeen.

Applicants for admission will normally be expected to hold a relevant Honours degree with a 2:1 standard from a recognised university or body.

Applicants without this qualification may be admitted subject to having an alternative qualification, or an approved level of work experience appropriate to the field of study. Also taken into careful consideration is the trajectory of results, an applicant without an overall 2.1 but with 2.1 results in their final two years of study may be admitted.

Please enter your country to view country-specific entry requirements.

English Language Requirements

To study for a Postgraduate Taught degree at the University of Aberdeen it is essential that you can speak, understand, read, and write English fluently. The minimum requirements for this degree are as follows:

IELTS Academic:

OVERALL - 6.5 with: Listening - 5.5; Reading - 6.0; Speaking - 5.5; Writing - 6.0

TOEFL iBT:

OVERALL - 90 with: Listening - 17; Reading - 21; Speaking - 20; Writing - 21

PTE Academic:

OVERALL - 62 with: Listening - 59; Reading - 59; Speaking - 59; Writing - 59

Cambridge English B2 First, C1 Advanced or C2 Proficiency:

OVERALL - 176 with: Listening - 162; Reading - 169; Speaking - 162; Writing - 169

Read more about specific English Language requirements here.

Document Requirements

You will be required to supply the following documentation with your application as proof you meet the entry requirements of this degree programme. If you have not yet completed your current programme of study, then you can still apply and you can provide your Degree Certificate at a later date.

Degree Certificate
a degree certificate showing your qualifications
Degree Transcript
a full transcript showing all the subjects you studied and the marks you have achieved in your degree(s) (original & official English translation)
Personal Statement
a detailed personal statement explaining your motivation for this particular programme
Reference x 2
two reference letters, one of which should be from your university discussing your academic ability. If you have been out of education for a long time you may wish to use your current or most recent employers, or other professional individuals

Fee Information

Additional Fee Information

  • Fees for individual programmes can be viewed in the Programmes section above.
  • In exceptional circumstances there may be additional fees associated with specialist courses, for example field trips. Any additional fees for a course can be found in our Catalogue of Courses.
  • For more information about tuition fees for this programme, including payment plans and our refund policy, please visit our InfoHub Tuition Fees page.

Scholarships

Eligible self-funded international Masters students will receive the Aberdeen Global Scholarship. Visit our Funding Database to find out more and see our full range of scholarships.

Aberdeen Global Scholarship (EU)

The Aberdeen Global Scholarship is open to European Union (EU) students.

This is a £2,000 tuition fee discount available to eligible self-funded Postgraduate Masters students who are classed as International fee status and are domiciled in the EU, plus another £3,000 discount for eligible Postgraduate Masters students who would have previously been eligible for Home fees (Scottish/EU) fee status.

View Aberdeen Global Scholarship

Careers

Government organisations
Non government organisations
Charities
Private business
Business organisations

What our Alumni Say

Viktoria Gugg

Viktoria Gugg

Viktoria Gugg

Graduated 2019

With the conception to base the curriculum on the theoretical understanding of strategic theory and the contribution of power and force as mechanisms in international security, the program provides a toolkit to apply to a variety of issues. Furthermore, it prepares its graduates to scrutinize contemporary challenges, with the option to select courses that focus on the bigger picture of global security and the legal framework to act within.

Tom Ordeman

Tom Ordeman

Tom Ordeman

Job Details
Governance, Risk, and Compliance Manager
Graduated 2016

I would sincerely recommend the Strategic Studies program for most candidates who harbour an interest in global security issues. In addition to the professional benefits afforded by the completion of an advanced degree, the understanding I gained from my studies in Aberdeen has helped me to understand controversial issues in the United States and the world at large.

Cassandra Humble

Cassandra Humble

Cassandra Humble

Job Details
Policy Advisor
Graduated 2018

This program is designed to develop your critical thinking skills and broaden your understanding of the world around you. If you are interested in why states do the things they do and how the world reacts to strategic threats, this course will provide you with the grounding to judge these actions and assess future threats. These skills will form the backbone of any role you go on to fulfil and will give you the tool kit to continue exploring the world around you.

Julie Claustre

Julie Claustre

Julie Claustre

Job Details
Intern
Graduated 2018

This 12 month program honed many of my academic and personal skills. The inclusion of timed essay analyses, partner presentations and group discussions helped consolidate my understanding of the material and facilitated insightful analyses of state actors reactions to world events.

Angus Caddick

Angus Caddick

Angus Caddick

Job Details
Officer
Graduated 2018

It was the teaching staff themselves. I was surrounded by down to earth lecturers that really cared about the topic, and about how well I did on the course. They were interested in me and my future career, and invested in me.

Fabio Saelzler

Fabio Saelzler

Fabio Saelzler

Graduated 2019

'Strategic Theory' and 'Religion, security and conflict' were great courses. Dr. Samantha May an outstanding lecturer. Really challenged me to reflect on my view on international relations theory.

Nicky Fahrizal

Nicky Fahrizal

Nicky Fahrizal

Job Details
researcher in Politics and Social Change Department
Graduated 2017

anyone interested in strategic issues, addressing nature of strategy, and increasing of work ethic, please join Strategic Studies at School of Social Science, University of Aberdeen.

Our Experts

A small and cohesive group of highly skilled academic staff with many years of graduate teaching experience, who are part of a network of high quality academics in strategic studies and international security.

Other Experts
Dr Samantha May
Dr Mervyn Bain
Programme Coordinator
Mr James Wyllie

Information About Staff Changes

You will be taught by a range of experts including professors, lecturers, teaching fellows and postgraduate tutors. Staff changes will occur from time to time; please see our InfoHub pages for further information.

Facilities

We provide a wide range of related research centres, which include:

  • Centre for European Survey Research
  • New Europe Centre - housing a variety of projects looking at values and behaviour
  • Centre for Global Security and Governance

Get in Touch

Contact Details

Address
Student Recruitment & Admissions Service
University of Aberdeen
University Office
Regent Walk
Aberdeen
AB24 3FX