Strategic Studies and Management, MSc

Strategic Studies and Management, MSc


Our MSc in Strategic Studies and Management provides a mix of in-depth business understanding combined with a strategic approach to understanding global threats, risk and growth.

This course has January and September start dates. Apply Now.

Study Information

Study Options

Learning Mode
On Campus Learning
Degree Qualification
12 months or 24 months
Study Mode
Full Time or Part Time
Start Month
September or January
Location of Study

This Masters programme draws on the expertise of staff from the School of Social Science and the Business School to deliver a clear understanding of contemporary links between various uses of coercion by states and non-state actors and the complexities of managing large and small organisations in the modern governmental, economic and business environment.

You will gain a comprehensive understanding of world affairs and specific issues that challenge business constantly, while developing the skills and knowledge needed to steer business and organisations through or around conflict. You will look at negotiation, selling, business rhetoric, communication, and web presence, and learn to apply economic and sociology theories and techniques to a number of business situations. You will then look at decision making and effective leadership, the invention of new goods and services and the delivery of change.

Furthermore, you will develop skills essential to analyse current international issues. With the option to attend research seminars organised by the Centre for Global Development and Centre for Global Security and Governance, you are able to learn about the latest research in the field while studying at a Top 20 UK University (Guardian University Guide 2024).

Available Programmes of Study


Strategic Studies and Management

Qualification Duration Learning Mode Study Mode Start Month Location  
MSc 12 months or 24 months On Campus Learning Full Time or Part Time January More
MSc 12 months or 24 months On Campus Learning Full Time or Part Time September Aberdeen More

Programme Fees

Fee information
Fee category Cost
EU / International students £23,800
Tuition Fees for 2024/25 Academic Year
UK £11,100
Tuition Fees for 2024/25 Academic Year

Stage 1

Candidates must take the following compulsory courses:

Compulsory Courses

Business Strategy (BU5048)

15 Credit Points

Business Strategy covers a broad range of topics that come under the general heading of “Business Strategy” / “Strategic Management”. The course introduces participants to concepts, frameworks and models that are useful in providing explanations of how companies operate with respect to goal setting, understanding their competitive landscape, assessing opportunities, managing own capabilities, coordinating their activities with other companies, and competing to create value for customers. The course is interactive in nature, applying a learning-by-doing method involving students taking on roles as part of a series of simulation exercises.

Strategic Theory (PI5001)

30 Credit Points

This core module considers the contribution of strategy, as the mechanism for the application of power and force, to national, regional, and international security. It explores what strategy is (the pursuit of continuing advantage) and how to think clearly about it. Topics addressed include the nature of strategy, deterrence, arms control, strategic stability, nuclear policy, and emerging technology and future warfare.

Negotiation and Cross - Cultural Management (BU5072)

15 Credit Points

Business cannot be conducted without some form of communication between the participants involved. This course examines a wide variety of different types of interpersonal communication in different types of business contexts and, by so doing, provides students with a detailed and practical overview of this vitally important subject area.

Getting Started at the University of Aberdeen (PD5006)

This course, which is prescribed for all taught postgraduate students, is studied entirely online, takes approximately 5-6 hours to complete and can be taken in one sitting, or spread across a number of weeks.

Topics include orientation overview, equality and diversity, health, safety and cyber security and how to make the most of your time at university in relation to careers and employability.

Successful completion of this course will be recorded on your Enhanced Transcript as ‘Achieved’.

Stage 2

Candidates must take the following courses:

Compulsory Courses

The Leadership Challenge (BU5584)

15 Credit Points

This course provides an opportunity to explore and develop an understanding of your own leadership behaviour. Through workshops, group activities and discussions we investigate how personality, past experience, current situations and culture shape the way each of us behave in a leadership role. Using this information as a starting point we then explore how different leadership theories and approaches can be used as frameworks for developing a deeper understanding of leadership behaviour. You will also have an opportunity to try out a range of practical tools and techniques to assist you in the development of your own approach to leadership.

Managing Change (BU555A)

15 Credit Points

The concepts of change and innovation have never been more topical, especially given the commercial context of fierce business competition, shorter product life cycles and more demanding customers. Increasingly, long-term commercial success is based on an ability to manage change, to act creatively and to promote innovation; These processes interconnect and overlap and often present major challenges to modern organizations; We address these issues through providing detailed case illustrations ranging from the workplace to the wider business market. Learning is encouraged through interaction, reading, investigation, video and case analysis, and critical discussion.

Optional Courses

Candidates will select one course from the following electives:

Terrorism and Counter - Terrorism (PI5520)

30 Credit Points

International terrorism and counterterrorism dominate both contemporary scholarly debates in International Relations (IR) and policy discussions. This course examines these debates by focusing, on the one hand, on the (individual and/or structural) causes and different manifestations of terrorism and, on the other hand, on debates on how to respond to terrorism not only effectively but also without violating humanitarian principles and international law. Overall, the course aims to provide students with an overview of current research on international terrorism and counterterrorism in IR and its neighbouring disciplines and to enable them to develop an in-depth knowledge and understanding of core aspects of the issue.

Chinese Security Issues (PI5521)

30 Credit Points

The focus of this module is the key approaches, institutions, and contemporary issues in global security relating to the rise of China. Set in the context of broader global security issues, this module offers students an introduction to Chinese security policy and approaches to international relations. It lifts the vale on a very misunderstood, controversial, and increasingly critical feature of global security and world affairs. It will explore debates on China's rise, China's growing involvement in international politics, and global security.

Stage 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.

Programme Fees

Fee information
Fee category Cost
EU / International students £23,800
Tuition Fees for 2024/25 Academic Year
UK £11,100
Tuition Fees for 2024/25 Academic Year

We will endeavour to make all course options available. However, these may be subject to change - see our Student Terms and Conditions page.

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 Tuition Fees page.


Self-funded international students enrolling on postgraduate taught (PGT) programmes will receive one of our Aberdeen Global Scholarships, ranging from £3,000 to £8,000, depending on your domicile country. Learn more about the Aberdeen Global Scholarships here.

To see our full range of scholarships, visit our Funding Database.

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.

Why Study Strategic Studies and Management?

  • Scrutinise salient, real-world strategic and economic issues that affect a range of sectors around the world while developing the methodology and knowledge needed to interpret strategic situations that present in these areas
  • You will be taught by experts from the School of Social Science and the Business School, gaining an interdisciplinary perspective on the technical aspects of business management and how contemporary international political and economic issues affect the global operation of governments and other organisations
  • Study at a Top 10 UK university for Politics & International Relations.  The University of Aberdeen is ranked 7th for International Relations and 9th for Politics (Guardian University Guide 2024)
  • Learn from experts actively involved in research.  The University of Aberdeen is home to several research centres and institutes, including the Centre for Global Security and Governance; the Institute for Conflict, Transition, and Peace Research; and more
  • The University of Aberdeen has been ranked a Top 10 university for Overall Student Satisfaction for three consecutive years (National Student Survey 2021, 2022, 2023)
  • Take part in the Wargaming Club, a group convened by the Strategic Studies programme leaders, to sharpen your skills in strategic thinking, tactics, diplomacy, communication, and teamwork

Entry Requirements


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


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

Aberdeen Global Scholarship

Eligible self-funded postgraduate taught (PGT) students will receive the Aberdeen Global Scholarship. Explore our Global Scholarships, including eligibility details, on our dedicated page.

Aberdeen Global Scholarships


This programme’s unique combination of specialisms provides you with specialist expertise in strategies, systems, and business management.

Many graduates choose to do public advocacy, research, and project management work for non-governmental organisations (NGOs), and regional and global institutions such as the European Union or the United Nations.

Graduates also forge careers in the international media, the armed forces, international risk management, and international corporations involved in trade and finance.

Career Opportunities

  • Data Analyst
  • Economic Analyst
  • Government Officer
  • Intelligence Analyst
  • International Risk Management
  • Journalist
  • Military Sector
  • Policy Officer
  • Political Analyst

Chinese Security Issues

In this short video, Dr James Johnson tells us more about the course "Chinese Security Issues".

Useful Fact about this Subject

In this lecture, Dr Jim Johnson introduces one of MSc Strategic Studies courses, ‘Strategic Theory’.

Learn more about Strategic Studies at Aberdeen

In this webinar you will learn about the portfolio of Strategic Studies programmes available, networking opportunities during your studies, post-graduate career prospects, and more.

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.

  • Strategic Theory: Dr Jim Johnson
  • Interpersonal Management, Negotiation and Persuasion: Dr Colin Clarke
  • Business Strategy : Dr Raluca Bunduchi
  • Chinese Security Issues: Dr Jim Johnson
  • The Leadership Challenge: Dr Ian Heywood
  • Managing Change and Innovation: Professor Patrick Dawson
  • Summer dissertation coordinator: Dr Jim Johnson

Other Expert
Professor Patrick Dawson
Programme Coordinator
Dr James Johnson

Information About Staff Changes

You will be taught by a range of experts including professors, lecturers, teaching fellows and postgraduate tutors. However, these may be subject to change - see our Student Terms and Conditions page.


The Department of Sociology is held within the School of Social Science. All of our degrees provide thorough advanced level training in the principles of social science with a wide choice of specialised subjects in preparation for the practice of social research and a wide variety of career opportunities.

We provide computer facilities, reading rooms, study spaces and a range of cafes to suit all international tastes.

Image for Politics & International Relations Society
Politics & International Relations Society

Politics & International Relations Society

The student-led Politics and International Relations Society is one of the largest societies on campus. It's a place for students to come together and explore their curiosities with like-minded people, whilst having lots of fun!

Find out more
Image for Regular Seminar Series and Guest Speakers
Regular Seminar Series and Guest Speakers

Regular Seminar Series and Guest Speakers

We have regular seminar series hosted by the department of Politics and International Relations along with guest speakers throughout the year.

Find out more
Image for Cutting Edge Research-led Teaching
Cutting Edge Research-led Teaching

Cutting Edge Research-led Teaching

PIR focuses on topics such as energy policy, environmental policy, health policy, and identity politics (gender and ethnicity), all of which span the traditional division between domestic/comparative and international politics.

Find out more

Get in Touch

Contact Details

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