This programme provides an opportunity to study, in depth, a selected theoretical or operational issue which is challenging the international security regime of the modern world.

Study Information

At a Glance

Learning Mode
Distance Learning
Degree Qualification
12 months or 24 months
Study Mode
Full Time or Part Time
Start Month
Any Month
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The MSc in International Security is a research degree. It is not a taught programme with any courses. It may be undertaken full-time on-campus, or part-time with occasional visits to the supervisor and regular contact being sustained by email/telephone.

What You'll Study

Semester 1

Semester 1

Dissertation not exceeding 40,000 words in an aspect of international security studies. The dissertation will either display clear evidence of originality in research outcomes and argument, or it will constitute a satisfactory, orderly and critical exposition of existing knowledge within the field concerned. The dissertation is written over all 3 terms.

Applicants must present a viable research topic in the arena of international security as part of the application. This proposal should be in the region of 500 – 1000 words and enclosed with the application.

Tuition fees are listed under Postgraduate Research fees section ‘Politics & International Relations’

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

Assessment Methods

Assesment by examination of the completed dissertation, including oral examination.

Why Study International Security?

  • Medium length "research only" degree.
  • Can be completed in either 12 or 24 months.
  • Delivers high quality expertise in a particular relevant topic of value to governments, international institutions and world business.
  • High quality, individual supervision by expert tutors drawn from the wide range of Aberdeen staff.
  • The MSc Strategic Studies is taught by The School of Social Sciences at University of Aberdeen
  • Teaching quality is rated as ‘Excellent’, the highest mark attainable, and the most recent national assessment of research quality ranked us as joint sixth in the UK, and one of the top two departments in Scotland.
  • You are taught by a medium sized department allowing a friendly and intimate atmosphere
  • We are located in North East Scotland, a cosmopolitan energy hub with links to the rest of the world. It is a vibrant city with the feel of a large town and plenty of open spaces, a beach, countryside and great architecture.

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 in International Relations, Politics, History, Geography, Economics, Law, Management, Languages or cognate disciplines.

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.

Candidates also need to include a viable research topic in the arena of international security as part of the application. This proposal should be in the region of 500 – 1000 words.

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
Research Proposal

Fee Information

Please refer to our InfoHub Tuition Fees page for fee information for this programme, or contact

Additional Fee Information

  • 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.


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.


There are many opportunities at the University of Aberdeen to develop your knowledge, gain experience and build a competitive set of skills to enhance your employability. This is essential for your future career success. The Careers and Employability Service can help you to plan your career and support your choices throughout your time with us, from first to final year – and beyond.

Career Opportunities

  • Civil Servant
  • Government Official
  • International Banker
  • Police Officer

Our Experts

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.


The Department of Sociology is held within the School of Social Science. Our degrees provide advanced 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 careers.

We provide computer facilities, reading rooms and study spaces. The campus provides a stunning eclectic mix of old and new buildings which are on the tourist map for the UK due to their architectural relevance and heritage

Centre for Global Security and Governance

The Centre for Global Security and Governance brings together academic experts, policy makers, and students to define, analyse, and propose remedies to the most pressing security and governance challenges the world faces in the 21st century.

New Europe Centre

The New Europe Centre represents a group of researchers at the University of Aberdeen with projects from a number of different funding sources. We are committed to doing quality research in order to better understand the world around us.

Centre for European Survey Research

The ECSR has Associate Survey Agencies in more than 100 countries worldwide and can offer basic and applied research in form of quantitative and qualitative surveys as well as other empirical research tools in the social and economic sciences.

Get in Touch

Contact Details

School of Social Science
University of Aberdeen
Edward Wright Building
Dunbar Street
AB24 3QY