Programme Structure

The IMSISS programme is structured around a series of mobility periods across two years where you study at the three universities for one academic semester each. During Year 1 you will undertake a series of core courses reflecting the main themes of the programme and research methods training. You will also have time to undertake initial dissertation research and attend a specialist summer school.

In Year 2 you will choose a specialist concentration containing a range of optional courses. Also included is a fourth flexible study period, during which time you will complete your independent study (dissertation) and may have the opportunity to undertake a work-based learning placement with a relevant associate partner.

The periods of mobility are designed to enable you to engage with a variety of perspectives on the three core themes of the programme and promote valuable knowledge and practical skills based outcomes that will feed into future career opportunities.

Semester 1: September-January (University of Glasgow) 30 ECTS

  • International security & strategic studies*
  • Intelligence analysis & policy making
  • European and international security strategies
  • Research design and methodology
  • Language (optional): Arabic, Chinese, Russian, German, French, Spanish (choose one, subject to availability)

*Students who can demonstrate that they have completed a similar module in International Relations or Security Studies at an A grade may be exempted from taking this module and will be required to take one of the following modules instead:

  • Strategy Applied
  • Strategy Theory
  • Comparative Approaches to Warfare and Violent Conflict
  • Research Design
  • Qualitative Methods Analysis of Russian Social Science Text
  • PG Beginner Russian
  • PG Beginner Chinese (Mandarin)

Semester 2: January-August (Dublin City University) 30 ECTS

Intelligence, Peace-building and Terrorism pathway

  • Intelligence & security analysis: theory & practice
  • Individual Options (choice of two from the following):
    • International security: Critical Approaches
    • Political Terrorism
    • Conflict, Security and Peace-building
    • Contemporary Issues in Security
    • Gender and Security
    • Environmental Change and World Politics
    • EU Foreign and Security Policy
    • Politics of the United Nations
    • Politics and Development in Africa
    • Politics of the Middle east and North Africa
    • Russia and the Former Soviet Space
    • India: The Politics of an Emerging Power
    • Policing and Society
  • Language (optional): different language options are subject to availability

 

Semester 2: January-August (University of Trento) 30 ECTS

Causes of Conflicts pathway

  • Geographies of Security
  • Conflict, Human Rights and Natural Resources
  • Civil Societies and Contentious Politics
  • History and Politics of the Middle East: Conflicts, ideologies and democratisation
  • Individual Options (choice of one from the following):
    • National Security and European Security Law
    • Global Economic Policy
    • Minorities, Regionalism, Borders
    • Peace and Conflict Studies: Theory and methods
    • People, Politics and the Environment
    • Democratising Security: Human rights, democracy and the rule of law in the age of uncertainty
    • Science, Technology and Global Affairs

 

Semester 3: September-February (Charles University Prague) 30ECTS

You must choose one specialist themed concentration and complete a minimum of four courses (including the core). You may choice a fifth course from any of the options offered to make up the required number of credits. (Additional courses may be added to concentrations. All courses are subject to availability and courses which may replicate courses completed in Year 1 may be substituted). Language classes are available on a non-credit basis subject to availability.

Concentration A – Strategic Studies

  • Strategic Studies (core)
  • Arms Control & Disarmament
  • Economic Warfare
  • War Studies
  • Insurgency and Counterinsurgency
  • Technology and Warfare

Concentration B – Regional Security

  • Regional Security (core)
  • African Security
  • Asia Security
  • US Grand Strategy
  • Middle East Security

Concentration C – Security & Technology

  • Security and Technology (core)
  • Cyber Security
  • Intelligence
  • Space Security
  • Technology and Warfare
  • Artificial Intelligence and Security
  • Human Artificial Intelligence Needs
  • Sociology of Technology

Concentration D – Conflict Studies

  • Advanced Conflict Studies (core)
  • Ethics and Violence
  • Human Security
  • Peacekeeping and Peace-building
  • Terrorism and Counter-terrorism
  • Radicalisation and De-radicalisation
  • Territorial Non-State Actors

Semester 4: March-August (Independent Study Portfolio) 30 ECTS

During this flexible mobility period you will work under the supervision of your primary supervisor to an agreed independent study learning programme. We encourage students to locate themselves in the location of their primary supervisor’s institution which will count as your official academic home for this period. During this period, all students have to complete their independent study portfolio which includes a dissertation. Depending on your research topic you may be able to spend some time during this mobility period in a fourth location at one of our associate partners. Some students will also have the opportunity to undertake a 6-8 week work-based placement linked to their dissertation topic. These are offered by our associate as well as external partners and are available on a competitive basis. (We do not guarantee that all students on the programme will obtain a collaborative work-placement, however, students are welcome to source their own placements to supplement the programme of study).

IMSISS partners will work together to ensure that they deliver a joint master degree that:

  • utilises mobility opportunities to promote an innovative, interdisciplinary, and integrated team-delivered programme that recognises security as one of the top public issues of the modern world
  • provides students with comprehensive training across theoretical, empirical and applied approaches to three interrelated core themes – security, intelligence and strategy
  • engages its students with the reasons underpinning contemporary insecurity and threat; the strategic directions, policy responses and active solutions to security challenges; and the means to plan and horizon scan for future threats
  • draws upon the expertise of consortium partners in specialist areas including: conceptual issues such as security theory, the politics of threat assessment, modern strategic thought, ethical dilemmas of just war; contemporary security challenges such as terrorism, radicalisation, migration, cyber-crime and cyber-warfare, regional security dilemmas, conflict and the use of modern technology (drones, weapons of mass destruction, social media), energy security; and practical skills development such as open source intelligence production, linguistic and data analytics

Intended Learning Objectives

The programme provides opportunities for students to develop and demonstrate knowledge and understanding, skills, qualities and other attributes designed to prepare them for future academic and/or professional careers.

By completing this degree students will be able to:  

  • describe and apply a range of theoretical approaches and debates in security, intelligence and strategic studies in a critical manner
  • recognise and critically assess a variety of traditional and non-traditional security threats and the interconnected nature of these threats
  • conceptually locate contemporary security matters within global, national and regional contexts
  • critically evaluate the role played by intelligence and information in addressing security concerns in specific domains of interest
  • articulate the ethical implications of key policy approaches and strategic tactics in dealing with security threats, with particular emphasis on affects at a societal/human level

Subject-specific/practical skills

  • deploy a range of evidence based research techniques and methodologies appropriate to social science and applied science approaches to security, intelligence and strategic studies
  • employ an evidence based approach to resolving problems and completing tasks relating to specific disciplinary approaches to security and intelligence matters
  • independently produce structured policy briefs/papers
  • define and develop concepts and analytical approaches for the evaluation of big data and other forms of information
  • apply a range of key skills, including software application, for acquiring and analysis of intelligence related data, specifically that available via open source means
  • produce, present, and critically assess intelligence products with respect to a client’s needs and requirements

Intellectual skills

  • undertake autonomous evidence based learning, including the identification and review of literature, set and solve problems, and process research data by reading and writing critically and analytically
  • express originality and creativity in the application of knowledge and understanding
    design and undertake a significant research project using a range of materials and relevant methodological approaches and theoretical frameworks
  • demonstrate awareness of and respond to ethical consideration and concerns relevant to undertaking research on security matters

Transferable/key skills

  • present materials and ideas coherently in written and verbal form, with clear use of language, professional referencing and use of tables, diagrams and graphics where appropriate
  • communicate effectively with audiences at different levels (peer group, academic staff, professionals)
  • work flexibly and constructively in collaborative groups or independently
    give and receive constructive criticism
  • use a range of information technology resources and demonstrate the ability to use and evaluate internet sites perceptively and responsibly
  • recognise and present an awareness of intercultural and interfaith matters and global citizenship
  • undertake leadership roles and work effectively within team environments

 

A range of formative and extra-curricular features are embedded within this programme. These include

  • Language learning opportunities (e.g. German, Czech, Russian, Chinese, Spanish, Urdu, Arabic)
  • Study Tour opportunities (e.g. Brussels/Paris/London/Derry, Belfast) to visit key institutions and organisations working in the security sector such as NATO, European External Action Service
  • Policy development exercises, situational workshops and crisis management training events
  • Project based Summer Schools (see below for more details)
  • Opportunities to attend security focused conferences
  • Specialist guest lectures and seminars
  • Employibility Training
  • Membership of the University of Glasgow’s Global Security Network

Students (funded and fee-paying) should be aware that the programme involves a minimum of 2 flights once you have arrived at Glasgow. Travel costs are not included with tuition fees.

Possible travel includes:

  • Glasgow to Dublin
  • Glasgow to Trento
  • Dublin to Prague OR via optional summer school
  • Trento to Prague OR via optional summer school
  • Prague to Dublin, Trento OR Glasgow (if not based in Czech Republic for your dissertation period)
  • Work-placement students will have additional travel to factor into account

 

Summer Schools

Students have the opportunity to participate in one of 4 optional summer schools that run in August in either year 1 or year 2 of their programme. Each summer school accommodates between 25-30 students. The cost of the summer school tuition is embedded in the total programme fees whether you decide to attend the summer school or not, although we highly recommend that you attend one. However, the travel costs and living costs incurred during the summer school are not included in these expenses. Scholarship students should use their travel and monthly subsistence grant to cover attendance at the summer school.

The OTH Regensburg Summer School will provide specialist project and scenario based training on social network analysis, data analytics and will provide opportunity to work directly with civilian and military intelligence personnel.

The University of Cádiz Summer School will offer a new and unique learning experience at the crossroads between border security, immigration and crisis management. Students will attend a series of seminars on migrations, human rights, geopolitics, intelligence and crisis communication. Working in teams, they will take part in a scenario that will challenge them to respond to a fictional crisis with ongoing real-time events and impactful decisions made by politicians and senior security and intelligence officers. Students will also pay a visit to some border agency facilities (Integrated External Surveillance System – SIVE, Port of Algeciras, police forces and the Rota military base where they will participate in a conference involving Rota staff).

The VoxPol Summer School will provide specialist training for social media and network analysis to enable explorations of ‘violent’ extremist politics in the online sphere, with oversight from VoxPol experts. DCU is the lead partner for VoxPol, which is a EU funded virtual centre-of-excellence project that integrates the world’s leading researchers and research groups in Violent Online Political Extremism, to include those researching the intersection of terrorism and the Internet (including violent jihadists, violent separatists, etc.), the online activities of the extreme Right, and the potential for violent online radicalisation.

The University of Trento summer school will explore how Inter-state and civil wars, terrorism, political instability and poverty have had repercussions both within the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region and neighbouring countries.

Early on in mobility one you will be given information about the programmes Work-based Learning (WBL) Scheme. This scheme is directly linked to the independent study portfolio element of the programme.

Students will competitively apply for research projects provided by our associate partners during Mobility 1 and those who are successfully matched will work with the partner remotely on the research project throughout Mobility 2 and 3. After submission of the dissertation the student will complete a 6-8 week in house placement at the partner organisation where they will work on turning the dissertation into an of-value output and undertaking other related tasks for the partner. The placement MUST be carried out during June/July/August as agreed with the partner organisation. Please note that the project partners are likely to be international organisations with offices across the world. If a student chooses to take this option and is successfully placed with a partner he/she will need to secure his/her own Visa, travel and accommodation for the duration of the placement. Students will not receive payment for this work.

Students can choose to source their own project with an associated placement, but they must work with the programme convenor to ensure the project meets all necessary criteria and complete any necessary paperwork. Students on this scheme will be supervised by two members of staff from at least two of the programme partners. Each student will also have a mentor from the partner organisation to which he/she is placed. Students on the WBL placement scheme will receive support throughout the process from our dedicated Work Related Learning Opportunities Co-ordinator.