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.

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.

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

  • International security & strategic thought
  • 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)

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

  • Intelligence & security analysis: theory & practice
  • Individual Options (choice of two from the following):
    • International security: Critical Approaches
    • Political Terrorism
    • Conflict, Security and Peacebuilding
    • Environmental Change and World Politics
    • Politics of the United Nations
    • Criminology
    • Politics of the Middle east and North Africa
    • Russia and the Former Soviet Space
    • India: The Politics of an Emerging Power
    • Politics and Development in Africa
    • Additional courses may be available subject to availability
  • Language (optional): different language options are subject to availability

Summer of Semester 2: May-August (various locations subject to completion of all coursework)

  • Research period to work on dissertation and engage with placement partner or undertake a self-sourced internship
  • Summer School* (provided by OTH Regensburg), includes training on situational awareness, presentation and communication, data analytics

*Important information:

The summer school is optional, although we highly recommend all students attend it. The cost of the summer school tuition is embedded in the total programme fees whether you decide to attend the summer school or not. 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.

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.

Concentration B – Regional Security

  • Regional security (core)
  • African security
  • Asian security
  • Grand strategies
  • Middle East security.

Concentration C – Security & Technology

  • Security and technology (core)
  • Cyber security
  • Intelligence
  • Space security
  • Technology and warfare.

Concentration D – Conflict Studies

  • Conflict studies (core)
  • Ethics and violence
  • Human security
  • Peacekeeping and peacebuilding
  • Terrorism and counterterrorism
  • Radicalisation and Deradicalisation
  • Insurgency and Counterinsurgency

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).

The language of instruction for all courses is English. However, students are strongly encouraged to undertake second language training (e.g. Russian, Arabic, Chinese, German, Czech, French etc) during their mobility periods. The Semester 1 language course tuition is included in the programme fee. If a student wishes to undertake a second/third language they will have to pay an additional tuition fee.

The Consortium Management Board will have overall responsibility for safeguarding the common standards and mechanisms for the examination of students (European and Third Country).

Each of the course components of the International Master programme has its own form of assessment.  Assessment methods used within this programme will be outlined in individual course handbooks. They will include:

  • written examinations
  • essays
  • written research projects
  • policy briefing papers
  • literature reviews
  • reflexive writing tasks
  • individual and group based oral presentations
  • dissertation
  • placement project
  • end of programme oral examination/viva.

Additional learning will be formatively assessed through:

  • peer and tutor reviewed presentations
  • workshop activities
  • observational placement report
  • formative written tasks.

In order to calculate the final grade achieved for each course, the marks for each assessment component are weighted according to their credit rating. See the Erasmus Mundus IMSISS Postgraduate Policies and Regulations Guide.

In year 1 a candidate will be permitted to progress to the Independent Study Portfolio (Dissertation) only if s/he has obtained an average aggregation score of 12 (equivalent to Grade C3) or above in the taught courses described above, with at least 75% of the credits at a score of 9 or better (Grade D3 or better) and all credits at a score of 3 or above (Grade F or above). 

Each joint partner university will take responsibility for marking according to its own criteria and IMSISS students will be assessed in the same manner as local students. A system of moderated marking will be employed. Each partner university will provide assessment marks as they stand to the Consortium’s Board of Examiners, along with detailed additional descriptors. The Board of Examiners will confirm the translation of grades into the University of Glasgow grading scheme. The consortium will produce a joint degree transcript and diploma supplement issued to graduates at the Graduation Ceremony which will be held at the University of Glasgow.

All examination results will be discussed and finalised by the Board of Examiners and formally approved by the Consortium Management Board. The marking systems for each partner university and how these relate the University of Glasgow and ECTS systems will be made clear to students in advance.

The joint degree will have its own external examiner who will be represented on the Board of Examiners.

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, Washington) 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
  • A project based Summer School
  • Opportunities to attend security focused conferences
  • Specialist guest lectures and seminars
  • Employability Tranining
  • Membership of the University of Glasgow’s Global Security Network and the opportunity to work closely with staff from Charles University’s Deutsch Security Square

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

Possible flights include:

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

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.