The University of Southampton
Social Sciences: Politics & International RelationsPart of Social SciencesPostgraduate study

MSc International Security and Risk

Changing the world for the better is becoming harder. We live in a world that appears to be becoming less secure and more complex than at any time in living memory. In the field of security studies this is posing new challenges, imposing new constraints and demanding new thinking.

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Through this programme you will have the opportunity to develop new solutions to these complex challenges by undertaking wide interdisciplinary study.  You will have the opportunity to examine the key security issues facing the world today, including cyber threats, terrorism, weapons of mass destruction, and the challenges posed by states and non-state actors.  With a focus on understanding the real-world policy implications of these security challenges, you will have the opportunity to develop practical, policy-relevant proposals. Using advanced research on risk analysis and decision making, you will be expected to apply advanced interdisciplinary skills and knowledge in addressing global security issues.

You will be able to tailor your study and research interests by choosing from a range of option modules and selecting your main research topic. Your contact hours will vary depending on your module/option choices. Full information about contact hours is provided in individual module profiles.

View the programme specification document for the course

Programme Structure

The programme is normally studied over 12 months full-time. The taught component of the programme consists of 30 study weeks divided into two semesters during which time students study eight modules (62.5 ECTS/125 CATS). Students must take 4 compulsory modules and must choose 30ECTS/60 CATS of option modules. Alternative option modules not listed below may be taken, but only with the prior approval of the programme lead.  Students who successful complete the taught component undertake a three-month period of supervised research for a Master’s dissertation at a value of 30 ECTS/60 CATS).

Entry Requirements

Typical entry requirements

Bachelor’s degree

The normal criterion for admission is a high upper second class Honours degree in a relevant subject (some examples may include social sciences, economics, history, or cognate fields) from a UK university or an equivalent standard in other qualifications approved by the University.

Mature applicants

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

The University has a Recognition of Prior Learning Policy

English Language Proficiency
7.0 6.5 6.5 6.5 6.5

For more information visit the English Language Proficiency page

Selection process

The University’s Admissions Policy applies equally to all programmes of study. The following are the typical entry criteria to be used for selecting candidates for admission. The University’s approved equivalencies for the requirements listed below will also be acceptable.

This page contains specific entry requirements for this course. Find out about equivalent entry requirements and qualifications for your country.


Typical course content

To be confirmed

Please note: This specification provides a concise summary of the main features of the programme and the learning outcomes that a typical student might reasonably be expected to achieve and demonstrate if s/he takes full advantage of the learning opportunities that are provided. More detailed information can be found in the programme handbook (or other appropriate guide or website).

Fees & funding

Tuition fees

Fees for postgraduate taught courses vary across the University. All fees are listed for UK, EU and international full-time and part-time students alphabetically by course name.

View the full list of course fees


Scholarships, bursaries, sponsorships or grants may be available to support you through your course. Funding opportunities available to you are linked to your subject area and/or your country of origin. These can be from the University of Southampton or other sources.

Explore funding opportunities

Costs associated with this course

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In some cases you'll be able to choose modules (which may have different costs associated with that module) which will change the overall cost of a programme to you. Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

Career Opportunities

This course has been specifically designed for students with a practical, career-related focus.  The security sector and security-related jobs provide a very wide range of career opportunities. The broad, inter-disciplinary nature of the course provides multiple pathways for entering these industries and sectors, including government departments and agencies, business, international organisations, think tanks and NGOs.  Specific career routes could involve security analysis, cyber defence, risk analysis, policy development, intelligence assessment and conflict resolution.

Learning & Assessment

Study locations

Hartley Library

Highfield campus

Social Sciences is based on the main campus of the University in the M...Find out more

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