There has never been a more urgent need for strategists; those able to make sense of an increasingly complex and volatile world. We are responding to this challenge with a set of unique educational programmes to develop the leaders of the future; those who are determined not only to understand but to shape events.

Now also available as a part-time programme

Our MA Applied Security Strategy aims to meet the needs of current and future strategic practitioners and anyone who wishes to understand strategy in action. This interdisciplinary programme is designed to develop confident, critical thinkers with the potential to lead on the development and execution of policy and strategy in an uncertain, culturally-diverse and resource-constrained world.

The programme, which takes a sharp, highly-relevant and practitioner-targeted focus, employs simulations and fieldtrips alongside lectures, seminars and conferences with leading academics and practitioners to create and train experts in the fusion of strategic communications and intelligence to craft policy and strategy in the contemporary security arena.

Find out more.

Our research degrees provide opportunities to study with leading academics and practitioners who are specialists in strategy and security. We offer MPhil/PhD study and a one-year Masters by Research. We particularly welcome enquiries from students seeking to undertake research in our key impact areas.

Alongside the Masters in Applied Security Strategy the Institute has developed a range of short courses and simulations for external partners and organisations. We are working with individuals and organisations to deliver applied innovative education, based on cutting-edge academic theory mixed with relevant practitioner experience. Find out more.

The Institute can offer undergraduate modules as part of a Flexible Combined Honours programmes. Also SSI Academics are occasionally available as dissertation supervisors for UG 3rd Year students. Find out more.

Work placements are not part of the MA Applied Security Strategy but members of SSI are in a position to assist the most able SSI students with finding work placements.

SSI is here to equip students with prudence, or 'practical wisdom.' Practical wisdom revolves around the questions 'So what?' and 'Will it work?' The purpose of an education in ‘applied strategy’ is not just to pass on knowledge with authority, but to develop the professional judgement of future decision-makers.
Our ethos is to develop students’ judgment through a dialogue between theory and practice. Theory provides the intellectual capital of classical thought and ideas. Students draw upon theory to help consider the practical problems of pursuing security in an uncertain world. At SSI, we approach education as an active, experiential and dynamic exercise, where they teach each other under the guidance of academic educators. In exercises and simulations, they make theoretically-informed choices under pressure. And SSI brings students into contact with leading figures from government, the military, business and the public sphere.
Our goal is not to mass-produce strategic geniuses or build future Bismarcks or Kissingers. Instead, we aim to cultivate good strategic instincts: to prepare students to define problems, weigh up the dilemmas of a situation, empathise with allies and adversaries, understand the possibilities and limits of power, and above all, prepare their minds to adapt to what Sir Michael Howard called ‘the utterly unpredictable, the entirely unknown.’
In a world where resources are scarce, information is ambiguous, where threats and security are hard to measure; SSI shapes leaders who can give us a wiser future.

Professor Patrick Porter, Academic Director and MStrat Programme Director

At the moment I’m doing my dissertation with the SSI as well as taking a final-year module with them. The difference between this and my other modules is startling. The SSI team are all experts in their field, with many having become academics after long careers in the armed forces or elsewhere, and it shows; their knowledge is practical, not just, well, academic. They are also clearly a tight-knit team and work together to present as much expertise to their students as possible, every one of them taking part in teaching the same module.

Having my dissertation supervised by Sir Paul Newton, the head of the SSI, is extremely valuable. I’m writing on the private security sector, on everyone from Halliburton to Academi, and having an SSI supervisor brings a lot to the table: A supervisor who is himself an expert, having worked with these organisations personally, and sitting on the boards of others; and also one who is able to introduce me to a vast number of contacts across the field only too willing to give me tips and insight – this in addition to the plethora of experts the SSI already has down regularly to lecture.

The institute was also set up with teaching specifically in mind, and it shows in Sir Paul’s oversight – I’m not a distraction to his research, as some academics might view their undergrads, but someone whose topic he is genuinely interested in, and who he is keen to see do well. Also, while it might not be for everyone, having a General on your case about your dissertation deadlines is exactly the incentive I need to get it done!

A Politics 3rd Year student gives us his thoughts on an SSI Dissertation Supervisor


If you have any enquiries regarding our educational programmes, please contact Debbie Ironside-Smith.

We are pleased to discuss your requirements and help you find the right course to enable you to fulfil your career ambitions or your organisation’s development needs.

Debbie Ironside-Smith
Phone: +44 (0) 1392 72 4802

Assigments for the USCP should be submitted by post and sent to:

Strategy and Security Institute (USCP)


Streatham Drive

Exeter EX4 4PD