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MA Applied Security Strategy

Programme summary:

Focus on contemporary security 

Focusing on insecurity in the contemporary world, you will examine the nature of strategy and how it relates to both policy and action in a fast-evolving and volatile international system. This is a world where questions are being asked of traditional institutions and levers of state-craft. There is a pressing need for creative, disciplined thinkers able to turn their ideas into action.

The MA considers threats to national, international and human security, ranging from interstate conflicts to more diverse contemporary security challenges, such as terrorism, organised crime, resource denial and cyber security. You will investigate the drivers of instability, such as competition for resources in an age of increasing demand and financial austerity and look in detail at how the instruments of strategy, such as diplomacy and strategic communications, might be more effectively integrated.

You will learn how to design and manage strategic responses to crises, considering how decisions are made and the causes and consequences of miscalculation. This is not a war studies degree, but you will become familiar with the various forms of violent conflict, and learn through case studies, how the consequences are managed and, ideally, resolved. 

Strategy in action

The way we teach this programme is unique. Our aim is not just to expand your theoretical knowledge but to develop conceptual and practical skills in strategic analysis, planning and leadership which you will be able to apply wherever you decide to make your career.

The MA, originally crafted by Professor Paul Cornish and Sir Paul Newton is now led by our new Academic Director and MStrat Programme Director: Professor Patrick Porter in conjunction with Sir Paul Newton. It is taught by a carefully selected mix of internationally-respected academic experts and leading practitioners from the public, private and third sectors. Learning will have practical application, relevance and be informed by the latest thinking and hard-won experience.

Drawing on simulation and scenario-planning techniques employed by industry, government and the military, you will learn how to design and implement strategy in conditions mirroring the complexity, uncertainty and pressure experienced by senior leaders everywhere: strategy making is a transferable skill in many sectors. 

Participating in exercises run on campus and, for example, at the NATO Allied Rapid Reaction Corps HQ, you will hone the strategic skills demanded of those holding top positions in international organisations, NGOs, the private sector, government and the security sector, and those who support them.

First hand experience

To learn more about strategy in action, you will visit international organisations and engage with think tanks and policymakers to hear from and debate with those involved in dealing with insecurity, conflict and its aftermath. Overseas field trips to post-conflict zones in the Balkans and elsewhere in Europe will give you an enhanced and intensely personal perspective of the complexities, dilemmas and consequences of security strategy.

Our innovative interdisciplinary approach will equip you with a multi-dimensional understanding of the nature of confrontation, crisis and conflict, including the political, legal, social, economic, information and military levers.

The MA will provide you with invaluable skills, insight, knowledge, and connections (via our unrivalled network of Honorary Professors and Fellows) if you wish to pursue a career in policy-making, diplomacy, the private sector, in an NGO, in the military, the media – indeed, any environment requiring strategic acumen, insight and leadership.

As an MA Applied Security Strategy graduate, we hope you will be part of a life-long network of learning and shared experience fostered by teamwork and collaboration on the course and continued through an enduring affiliation with the Strategy and Security Institute.

Our experts

MA Applied Security Strategy
A unique approach to developing a new generation of leaders.