Overview and entry requirements
The MA in Global Security and Strategy online programme takes a critical view to traditional strategic studies, encompassing Africa, Asia and Middle East approaches to grand strategy for peace and security, conflict resolution, international collaboration, war technologies and disarmament.
Delivered by the Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy (CISD), the programme has an inter-disciplinary structure drawing on the teaching expertise and cutting-edge research of SOAS departments and the public discussion of security and strategy in a globalised world.
Students on this MA will gain an excellent understanding of Global Security and Strategy concepts, developing an in-depth critical understanding of their nature from both historical and contemporary contexts. Students will obtain a thorough grounding in the subject, as well as a sophisticated understanding of global policy and governance developments.
See Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy (CISD)
Who should apply
Relevant for those engaged in or embarking on careers in global policy, security and strategy or related fields requiring international expertise in government, not-for-profit, corporate or academic environments. This course will be of particular interest to those engaged with Global Security Issues such as the UN and NATO.
By studying online, students have the flexibility to integrate studies into working life without having to take a career break.
Start of programme: April / October
Mode of Attendance: Online Learning
- A minimum upper second class honours degree (or equivalent). We welcome applications from academically strong individuals from a wide variety of fields and backgrounds. Candidates with a lower class degree but with degree-relevant work experience may be considered.
- 2 years
Introducing the MA Global Security and Strategy
With Dr Dan Plesch, Dr J. Simon Rofe and Professor Michael Charney.
What does the programme involve?
This degree provides balanced insight into the analytic skills and practice needed to comprehend contemporary security and strategy.
What kind of students will the course appeal to?
The Master’s in Global Security and Strategy is for those students seeking to apply an understanding of the concepts to the contemporary world in the realms of business, commercial risk assessment, international aid organisations the NGO sector and serving military and foreign service personal. The flexibility of the programme, with 100% of the learning experience delivered online, gives participants the opportunity to tailor their study schedule to suite their individual circumstances and commitments. The degree builds on our campus teaching which appeals to people developing careers in and around global security and strategic issues, some are serving military officers or foreign ministry officials, others working for commercial risk assessment firms or non-governmental organisations.
What facilities are available?
The programme’s classroom is SOAS’s Online Virtual Learning Environment, (VLE), which means you can take it with you wherever you are and access it whenever you need it with minimal bandwidth access to the internet. The VLE gives you access to SOAS world class library and the necessary learning material. Throughout each module you are supported by a dedicated Associate Tutor, as well as a Personal Tutor, an administrative team with access to SOAS’s Student Support services. Students are always welcome to visit the campus in London. Study tours to a range of destinations to international organisations in Europe, North America and Africa are available for a fee on a first come first served basis.
What is special about the programme at SOAS?
The CISD programme provides a unique critical examination of security and strategy in a changing global climate. We address a range of questions facing those operating in the 21st Century:
- what mechanisms will allow the world to address the promise offered by the United Nations, on issues such as Global Climate Change, sustainable development and disarmament?
- How should we understand the shift from the high hopes at the end of the Cold War to the challenges to the fundamental architecture of global security systems today in the space of 30 years?
- How does security and strategy reconcile long term trends in humanity and the environment with short term political imperatives?
- To what extent has technology shaped conflict in the past and what is the impact of the likes of Artificial Intelligence going to be in the future?
Can you recommend a good book to read on Global Security and Strategy?
- Tarak Barkawi, (2016). Decolonising war. European Journal of International Security, 1(2), 199-214. doi:10.1017/eis.2016.7
- Sanjay Subrahmanyam, ‘Connected histories: Notes towards a reconfiguration of early modern Eurasia’, Modern Asian Studies, 31:3 (1997), pp. 735–762
- Mary Dudziak, War Time: An Idea, Its History, Its Consequences New York: Oxford University Press (2012)
- Mary Kaldor, Old and New Wars (1995)
- Claire Snyder, Citizen-Soldiers and Manly Warriors: Military Service and Gender in the Civic Republican Tradition (Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 1999)
- Sarah, Percy, Mercenaries, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007
- Elizabeth Kier, Imagining War (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1997.
- Peter Hough, International Security Studies: Theory and Practice (2019)
Roland Dannreuther, International Security: The Contemporary Agenda (2013)
- Richard K. Betts, ed., Conflict After the Cold War: Arguments on Causes of War and Peace (2017 ed).
- Paul Rogers, Losing Control: Global Security in the 21st Century (2010, 3rd ed).
What do students do after graduating?
Graduate destinations include the United Nations, NATO, risk analysis firms, intergovernmental organizations, thinktanks, human rights and development NGOs, multinational corporations, academia, and the media and accelerated careers in their posts as military officers, foreign ministry officials, and private industry.
Students will study one core modules and a range of elective modules on offer each session. There are also four research mini modules.
- 1 x core modules
- 3 x elective modules
- 4 x research mini modules
- 1 x dissertation
Students are required to rank three elective modules in preferred order from the below sample list for each study session following their core module. All modules are subject to availability and this list is not exhaustive from session to session.
The information on the programme page reflects the intended programme structure against the given academic session. If you are a current student you can find structure information on the previous year link at the top of the page or through your Department. Please read the important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules.
Teaching and Learning
Teaching & Learning
This programme is taught 100% online through our Virtual Learning Environment (VLE).
Virtual Learning Environment (VLE)
In the VLE you will have access to learning materials and course resources anytime so you can fit your studies around your existing commitments. For each module, students will be provided with access, through both the SOAS Library and the University of London’s Online Library, to all necessary materials from a range of appropriate sources.
A key component of the student experience will be peer to peer learning, with students enrolled in discussion forums.
In addition to a dedicated Associate Tutor, a Study Timetable is provided for each module and for the overall programme to help you to organise your time.
The programme is broken down into two study sessions per year. Each subject module lasts 16 weeks, followed by a research mini module lasting 8 weeks.
Sample study timetable
|Research mini module
Each module is assessed by five written online assessments (‘etivities’*) comprising of 30%, the remaining 70% is formed of a 5,000 word essay.The etivities provide formative and summative feedback to students as a means of monitoring their progress and encouraging areas in which they can improve.
* An 'e-tivity' is a framework for online, active and interactive learning following a format that states clearly to the students its 'Purpose'; the 'Task' at hand; the contribution or 'Response' type; and the 'Outcome' (Salmon, G. (2002) E-tivities: The Key to Active Online Learning, New York and London: Routledge Falmer.)
Research training and dissertation
Research training is a key feature of this programme, the dissertation module is presented in four development parts, which will follow each of your module sessions. Research modules one and three are formative modules only, and are not assessed.
The dissertation is assessed by the submission of a written dissertation of no more than 15,000 words, excluding the bibliography and appendices, which will account for 85% of the mark awarded for the module (research module four). The remaining 15% of the module mark will be based on the mark obtained for a 1,500 word research proposal (research module two).
The research proposal is compulsory for students going on to do a PGDip or MA; MA students must submit a dissertation at the end of research module four.
Fees and funding
*Only applicable to Global Diplomacy: South Asia and Global Diplomacy: Middle East & North Africa.
PG Dip and PG Cert are available as exit awards and interested students should be in touch directly with the course team at email@example.com
Note this is a new fee structure, students will continue their programme on the same fee structure throughout.
Pay as you learn
Our distance learning programmes can be paid in full at the time of enrolment or on a pay as you learn basis. Pay as you learn means you pay for modules prior to enrolment (£3,000).
If you have been a resident in England for 3 years you may be eligible. For more information, see please Fees and Finance.
Students from SOAS’s Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy (CISD) develop an in-depth understanding of international affairs, contemporary diplomatic practice and policy-makers. Graduates leave with a portfolio of transferable skills such as critical analysis, problem solving, negotiation and communication, all of which are valued by employers across a number of sectors.
Recent CISD graduates have been hired by:
- Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
- Ernst & Young
- European Centre for Democracy and Human Rights
- Government of India
- International Rescue Committee
- Medical Aid for Palestinians
- The Commonwealth
- UK National Commission for UNESCO
- United Nations
- World Food Programme
Find out about our Careers Service.
A Student's Perspective
The academics at the Centre don't simply prepare you to pass the course, but are concerned with communicating the real-world applications of their subjects in order to equip you as well as possible for your future career.
Complete our online application form to apply now!
If you have any question, please complete our Global Diplomacy (Distance Learning) Enquiry Form.
For application and enrolment deadlines, as well as session start/end dates, please see our Key dates and Term dates page.
Your completed application will be reviewed by a member of academic staff. If your application is successful, we will send you an official offer within ten working days and you will be asked to submit the relevant supporting documentation. Once in receipt of our offer, we recommend submitting your documents immediately.
Supporting documentation for applications
Only scans of original documents will be accepted. We do not accept black and white scanned photocopies. Please send your documents to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please ensure that you include your full name, student number and the programme you are applying for in the subject line. Please note that we reserve the right to ask for certified copies of the original documents, if necessary.
1. Degree certificates
We require documentation confirming the award of all qualifications listed in your application, which can either be your certificate or academic transcript. This must show: the name of the university, programme studied and the grade/classification you attained. If your university cannot issue official documents in English, we will require a certified translation in English of your degree certificate/transcript.
2. Copy of an identification document (Full name and date of birth)
Please submit full-colour photocopied evidence of your full name (including any changes) and your date of birth. This must be one of the following:
- Full name and date of birth Birth certificate
- National identification card
- UK driving license
- Alien registration certificate
If you have changed your name, please supply one of the following to reflect this change:
- Marriage certificate
- Deed poll
- Statutory declaration
3. Copy of English language proficiency certificate
If your degree was not taught and assessed in English, you will need to submit evidence of your English language competency. This should be either an IELTS or TOEFL certificate (you will need an IELTS overall score of 7.0 and 7 in both reading and writing).
We may also request that you provide us with references in support of your application. They should be from an individual who knows you on an academic basis. However, if you graduated more than three years ago we will accept a professional reference. Your reference should include an opinion (in English) on your academic and personal suitability for the proposed programme of study. Please note that, if necessary, we reserve the right to verify your qualifications with the relevant awarding body and to request further information from you about your background. Only scans of original documents will be accepted. We do not accept black and white scanned photocopies.
Please include a detailed CV that lists your employment and educational background including dates.