Why this course?
Internationally and domestically, security is among the most pressing concerns facing states. Adding to the complexity, is the increasingly broad definition of 'security' as new challenges emerge – for example in relation to climate change – while 'traditional' ones – such as terrorism – are reconstructed, along with the heightened interdependencies between states and within their critical infrastructures.
This MSc/LLM in International Relations, Law & Security introduces and familiarises students with contemporary issues relating to the course topics, examining them through legal and political viewpoints. It reflects contemporary policies by taking a broad view of ‘security’, rather than simply focusing on traditional areas of concern.
International Relations, Law & Security offers a genuinely interdisciplinary experience, which sets it apart from other MSc courses on international security and LLM courses on domestic and international security law.
The core module is co-taught across the Schools of Government &Public Policy and Law, and students are required to choose at least one optional class from each school.
Your experience is further enhanced by learning alongside students from other disciplinary backgrounds.
Compulsory classes - Semester 1
Contemporary Security Challenges & Responses
Principles of Research Design
The concept of national security expanded to incorporate not only ‘traditional’ threats from hostile actors, but a host of issues ranging from the impact of climate change, natural disasters, resource security and even recession.
Security has become increasingly globalised and interconnected in threat and response while also increasingly recruiting the populace to be ‘secure citizens’. The relevant theories underpinning these developing trends will be examined alongside the key institutions and actors.
This class covers key research design issues and enables you to evaluate alternative research designs and create appropriate research proposals. The class is designed to help you decide a research topic and a design that you will use for your dissertation. Topics covered include formulating research questions, developing concepts, and how to select cases to study.
Legal Research Methods & Skills (Year-long online)
Legal Research Skills
This class equips students with the requisite skills for legal research at Masters’ level and enables them to develop an appropriate thesis proposal.
Students from a non-law background will be required to undertake this short online course at the start of the semester. Topics cover the main sources of legal information, how to use these sources and how to develop an effective research strategy.
Elective classes - Semester 1
These classes are subject to change year on year.
Contemporary International Relations
Comparative Public Policy
This class introduces students to the literature and research agendas related to conflict and cooperation in international relations studies.
We will cover a wide array of approaches that relate to interstate and intrastate (civil) conflict, cooperation and other contemporary security topics such as post-conflict peace, peacekeeping operations, terrorism, and human rights violations.
European Human Rights Law
This class revolves around the different aims for conducting comparative policy analysis such as explaining the variation of policy output and outcome across different institutional, economic, social and cultural settings, generalising a given theory of policy process in different geographical contexts and by taking time into consideration, as well as capturing the interdependence of countries. Units of analysis include countries, states/regions, local governments, and international organisations.
Students will be introduced to concepts, research design, and methods.
International Human Rights Law
The European Convention on Human Rights is the most influential regional human rights treaty. This class looks at the case law of the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg and evaluates the substantive guarantees of the ECHR in areas such as fair trial, privacy and freedom of expression.
Quantitative Methods I
Human rights protection is a global concern. This class examines civil and political rights along with economic, social and cultural rights, and assesses the range of international monitoring and supervision regimes. Topics covered include the major international treaties and bodies. It also looks at the challenges to human rights in transitional societies as well as the right to self-determination.
Terrorism & the Law (not available in 2016/17)
This class introduces participants to the use of quantitative methods in social research; in particular, the logic and language of empirical analysis, the principal types of quantitative data (official statistics and surveys), and the use of software packages for statistical analysis.
While legal responses to terrorism long pre-date the attacks of 9/11, the events of that day prompted a radical shift, with certain countries expanding their already substantial counter-terrorist offences and powers, while others moved to criminalise acts of terror as distinct crimes for the first time.
Elective classes - Semester 2
These classes are subject to change year on year.
Human Rights Law in Comparative Perspective
Human Rights Protection in the UK
The proliferation of Bills of Rights in modern democracies has generated a variety of human rights standards as national courts adopt different approaches to rights conflicts. This class examines comparative perspectives on topical issues such as migrant protection.
Privacy, Crime & Security
The Human Rights Act 1998 is a major constitutional development in the UK. This class examines the on-going transformation in legal culture, the expansion in judicial power and the value of human rights litigation in achieving social change.
In light of revelations regarding state and non-state based surveillance on the Internet, issues concerning the use and misuse of private data in digital networks is a topical and controversial area of regulation. This module addresses these by providing an in-depth analysis of principles of privacy and data protection in digital networks, as well as criminal activity facilitated through these networks.
This class provides an overview of the ever-expanding field of qualitative methods in Political Science, International Relations and Policy Studies. A variety of data collection/generation and analytical methods will be examined, and situated within different traditions/paradigms of social research.
Throughout this class, we'll examine how these methods can be applied in students’ own research projects.
Remaining politics options can vary in scheduling year-to-year:
International Institutions & Regimes
The purpose of this class is to provide students with a comprehensive overview of the concepts and theoretical approaches central to understanding and analysing the role of international institutions and regimes in the contemporary world.
This class will survey a variety of international institutions and regimes, exploring how they shape global interactions in a number of cross-cutting issue areas such as security, trade, human rights and the environment. The overall analysis will contribute to the understanding of the theories, practices and processes through which global politics are organised and to an assessment of the future of international institutions and regimes in global governance.
Compulsory classes - Semester 3
Dissertation Research Project
Your Master’s will culminate in a dissertation. This is an extended project of enquiry into an area of your own choice within international relations, law and security. You'll create knowledge in answer to a question which really intrigues you. While you'll be very much in the driving seat, your work is nurtured and guided by a member of our academic staff team, whether in the School of Government and Public Policy or the School of Law.
Equity & Adaptation (taught)
Students on the LLM track may apply to undertake a field dissertation within a governmental or non-governmental organisation with an international focus. It can be either in the UK or overseas.
This unique opportunity is offered on a competitive basis. It lasts for up to 12 weeks between July & September. Work completed will focus on a specific area of law and will form the subject of your dissertation.
Previous students have undertaken placements in countries including Sri Lanka, Tanzania, South Africa, India & Kenya.
Examples of projects include:
- assessing the extent to which Indian environmental and energy laws promote the development of micro-renewables
- an analysis of whether Tanzanian land law discriminates against women and what reforms would be needed to address the discrimination
- an exploration of the low take-up of Clean Development Mechanism [CDM] in Sub-Saharan Africa and how the situation could be improved
- an assessment of environmental justice in Nigeria & South Africa
The project/field work is organised and supported by Challenges Worldwide - an innovative, award-winning, social enterprise working in international development.
Strathclyde provides comprehensive travel and health insurance for all participants in the Field Dissertation.
We also pay for the costs of your placement. You're responsible for the costs of flights, visas, and accommodation and living expenses while overseas. Such costs have tended to be around £1,500 - £2,500 per student.
In this module you’ll examine the equity and justice dilemmas highlighted by international climate policy. You’ll also learn about the specific legal and regulatory challenges raised by the issue of adaptation to climate change.
Class co-ordinator: Dr Harro Van Asselt
Read more about the Equity & Adaptation module.
Learning & teaching
This course is taught mainly through face-to-face teaching where class time is spent discussing and debating the weekly topic. Each class is delivered through two-hour weekly seminars, which students are required to attend.
Assessment is conducted with a mixture of presentations, written assignments and exams that vary module by module.
First or upper second-class Honours degree, or international equivalent, in social sciences/law subjects or substantial professional experience.
English language requirements
You're required to have a suitable minimum level of competency in the English language if your first language is not English or if you have not been educated wholly or mainly in the medium of English.
For postgraduate studies, the University of Strathclyde requires a minimum overall score of IELTS 6.5 (no individual test score below 6.0) or equivalent. Tests are valid for two years.
Pre-sessional courses in English are available.
If you’re a national of an English speaking country recognised by UK Visa and Immigrations (please check most up-to-date list on the Home Office website) or you have successfully completed an academic qualification (at least equivalent to a UK bachelor's degree) in any of these countries, then you do not need to present any additional evidence.
If you are from a country not recognised as an English speaking country by the United Kingdom Vis and Immigration (UKVI), please check our English requirements before making your application.
Pre-Masters preparation course
The Pre-Masters Programme is a preparation course for international students (non EU/UK) who do not meet the entry requirements for a Masters degree at the University of Strathclyde. The Pre-Masters programme provides progression to a number of degree options.
To find out more about the courses and opportunities on offer visit isc.strath.ac.uk or call today on +44 (0) 1273 339 333 and discuss your education future. You can also complete the online application form. To ask a question please fill in the enquiry form and talk to one of our multi-lingual Student Enrolment Advisers today.
Fees & funding
How much will my course cost?
All fees quoted are for full-time courses and per academic year unless stated otherwise.
- 2017/18 LLM/MSc - £6,500 - full-time
Rest of UK
- 2017/18 LLM/MSc - £6,500 - full-time
- 2017/18 LLM/MSc - £13,500 - full-time
How can I fund my course?
To recognise academic achievement, the Dean's International Excellence Award offers international students a merit-based scholarship of up to £3,000 for entry onto a full-time Masters programme in the Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences.
Check out our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.
Students living in Scotland can find out more about funding from the Student Awards Agency Scotland.
Students ordinarily resident in England may be eligible to apply for a loan of up to £10,000 to cover their tuition fees and living costs.
The fees shown are annual and may be subject to an increase each year. Find out more about fees.
The programme will equip students with the skills and knowledge to pursue professional careers in areas including the following:
- government (whether domestically or in supra-national organisations such as the EU or UN)
- armed forces
- international agencies
- non-governmental organisations
- law firms
For students, the strong research focus means this course will act as a route to advanced postgraduate study in Politics, International Relations, Law or Security Studies.
For those who wish to pursue a career outside academia, this research component will be beneficial for various research and policy roles and the public and third sectors.