LLM/MSc International Relations, Law & Security

Key facts

  • Start date: September
  • Study mode and duration: 12 months full-time;
    24 months part-time

Study with us

  • learn alongside students from other disciplinary backgrounds
  • focus on contemporary policies rather than traditonal areas of concern
  • benefit from a unique multidisciplinary experience
  • examine the contemporary issues relating to the course topics through legal and political viewpoints

How could the Covid-19 pandemic affect my studies?

Covid-19: information & FAQs
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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 in International Relations, Law & Security introduces 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.

The programme offers a genuinely interdisciplinary experience, which sets it apart from other MSc courses. The core module is co-taught across the School of Government & Public Policy and the Law School, and you 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.

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THE Awards 2019: UK University of the Year Winner

Interested in postgraduate study?

Our friendly and knowledgeable team will be available to provide you with all of the information you need to kick-start your postgraduate journey at the University of Strathclyde.

Join one of our upcoming online drop-in sessions on:

  • Wednesday 20 January - 3pm to 4:30pm
  • Thursday 25 February - 3pm to 4:30pm
Register for drop-in sessions

What you'll study

The course is organised into core and optional classes and a research project dissertation. You'll take two compulsory classes and choose four optional classes from a wide range offered by the School of Government & Public Policy and the Law School. You're required to take least one optional class from each school. Classes in legal research methods/skills are tailored for those with and without a law background.

Work placement

You'll have the opportunity to complete a client-based project as a part of your dissertation research. On the advice of the School, you can contact host organisations including local, city, and national governmental organisations for project-based MSc dissertations.

These projects will normally be unpaid, however, all costs such as travel and accommodation will be covered by the host organisation, if out of town.

The work placement is only available via the MSc route



Learning & teaching

All classes are taught in seminars, which combine theoretical discussion and a strong empirical or policy focus, as appropriate. Seminars consist of a variety of teaching techniques including small-group work, structured debates, presentations, and background lectures.

Classes average 20 contact hours with additional computer laboratory sessions for some methods classes.


Methods of assessment include written assignments, blogs, podcasts, practical team projects, presentations, individual projects, and exams. Most modules involve more than one method of assessment to help you realise your potential.

These account for two thirds of the total assessment. Your dissertation, produced over the summer, accounts for the remaining third.

Guest lectures

Speakers at our weekly seminars include guest lecturers who come to Strathclyde as part of the Erasmus programme. They're also available for individual consultations with you as an MSc student here. Strathclyde’s organised research centres such as the European Policies Research Centre, routinely host their own 'Speaker’s Series' where talks relevant to the content of the course are common. You'll have time for networking with visiting speakers afterwards.


The School of Government & Public Policy has a number of research centres that relate to the topics covered in the content of the course. For example, the European Policies Research Centre is a leading hub for the study of regional development policy and collection of such data in Europe, a centre that is of increasing importance in the wake of Brexit. 

The Law School hosts a number of relevant research centres: Centre for the Study of Human Rights Law; Centre for Law, Crime & Justice; Centre for Environmental Law & Governance.

Specialised policy centres focused on health and energy – such as the Centre for Energy Policy – also add to the applied policy environment at Strathclyde.  The Institute for Future Cities' City Observatory, located in Strathclyde’s award-winning Technology & Innovation Centre, uses data to understand and address urban problems. The University also has many centres and institutes with projects that incorporate European governance and political issues, such as Fraser of Allander Institute.

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Course content

Contemporary Security Challenges & Responses

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.

Principles of Research Design

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)

This class equips students with the requisite skills for legal research at Masters’ level and enables them to develop an appropriate thesis proposal.

Legal Research Skills

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.

Please note that classes on offer may vary from year to year.

Contemporary International Relations

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.

Comparative Public Policy

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.

Feminism & International Relations

This class will begin by learning about context, in terms of the expansion and institutionalisation of the feminist movement on a global scale and the emergence of a feminist voice in the International Relations discipline.

We'll then discuss conceptual, theoretical and methodological convergences and differences in feminist International Relations. A final seminar will reflect on the impact of feminism on both world politics and International Relations, and focus particularly on engagements and critique from the mainstream of the discipline.

Quantitative Methods 1

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.

Quantitative Methods 2

This class trains participants in the design, application, presentation, and critical evaluation of quantitative political research using relevant software packages for statistical analysis.

Qualitative Methods

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.

Please note that classes on offer may vary from year to year.

European 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.

International Human Rights Law

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.

Human Rights Law in Comparative Perspective

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.

Terrorism & the Law

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.

Human Rights Protection in the UK

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.

International Migration Law

International migration is a global phenomenon that raises multiple complex issues. This class examines the international legal framework governing international migration. Topics include protection of migrant workers, international refugee protection, the EU asylum policy, and internal displacement.

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. 

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Entry requirements

Academic requirements

First- or upper second-class Honours degree, or overseas equivalent, in social sciences/law subjects or substantial professional experience.

English language requirements

Please check our English requirements before making your application.

Pre-Masters preparation course

The Pre-Masters Programme is a preparation course held at the University of Strathclyde International Study Centre, for international students (non EU/UK) who do not meet the academic entry requirements for a Masters degree at University of Strathclyde. The Pre-Masters programme provides progression to a number of degree options.

Upon successful completion, you will be able to progress to this degree course at the University of Strathclyde.

International students

We've a thriving international community with students coming here to study from over 100 countries across the world. Find out all you need to know about studying in Glasgow at Strathclyde and hear from students about their experiences.

Visit our international students' section

Map of the world.

Our students

Glasgow is Scotland's biggest & most cosmopolitan city

Our campus is based in the very heart of Glasgow, Scotland's largest city. National Geographic named Glasgow as one of its 'Best of the World' destinations, while Rough Guide readers have voted Glasgow the world’s friendliest city! And Time Out named Glasgow in the top ten best cities in the world - we couldn't agree more!

We're in the city centre, next to the Merchant City, both of which are great locations for sightseeing, shopping and socialising alongside your studies.

Find out what some of our students think about studying in Glasgow!

Find out all about life in Glasgow
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Fees & funding

All fees quoted are per academic year unless stated otherwise.

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England, Wales & Northern Ireland




Additional costs

Poster presentation £10.

Available scholarships

Take a look at our scholarships search for funding opportunities.

Please note: the fees shown are annual and may be subject to an increase each year. Find out more about fees.

How can I fund my course?

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Scottish postgraduate students

Scottish postgraduate students may be able to apply for support from the Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS). The support is in the form of a tuition fee loan and for eligible students, a living cost loan. Find out more about the support and how to apply.

Don’t forget to check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

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Students coming from England

Students ordinarily resident in England may be to apply for postgraduate support from Student Finance England. The support is a loan of up to £10,280 which can be used for both tuition fees and living costs. Find out more about the support and how to apply.

Don’t forget to check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

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Students coming from Wales

Students ordinarily resident in Wales may be to apply for postgraduate support from Student Finance Wales. The support is a loan of up to £10,280 which can be used for both tuition fees and living costs. Find out more about the support and how to apply.

Don’t forget to check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

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Students coming from Northern Ireland

Postgraduate students who are ordinarily resident in Northern Ireland may be able to apply for support from Student Finance Northern Ireland. The support is a tuition fee loan of up to £5,500. Find out more about the support and how to apply.

Don’t forget to check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

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International students

We've a large range of scholarships available to help you fund your studies. Check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

Strathclyde Alumni

Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences Alumni Discount

Alumni from undergraduate programmes who graduated between 2014-2019 can receive 10% off the fee for full-time programmes.

Find out more about our alumni discount
Richard Johnson, politics lecturer
As a political science scholar, I believe it's my duty to educate and inspire students in political science. My goal is to ensure that our students are able to leave our MSc programs and follow their passion in politics and public policy so that they may make a real-world difference.
Richard Johnson
Course Director
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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)
  • journalism
  • police
  • 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.

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International Relations, Law and Security

Qualification: LLM
Start Date: Sep 2021
Mode of Attendance: full-time

International Relations, Law and Security

Qualification: LLM
Start Date: Sep 2021
Mode of Attendance: part-time

International Relations, Law and Security

Qualification: MSc
Start Date: Sep 2021
Mode of Attendance: part-time

International Relations, Law and Security

Qualification: MSc
Start Date: Sep 2021
Mode of Attendance: full-time

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Contact us

Register your interest and find out more about the programme

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak our team are working from home and can be contacted via our online enquiry form.