Qualification level
Study type
1 year full time, 2 years part time
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About the course

Course content

Today's global community has brought with it unique and unforeseen challenges, from the threat of environmental catastrophe and resource shortages, to infrastructural and economic failure and global terror. Geopolitics and Security at Royal Holloway, University of London equips students with the knowledge and skills needed to tackle these era-defining issues to mitigate the impact of potential crises and foster critical reflections on the strategies and techniques which seek to keep us secure.. 

This flexible Masters programme lets you select from a range of specialist courses to suit your own interests and career ambitions, choosing from options in both the Departments of Geography and Politics and International Relations. Graduates will gain a Masters degree in a discipline offering excellent employability prospects, while professionals seeking further academic training will learn transferable risk management skills ideal for further career development. 

You'll join a vibrant research community and contribute to our renowned research culture with your own independent dissertation project. You’ll benefit from networking and placement opportunities with leading organisations and institutions, enjoy exciting field working opportunities in the UK and abroad, and work with leading researchers and research groups such as our Politics, Development and Sustainability Group in Geography with established track record in grant awards (eg from the ESRC, AHRC, Leverhulme Trust, EPSRC, British Academy, British Council, Falkland Island Government and the EU Marie-Curie fund).

Study Geopolitics and Security at Royal Holloway and you’ll graduate with a range of transferable skills to take with you into the workplace or further study. Learn to reflect on some of the most profound challenges of our times in this exciting Masters programme.

  • Benefit from networking opportunities, graduate placements and guest speaking appearances from leading academics.
  • Study in a department ranked 2nd in the UK for research by the Research Excellence Framework 2014.
  • Graduate with excellent employability prospects or progress to doctoral study.
  • Enjoy exciting fieldwork opportunities in the UK and abroad. 

Course structure

Core modules

  • Principles of Geopolitics and Security
  • Research Design in Geopolitics and Security
  • Dissertation

Optional modules

In addition to these mandatory course units there are a number of optional course units available during your degree studies. The following is a selection of optional course units that are likely to be available. Please note that although the College will keep changes to a minimum, new units may be offered or existing units may be withdrawn, for example, in response to a change in staff. Applicants will be informed if any significant changes need to be made.

  • Introduction to Quantitative Research Methods in Politics and International Relations
  • Theories and Qualitative Approaches in Politics and International Relations
  • Social Science Methods for Political Geography
  • Resilience and the Governing of Emergency
  • Transnational Security and the Law of Targeting
  • United States Foreign Policy
  • Contemporary Geopolitics of the Polar Regions
  • Media and the Military
  • Sovereignty, Rights and Justice
  • The Armed Forces and Society
  • Non-State Violence as a Challenge to Security
  • The Law of Cyber Warfare

Teaching & assessment

Formal and informal assessment is carried out by a variety of methods including coursework, oral and group work presentations, policy, briefing and media reports, video and documentary production, scenario planning and role-play, and a dissertation. Field visits to important sites and organisations, including RUSI, the IMO, the FCO, the RGS and others will also be available, supporting collegial interaction between students and staff. Emphasis is placed on informal assessment (especially through group work) so that students have plenty of opportunities to receive formative support and guidance.

Each year, the group will work on a major week-long project working with a cohort of French Masters students to devise the security planning of a major mega-event.

This programme is delivered in a single stage, equating to either one-year of full-time study or two years part-time, (or up to five years of part-time study by agreement with the Programme Director)

On completion of the course you will have:

  • An advanced knowledge and critical understanding of geopolitics and security including core debates, and case studies.
  • A detailed appreciation of methods and sources used to investigate geopolitical and security related issues and themes
  • High-level skills development especially in communication (including social media), report writing, briefing papers, political debate and critical thinking
  • Opportunities to enhance employability through practical experience and exposure to relevant individuals and organizations in the geopolitical/security-related field

Your future career

Geopolitics and Security at Royal Holloway, University of London has a strong emphasis on skills development and employability, putting graduates in an excellent position to progress to further study or a rewarding career in their chosen field. Ideal for both recent graduates and professionals seeking further training, this programme will provide you with excellent field experience, placement and networking opportunities for a career working in commercial or political organisations such as banking, energy, media, think tanks, NGOs and government, where risk (management), threat and insecurity are critical to strategic policy development..

Our recent alumni have progressed to fulfilling careers in government, the media, risk and security consultancies, non-governmental organisations and public organisations both in the UK and abroad. An ideal stepping stone for PhD progression, Geopolitics and Security will help you to achieve your career and academic ambitions. 

  • 90% of Royal Holloway graduates in work or further education within six months of graduating.
  • Study a programme with a strong emphasis on skills development and employability.
  • Graduate with a Masters degree in a field with excellent graduate employability prospects.

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