MSc in International Defence and Security

Application Dates
Course Overview
Masters (Coursework)
Tuition Fees
see website
Cranfield, United Kingdom
1 Year
Prior Study
Bachelor honours degree
Graduation Results
Not applicable
Study Field


This course considers some of the most pressing issues of world politics such as the causes of war and peace, the pressures and opportunities of globalisation, the threats posed by terrorism, and the problems of global poverty and injustice.

Who is it for?

This course is intended to attract students who are either currently employed in posts relating to Security Cooperation or those individuals who generally have an interest in issues pertaining to defence and security.

Students come from the following areas:

  • Serving members of the UK MOD (civilian and military)
  • Foreign MOD civil servants and members of foreign armed forces
  • Staff from other UK and foreign government departments, as well as international
  • Governmental and non-governmental organisations, who have an identified need to develop their knowledge of Defence and Security
  • Civilians with an interest in defence and security.

There is often a wide range of nationalities on the course, with a maximum of 30 places available.

Why this course?

The course content is dynamic, challenging, and cutting edge, designed to equip you with the skills and insights needed to understand and authoritatively analyse contemporary debates in international relations using a mixture of theoretical and empirical tools to deal with and confront the challenges presented by contemporary world politics.

The course draws upon our established expertise in international security, foreign and defence policy analysis, security studies, international law, conflict resolution, and environmental issues.

Your teaching team

  • Dr Anna Maria Brudenell
  • Dr Tom O’Brien
  • Dr Laura Cleary
  • Dr Anastasia Filippidou
  • David Turns
  • Edith Wilkinson
  • Dr Matthew Healy
  • Dr Anicee Van Engeland
  • Dr Gemma Collantes-Celador

Course details

The course consists of three core modules and a wide range of elective modules, of which you must pass seven, followed by a dissertation.


There are a variety of assessment methods including written assignments, individual and group presentations, dissertation and examinations.

Compulsory modules

All the modules in the following list need to be taken as part of this course:

  • Study Skills and Research Methodology
  • Issues in International Security, Conflict and Development
  • Defence in the 21st Century

Elective modules

A selection of modules from the following list need to be taken as part of this course:

  • Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution
  • Managing Defence in the Wider Security Context
  • Counterterrorism and Intelligence
  • International Law and Armed Conflicts
  • Strategic Frameworks and Decision Making in the Ancient and Modern Worlds
  • Gender, Violence and Armed Conflicts
  • Risk, Crisis and Resilience
  • Regional Security
  • Future Military Conflicts and Support to Disasters
  • International Interventions for Peace and Statebuilding

Entry requirements

A first or second class Honours degree or relevant professional equivalent. Alternatively, a lesser qualification together with appropriate work experience may be acceptable.

English Language

If you are an international student you will need to provide evidence that you have achieved a satisfactory test result in an English qualification. The minimum standard expected from a number of accepted courses are as follows:

  • IELTS - 6.5
  • TOEFL - 100
  • Pearson PTE Academic - 68
  • Cambridge English Scale - 190
  • Cambridge English: Advanced - with a minimum of Grade A
  • Cambridge English: Proficiency - with a minimum of Grade B
  • Trinity College London Integrated Skills in English III - minimum overall score of pass

In addition to these minimum scores you are also expected to achieve a balanced score across all elements of the test. We reserve the right to reject any test score if any one element of the test score is too low.

We can only accept tests taken within two years of your registration date (with the exception of Cambridge English tests which have no expiry date).

Students requiring a Tier 4 (General) visa must ensure they can meet the English language requirements set out by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) and we recommend booking a IELTS for UKVI test.

Security clearance for Shrivenham

Some Cranfield University courses are delivered at the Defence Academy of the United Kingdom, Shrivenham which is a Ministry of Defence (MOD) site. All applicants to courses that are wholly or partially delivered at Shrivenham must complete the BPSS (HMG Baseline Personnel Security Standard V4 April 2014) prior to registration on the course or must already hold a security clearance to this level or higher.

Please visit our security clearance page for further information.

Your career

Students may also wish to pursue careers with private security companies, think tanks, within academia or for foreign governments.

Applicants to this degree come from a range of backgrounds. While we have a number of candidates who have recently completed their undergraduate degrees, we also have a significant number who are civil servants working within defence, serving and retired military personnel and those who working within the financial services. The aim of this course is therefore to provide all students with a high quality, and transferable, postgraduate qualification.

The course therefore assists in taking you on to senior positions in the armed forces, government, international organisations, media and academia.