Geopolitics, Territory & Security




Part Time, Full Time

| Admissions status: Open
Geopolitics, Territory and Security is a unique, multidisciplinary programme taught by renowned academic authorities. Rooted in geopolitical analysis but includes aspects of international law and international relations theory. Makes extensive use of Londonís resources for researching historic and contemporary aspects of international boundary questions and territorial disputes.

  • Makes extensive use of London's vast collection of resources for researching historic and contemporary aspects of international boundary questions and territorial disputes eg the National Archives, Royal Geographical Society and British Library.
  • In addition to established academic authorities, lecturers include leading legal practitioners and technicians in international boundary dispute resolution from London and Paris such as Rodman Bundy (Eversheds, Paris), Stephen Fietta and Robert Volterra (Latham and Watkins, London).
  • Flexibility for researching a wide range of thematic and regional issues since candidates are encouraged to choose the subjects of their written coursework.

Student destinations
Students on this programme have gone on to occupy senior management positions in government agencies and international consultancies; work with NGOs involved in dispute resolution; international law firms; government ministries; oil companies, departments of the United Nations and the European Union.
Programme leader/s
Richard Schofield (
Awarding Institution
King's College London
Credit value (UK/ECTS equivalent)
UK 180/ECTS 90
One year FT, two years PT, September to September.
Strand Campus.
Year of entry 2015
Offered by
Faculty of Social Science & Public Policy
Department of Geography
Closing date
The deadline for applications is 11 September 2015 for 2015 entry. Note that funding deadlines may be earlier. Applications will be considered subject to availability of places, so we encourage you to submit your application as soon as possible. International applications are now closed to allow sufficient time for visa processing.
Approximately 20 FT/PT.
PT Home: £4,260 (2015) Please note that this fee is for year 1 only of this two-year part-time degree.
PT Overseas: £8,520 (2015) Please note that this fee is for year 1 only of this two-year part-time degree.
FT Home: £8,520 (2015)
FT Overseas: £17,040 (2015)
Contact information
Postgraduate Officer, Centre for Arts & Sciences Admissions (CASA)
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7848 7429
Fax: +44 (0) 20 7848 7200

Email Website

For those seeking: an advanced appreciation of territorial geopolitics (from classical to critical); a theoretical and historical grounding in the principal concepts involved in territorial and international boundary studies; a practical application of these views and approaches to developing real-world situations. The programme is particularly suitable for social science students with an international interest, government and foreign service personnel, lawyers, military and strategic researchers.

The MA in Geopolitics, Territory & Security is a unique, multidisciplinary programme that originated from the MA in International Boundary Studies, inaugurated at the School of Oriental and African Studies in 1997. It is taught by renowned academic authorities in the field based here at King's and elsewhere (Richard Schofield [Founding Editor of the journal, Geopolitics], George Joffe and Julian Minghi) as well as leading specialists and practitioners in the field of boundary and territorial dispute resolution (see above) and staff from the Law of the Sea Division at the UK Hydrographic Office, Taunton (John Brown).

This programme is rooted in geopolitical analysis but necessarily includes aspects of international law and international relations theory. Students are introduced to the creation and maintenance of international boundaries on land and sea alongside processes involved in boundary and territorial dispute resolution. Special attention is given to the changing role of international boundaries in the early 21st century, particularly contemporary securitisation questions following 9/11 and its aftermath. Contemporary boundary fortification in the Middle East and elsewhere suggests that, in what was only recently described as a borderless world, boundaries are back as barriers.

We anticipate a growing link between this programme and the newly launched MA in Terrorism, Society and Security and the interchangability of module options.

Students on this programme will be granted access to a wide range of options on War Studies programmes subject to availability.

Core programme content
Core module (60 credits):
  • 7SSG5007 Dissertation in Geopolitics, Territory and Security (60 credits) (must Take and Pass)

Compulsory modules (60 credits):

  • 7SSG5002 Practising Social Research (20 credits)
  • 7SSG5090 Boundaries, Sovereignty and the Territorial State (40 credits)

Indicative non-core content
Optional modules (60–70 credits):
Students must take 60–70 credits optional modules, with at least 20 credits from the “list of prescribed optional modules” given below, and the other credits may come from the “other optional modules” list.

List of Prescribed Optional Modules Specific to this Programme:

  • 7SSG5091 Territorial and Boundary Dispute Resolution (20 credits)
  • 7SSG5092 Geopolitics of Natural Resource Disputes (20 credits)
  • 7SSG5153 Critical Geographies of Terrorism (20 credits)
  • 7SSG5206 International Rivers (20 credits)

Other Optional Modules Available to Students on this Programme:

  • Any Level 7 (Masters) modules offered in the Geography Department, including from the list of prescribed optional modules given above.
  • Any Level 7 (Masters) modules offered in the War Studies Department, subject to availability in the War Studies Department and permission of the module leader.
  • Up to 20 credits of Level 7 modules from any KCL Departments or Institutes outside of Geography.

Please note that the above programme structure is subject to formal approval.

Specialist taught modules assessed by written exam, essay and, occasionally, presentation and practical work. The three-month dissertation is core and can be taken overseas or in the UK.

More information on typical programme modules.
NB it cannot be guaranteed that all modules are offered in any particular academic year.

Module code: 7SSG5090
Credit level: 7
Credit value: 40
Semester:  Full-year 

  • To introduce students to the history of politically organised space and the territorial origins and characteristics of the Westphalian state system.
  • Review the changing manner in which political geography and geopolitics have covered the questions of international boundaries and state territory over time – from traditional deterministic concerns, through the humanisation of borderland studies to deterritorialisation, reterritorialisation and postmodernity.
  • Develop a familiarisation with the methods by which territory may be acquired in international law.
  • Gain a working knowledge of the principles, problems and practicalities involved in ocean boundary-making.
  • Appraise students of the various debates existing in political and international studies over the importance of international boundaries and state territory.

Learning outcomes

  • Appreciate the potential contradictions existing between the European-derived system of delimiting state territory by linear boundaries and non-European concepts of sovereignty/non-Western notions of social and spatial organization.
  • Apply a range of classifications, typologies and interaction models from political geography that will aid understanding of individual international boundaries and borderlands and allow for comparative analysis.
  • Understand the interrelationship between the concepts of territory, sovereignty and jurisdiction in international law and its implications for the conduct of international boundary disputes.
  • Evaluate the potential maritime zone generating capacity of various coastal and insular features.
  • Gauge the extent to which boundary and territorial disputes are used to symbolise wider differences between states.

Note that the list of Geography modules offered, as well as the term(s) in which they are offered, may still change from the above.

Module code: 7SSG5153
Credit level: 7
Credit value: 20
Semester:  Semester 2 (spring) 

The aim of this module is to provide students with an appreciation of the theoretical and empirical links between geographical theories and insights and the phenomena of terrorism; facilitiate understanding by students of the spatiality of the phenomena of terrorism and geographical perspectives on understanding the root causes of terrorism; enable students to develop a critical awareness of the role of spatial organisation, spatial strategies of power and spatial discourses in influencing the pattern of terrorism by state and non-state actors and encourage critical reflection on counter terrorism approaches and how might strategic interventions at the discursive and policy level, help reduce vulnerability to terrorist acts in addition to confronting the root cause of terrorism.

Note that the list of Geography modules offered, as well as the term(s) in which they are offered, may still change from the above.
Module code: 7SSG5092
Credit level: 7
Credit value: 20
Semester:  Semester 2 (spring) 

This module enables students develop a critical awareness of how the presence (real or rumoured) of natural resources may affect the alignment and alter the status of international boundaries on land and sea. Develop an appreciation of the issues involved in the conduct and management of international river disputes (both successive and divided international rivers). Review the manner in which the presence and location of hydrocarbons have affected the drawing of land and maritime boundaries and promoted the outbreak and resolution of associated disputes. Unravel the complexities of current resource and territorial disputes in the Caspian Sea, Gulf of Guinea, Persian Gulf and South China Sea. Promote an awareness of the range of international disputes in existence over the resources of the sea (primarily fishing and other environmental issues).

Note that the list of Geography modules offered, as well as the term(s) in which they are offered, may still change from the above.
Module code: 7SSWM023
Credit level: 7

The module aims to provide students with an appreciation of the theoretical and empirical links between organisational and community responses to the phenomena of terrorism; facilitate an understanding of the impact of responses to terrorism on both health and government systems; facilitate an understanding of the impact of terrorism on both an individual (mental/physical health/behaviour) and community level; enable students to develop a critical awareness of the role of organisations in countering terror and increasing resilience in society, as well as the problems encountered by organisations responsible for responding to terrorism; enable students to understand the different information needs and concerns of emergency responders, healthcare providers, and members of the public for a variety of terrorist attacks, including chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear incidents; encourage critical reflection on counter terrorism approaches, the public acceptability of counter terror technologies, and the way in which strategic interventions that incorporate public perceptions of risk and effective risk communication help reduce vulnerability to terrorist acts, and facilitate greater governmental, organisational and community engagement in responding to the threat of terrorism.
Module code: 7SSG5091
Credit level: 7
Credit value: 20
Semester:  Semester 1 (autumn) 

This module introduces students to contemporary and historical mechanisms for boundary territorial dispute resolution. Provide a practical understanding of the manner in which the World Courts gain jurisdiction to try territorial/boundary disputes and of the manner by which they have resolved them to date. Facilitate an appreciation of the range of underlying issues that characterise contemporary individual territorial disputes, from complex issues of decolonisation, through partition and secession to attempted annexation. Review in detail recent cases of international boundary settlement on land and sea, reached through remodule to bilateral negotiations, arbitration or judicial settlement and appreciate the arguments, principles and evidentiary issues that prevailed. Provide a basic familiarity with the types of primary evidence used in boundary territorial settlement before the international courts, typically documentary and cartographic materials held in the major London repositories.

Note that the list of Geography modules offered, as well as the term(s) in which they are offered, may still change from the above.

General entry advice

2:1 undergraduate degree (or international equivalent, e.g. GPA of 3.3 from a US University).

Candidates who do not achieve a 2:1 but have professional or voluntary experience will also be considered. Mature candidates will be considered favourably.

Enhanced criminal conviction check
Occupational Health clearance required?

To apply for graduate study at King's you will need to complete our graduate online application form. Applying online makes applying easier and quicker for you, and means we can receive your application faster and more securely.
King's does not normally accept paper copies of the graduate application form as applications must be made online. However, if you are unable to access the online graduate application form, please contact the relevant admissions/School Office at King's for advice.

We run a rolling admissions system. We aim to process all complete applications within four weeks; during February and March and over holiday periods, applications may take longer to process. There is no set deadline.

Please provide a personal statement that shows how our own interests are linked to the programme. In this statement please describe your academic background, your reasons for applying for this programme and what you hope to gain from it, including any relevant experience, strengths, ambitions or research interests.

Varied including Research Councils, University of London Scholarships, departmental bursaries and career development loans. For overseas students Chevening Scholarships are available from the British Council. For further information on funding, including conditions of eligibility, please consult the Postgraduate Funding Page on the master's section of the Geography Department's website -

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