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Science & Security MA



The MA in Science and Security is designed to provide an integrated understanding of science and international politics. Developments in technology are central to all aspects of international conflict, and a multidisciplinary understanding of these developments is necessary to fully comprehend their policy implications. Topics include nuclear weapons, arms control verification, cyber security, and terrorism.

Key benefits

  • A unique programme designed to develop students' abilities to understand and analyse the security implications of scientific and technological developments, utilising knowledge and tools of analysis from the hard sciences, political science, history, philosophy and the sociology.

  • The Centre for Science and Security Studies, based in the Department of War Studies, provides a vibrant home for the MA. The Centre has a growing cadre of PhD students and researchers, and sponsors its own speaker series. Students on the MA are encouraged to apply for internships (on Centre research projects and/or with other relevant institutions in London, such as the Verification Research, Training and Information Centre (VERTIC) and IISS).

  • With a typical 50-50 mix of students with a hard science versus social science/humanities background, the programme provides an excellent opportunity for students to learn from each other as well as from staff and visiting lecturers; in recent years students have institutionalised this by forming their own reading group.

  • Students have access to visiting academics, serving officers, government ministers and other experts who give regular public lectures and seminars.

  • The Department of War Studies is unique in the UK and one of very few university departments in the world devoted exclusively to the study of war as a human phenomenon.

  • The Department has an excellent reputation as a graduate training institution and is recognised by the British Academy, the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the Economic and Social Research council as a training institution for War Studies.

  • The Department places great emphasis on recruiting leading experts who bring with them not only a wealth of knowledge and ideas but an extensive and continually growing network of links with other departments, think-tanks, organisations, policy-making bodies and institutions.

  • The unrivalled location in the heart of London beside the River Thames brings outstanding advantages. Students enjoy excellent academic, social and cultural opportunities.

  • The department is close to the seat of Government, the City, the Imperial War Museum, the National Maritime Museum, the Royal Courts of Justice and the Inns of Court.

Read what Jessica, a War Studies Graduate says about this programme here

Key information

Application status Open

Duration One year FT, two years PT, September to September.

Study mode Full-time, Part-time

Credit value UK 180/ECTS 90

Course intake 6-10 FT and PT.

Course leaders Dr Susan Martin

Course contact for further information

Postgraduate Admissions Team, Admissions Office
tel: +44 (0)20 7848 7429
fax: +44 (0)20 7848 7200

Course contact email

Awarding institution King's College London

Faculty Faculty of Social Science & Public Policy

Department Department of War Studies


Entry requirements & how to apply

Visit our admissions webpages to view our English language entry requirements.

Bachelors degree with 2:1 honours (or overseas equivalent) in history, international relations, political science, economics or other appropriate subject.

Successful applicants will generally be achieving grades at mid 2:1 level (or equivalent overseas level) or higher.

Application procedure

An application fee of £40 applies (non-refundable). All applications are assessed by a committee of academic tutors. This process takes on average eight weeks.

Personal statement and supporting information

Please provide a personal statement explaining why you are interested in this particular programme, and outlining any relevant experience you have. If there are any anomalies in your academic record, please use the personal statement to explain related extenuating circumstances.

Application closing date

The deadline for applications is 01 April 2016 for 2016 entry. Prior to this date all applications will be given equal consideration and considered on their individual merits. After this date applications will be considered subject to the availability of places, thus we encourage you to submit your application as soon as possible. Please note that funding deadlines may be earlier.


Course detail


There is an increased need in today's world to understand the security implications of scientific and technological developments. While science and technology have always affected national and international security, current developments in the fields of space, nuclear and biological weapons, and long-range missiles as well as work in emerging fields such as biotechnology and information technology suggest that the impact of science on security is becoming more diverse as well as more central to policy planners. At the same time, individuals and sub-national groups have more access to new technologies than ever before.


The programme is designed to provide students with an integrated understanding of science and politics. This involves developing an understanding of the science underlying key weapons systems and technologies, the main concepts and tools of international politics and security studies, and the process by which scientists and policymakers can interact productively in the policy process. The goal is to equip students to analyse the impact of current and future scientific developments on security.

Students will have the opportunity to build on the compulsory modules in Science and Security to focus on aspects of the historical and contemporary international security environment through optional modules and a dissertation on an approved topic.

The programme is designed for those who wish to work at the interface of science and security policy. It will be of specific interest to: students with a 'hard science' background who also have an interest in security issues; students of politics, history, international relations and strategic studies; those with practical experience in the scientific field who may wish to reflect on the wider issues and implications of their experience or who may wish to make a career change from research to a policy-oriented field; and professionals in areas such as defence, diplomacy and foreign affairs who work on issues where science and technology set limits and offer opportunities to the policy maker.

Course purpose

The programme is designed to provide students with an integrated understanding of science and international politics to cope with the demands of the emerging security agenda.

Course format and assessment

Continuous assessment by essay; examinations and a dissertation.



Career prospects

Whilst this is not a vocational programme, students on MA programmes in the department have gone on to build careers in: further academic research, NGOs, Civil Service, NATO, UN, media and publishing, finance and investment, teaching, and the armed forces.



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Fees and funding

Full time tuition fees - Home/EU

£10,500 p.a. (2016/17)*

Full time tuition fees - Overseas

£18,750 p.a. (2016/17)*

Part time tuition fees - Home/EU

£5,250 p.a. (2016/17)*

Part time tuition Fees - Overseas

£9,375 p.a. (2016/17)*

*This tuition fee is subject to annual increases.

Please visit our web pages on fees and funding for more information.


Next steps

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