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Arms Control & International Security MA, PG Dip, PG Cert

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Students will learn about historical arms control challenges, such as negotiation of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, along with contemporary arms control issues as they relate to international security, to include the Iran Nuclear Deal, U.S.-Russia arms control, and disarmament verification. Along with subject matter expertise, students will develop transferable analytic and research skills in a dynamic and rigorous intellectual environment.

Students will have the opportunity to meet arms control practitioners, negotiators, and inspectors. The course is particularly unique in combining history and theory with practical issues, skills development, and contemporary weapon of mass destruction policy.

The course information sheet is a printable version of the information on this web page, which you can download here.

Key Benefits:

  • Enhance your knowledge of arms control and its role in international security.
  • Develop transferable analytic and research skills.
  • Merge theoretical concepts with practical application, including guest lectures and teaching from arms control practitioners.

Key information

Application status Open

Duration 1 year Full time, September to September; 2 year Part Time

Study mode Full-time, Part-time

Credit value UK 180

Course leaders Professor Wyn Bowen and Dr Heather Williams

Further details

Course contact for further information

Course contact for further information
Postgraduate Admissions Team, Admissions Office tel: +44 (0) 20 7848 7000 fax: +44 (0) 20 7848 7200

Course contact form Postgraduate admissions

Awarding institution King's College London

Department Defence Studies Department Department of War Studies



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Course detail


The MA in Arms Control & International Security is a joint course with the Departments of War Studies and Defence Studies at King’s College London. The goal of the course is to enhance knowledge of a broad range of subjects relevant to arms control and international security. The course is available to both full and part-time students, and is available as an MA, Diploma, or Certificate. Required modules include: (1) History and Politics of Arms Control, (2) Verification Concepts and Technologies, and (3) Arms Control Case Studies. Modules will be conducted in intensive week-long sessions so as to accommodate professional students. Each module will be highly interactive with a combination of lectures, seminars, and group discussion, and include formative assessment. Student performance will be assessed in an essay for each module and MA students will be required to write an individual research dissertation.

Course purpose

Ideally, this course will train the next generation of arms control practitioners and experts by building their expertise in the fundamentals and history of arms control, while also exposing them to practical issues and challenges, such as verification.

Course format and assessment


Per 20-credit required module:

For your lectures, seminars and feedback, you will have week-long intensive session consisting of 10 hours of lectures and 10 hours of seminars. In addition you will have 180 hours of self-study. Typically, one credit equates to 10 hours of work.

Per 20-credit and some required optional modules:

For your lectures, seminars and feedback, you will typically have two hours per week over two 10-week terms. This can be split into one lecture + one seminar or combinations thereof. You will also have  180 hours of self-study.

Per 40-credit optional module:

For your lectures, seminars and feedback, you will typically have two hours per week over two 10-week terms per 40-credit optional module. This can be split into one lecture + one seminar or combinations thereof, as well as 360 hours of self-study.

Dissertation module:

You will have 12 hours of training workshops/supervision to complement the 588 hours of self-study.


Assessment methods will depend on the modules selected. The primary method of assessment for this course is:

  • The 20 to 40-credit modules are assessed through a combination of essays, presentation, oral vivas and/or exams.
  • The dissertation module assessment will be 100% dissertation (up to 15,000 words).




Year 1

Courses are divided into modules. You will normally take:
  • MA – modules totalling 180 credits
  • PG Diploma – modules totalling 120 credits
  • PG Cert – modules totalling 60 credits

King’s College London reviews the modules offered on a regular basis to provide up-to-date, innovative and relevant programmes of study. Therefore, modules offered may change. We suggest you keep an eye on the course finder on
our website for updates.

Required Modules

If you are studying the MA you are required to take all of the following modules. If you are taking the PG Dip you are required to take the following taught modules (but not the dissertation) plus 60 credits of optional modules. If you are taking the PG Cert you are required to take the 60 credits of taught modules as listed below only (but not the dissertation):

  • The History & Politics of Arms Control (20 credits)
  • Verification Concepts & Technologies (20 credits)
  • Arms Control Case Studies (20 credits)
  • Dissertation (60 credits)


Optional Modules
In addition, if you are taking the MA you are required to take 60 credits from a range of optional modules which may typically include:
  • Afghan & South Asian Security Issues (40 credits)
  • Contemporary British Defence Policy (40 credits)
  • East Asian Security (40 credits)
  • Ethics in International Relations (20 credits)
  • European Security (40 credits)
  • Interdisciplinary Approaches to (In)Security (40 credits)
  • Missile Proliferation (40 credits)
  • Proliferation & International Security (40 credits)
  • Security Issues in the Soviet Successor States (40 credits)
  • Or another of over 50 modules available within the Department of War Studies

If you are taking the part time course you will typically take the required 40-credit taught module and 40 credits of optional module in Year 1. You will then take a 60 credit dissertation module and 40 credit optional modules in Year 2.

Entry requirements & how to apply

Arms Control MA Entry Requirements
Minimum UK requirements High 2:1 (65%)  Undergraduate degree with 1st Class or high 2:1 honours (i.e. overall average of at least 65% across all years of study) in a social science or other related subject.
International requirements   Visit our admissions webpages to view our International entry requirements.
English Language requirements  Band B Visit our admissions webpages to view our English language entry requirements.


Application procedure

Applications must be made online using King’s online application portal apply.kcl.ac.uk and a non-refundable application fee of £55 applies.

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

We recommend that you submit your application as soon as possible.  Our first application deadline is the 30th March 2018.  Applications will remain open if places are available and programmes will be closed as soon as they are full.  For programmes with spaces remaining, no further applications will be accepted from non-EU (Overseas) nationals after 27th July 2018 or from UK/ EU nationals after 31st August 2018.

Help and support

If you don't have a suitable qualification for direct entry to a UK university, or if English isn't your first language, our academic preparation courses can help you get ready for study in the UK.

Preparation courses

Fees and funding

  • Full time UK fees: £3,850 (PG Cert 2018/19), £7,700 (PG Dip 2018/19), £11,550 (MA 2018/19) per year
  • Full time overseas fees: £6,850 (PG cert 2018/19), £13,700 (PG Dip 2018/19), £23,940 (MA 2018/19) per year
  • Part time UK fees: £5,775 per year (MA 2018/19)
  • Part time overseas fees: £11,970 per year (MA 2018/19)


Please note: Current regulations allow some students to pay UK tuition fees on the basis of their EU citizenship or residency. Until these eligibility criteria are changed, the EU tuition fee will remain the same as the UK tuition fee. 

These tuition fees may be subject to additional increases in subsequent years of study, in line with King’s terms and conditions.


When you receive an offer for this course you will be required to pay a non-refundable deposit to secure your place. The deposit will be credited towards your total fee payment.

The UK/EU deposit is £500.

The INTERNATIONAL deposit is £2,000. 

  • If you receive an offer on or before 31st March 2018, payment is due by 27th April 2018.
  • If you receive an offer between 1st April 2018 and 30th June 2018, payment is due within one month of receiving the offer.
  • If you receive an offer between 1st July 2018 and 31st July 2018, payment is due within two weeks of receiving the offer.
  • If you receive an offer on or after 1st August 2018, payment is due within one week of receiving the offer.

If you are a current King’s student in receipt of the King's Living Bursary you are not required to pay a deposit to secure your place on the programme. Please note, this will not change the total fees payable for your chosen programme.

Additional costs/expenses

In addition to the costs above, you can also expect to pay for: 

  • Books if you choose to buy your own copies 
  • Clothing for optional course related events and competitions 
  • Library fees and fines 
  • Personal photocopies 
  • Printing course handouts 
  • Society membership fees 
  • Stationery 
  • Graduation costs
  • Travel costs for travel around London and between campuses 

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

Financial help and support

Visit the fees and funding webpages to find out more about bursaries, scholarships, grants, tuition fees, living expenses, student loans and other financial help available at King's.

Career prospects

Although this is a new course, other King’s MA students in similar fields have gone on to work at top global think tanks, in government, or to pursue PhDs in a relevant field.


Next steps

View our postgraduate guide

Learn more about postgraduate degree programmes at King's. Download or view our guide in PDF format.

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