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International Affairs MA/PG Dip/PG Cert

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The international political system is now experiencing its most momentous period of upheaval since the end of the Cold War. Our International Affairs MA/PG Dip/PG Cert, with specialisms in Cyber Security, Espionage & Surveillance Studies, and now Strategic Studies engages with the world’s international security issues with the goal of educating the next generation of leaders in the industry. If security is of concern to you, this course will equip you with the knowledge and skills you need to succeed.

Our International Affairs MA will provide you with an advanced and comprehensive understanding of the complex world of contemporary international relations and politics. With a ground-breaking, flexible curriculum, King’s equips you with the knowledge and skills you need to tackle the world’s most pressing challenges, and the threats they pose both to individual states and to the international community.

Delivered by the Defence Studies Department and drawing its content from our School of Security Studies, the largest academic community of its kind in the world, the course makes use of our teaching team’s deep connections to security organisations worldwide to provide the highest tier of research and experience-led learning outcomes. This complete master’s course is taught 100% online, meaning you can progress your education alongside your career from anywhere in the world, without needing a career break. The flexible two-to-six year curriculum fits around your existing work and life commitments.

Key benefits
  • Join a world-renowned top 10 UK university and become part of a distinguished network of alumni.

  • Learn from high-profile, world-leading, academics in the field of security and defence.

  • Learn the history, international relations, strategic and political theory that surrounds the world’s most intricate security challenges.

  • Draw upon knowledge and research from the Defence Studies Department, the School of Security Studies and the Faculty of Social Science & Public Policy.

  • Achieve a PG Cert in less than a year, Postgraduate Diploma in 16 months and an MA in two years.

The advantages of studying online

  • Taught 100% online, courses are designed to be flexible and fit around your work and life commitments.
  • Our unique carousel learning system allows you to study at your own pace.
  • A dedicated Student Success Advisor will offer support throughout the duration of your course and will be your first point of contact, answering all enquiries within 24 hours, 7 days a week.
  • Our bespoke Virtual Learning Environment (KEATS) is personalised and easy to use.
  • With small class sizes, you benefit from close instructor interaction and collaboration with a global network of like-minded students and professionals.
  • Make use of all the King’s services without having to visit campus, including careers, wellness and disability services.

Key information


MA: minimum 2 years, maximum 6 years

PG Dip: minimum 16 months, maximum 4 years

PG Cert: minimum 8 months, maximum 3 years

Study mode Online/Distance learning

Key dates

Intake dates: November, January, March, May, July


Programme Director: Dr Huw Davies

For further information please contact an Enrolment Advisors at onlineenrolmentservice@kcl.ac.uk

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Course detail


International Affairs is a ground-breaking course that combines international relations, military history, strategic studies and regional security studies to educate students in the fundamental issues surrounding international security and conflict politics. With modules covering international relations, strategy and conflict history, modern implementation of deterrence strategy, cyber security, intelligence and future conflict, the course’s multidisciplinary approach enables you to gain a holistic understanding of the global security industry and the challenges it faces.

As well as its core subject areas, the course seeks to transform your research capabilities, with skills modules focussed on critical thinking and evidence evaluation. You will need to complete a self-directed research dissertation that will inaugurate you into the academic conversation surrounding international affairs. 

Specialist Pathways

King’s Defence Studies Department is dedicated to nurturing the security and defence leaders of the future and our curriculum content is structured with this goal in mind. Our course modules have been described as “transformative” and “sector-leading”; fundamentally changing the way that you will understand the global security and defence landscape. Armed with these top-tier study and research outcomes we anticipate that our graduates will undertake critical leadership positions in security-related fields.

The MA in International Affairs provides a comprehensive study pathway with options to explore your own subjects of interest. However, students with specific career goals in mind may wish to specialise within a subset of the field.

Cyber Security is a complex and increasingly pressing issue in today’s digitised world. The definition of the term itself is broad, covering both an understanding of what constitutes a cyber ‘attack’ as well as defence apparatus, surveillance architectures, data management and information campaigns. The advent of artificial intelligence adds even greater levels of risk to an already intricate digital landscape. The Cyber Security specialism helps students to grasp the theory behind this complex world, investigating different aspects of the industry with the goal of offering a practical understanding of security strategies and approaches.

The Espionage & Surveillance pathway explores the history of intelligence organisation over the past 60 years as a foundation for understanding the theory and strategies involved in intelligence gathering and analysis. This fascinating field takes on a new aspect in the 21st century when digital technologies and artificial intelligence are redefining our understanding of the nature of information. ES is at once practical, historical and theoretical, laying the groundwork for flourishing intelligence-related careers.

The Strategic Studies pathway builds on the Introduction to Strategy core module of the course. This pathway encourages students to look at the modern-day implementation of deterrence before studying in-depth the topics of sanctions, strategy and statecraft. Students get to grips with the complexity of strategy in the modern world, which has implications not only for international affairs but also for business and organisational development.

Course format and assessment


This programme has been designed specifically for an online audience. It uses a range of interactive activities to support learning including discussion forums, online readings, interactive lectures, videos and online tutorials. Students are expected to undertake approximately 22 hours of study per week. In addition to the online learning resources designed specifically for this programme, students will have access to King’s College Library’s electronic resources and supportive online tutors.


Students on this programme are assessed through a combination of written coursework and online presentations. The assessment methods may vary between modules, but each module will include one or more of these methods. The study time and assessment methods detailed above are typical and give you a good indication of what to expect. However, they may change if the programme modules change.

King’s College London is regulated by the Office for Students.



Carousel One (PG Cert) 

  • International Security Studies: The Development of the Discipline
  • Introduction to Strategy
  • Conflict in International History
  • Global & Regional Security

Carousel Two (PG Dip)

  • Introduction to Critical Research Methodologies
  • International Relations
  • Seapower & National Strategy
  • Deterrence
  • Proxy Wars & Hybrid Wars
  • Cyber Security in the Information Age
  • Intelligence, Espionage & Surveillance

Carousel Three (MA):

  • Critical Engagement with Literature
  • Women, Peace & Security
  • International Political Economy
  • Sanctions, Strategy & Statecraft
  • Strategy in the Age of Artificial Intelligence
  • Intelligence in Conflict
  • Dissertation

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.

Credit Value

You will normally take:

MA – modules totalling 180 credits.
PG Dip – modules totalling 120 credits.
PG Cert – modules totalling 60 credits.

Entry requirements

Minimum requirements  2:1

2:1 honours undergraduate degree in any subject.

Candidates who achieve 2:2 honours but have relevant professional or voluntary experience may be considered. A CV and reference will be required at the point of application.

Candidates without a degree but presenting with demonstrable significant work experience in a related area may also be considered. A CV, reference and 500 word written statement addressing the question “What are the key global security issues facing the world today? How might they be studied in a rigorous fashion?” will be required at the point of application.

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

For King's Online Programme, here are the steps of the application procedure:

    1. Your consultation call
      The first step is to find out which of our online courses is most suitable for you. Our Enrolment Advisors will schedule an in-depth chat to learn all about you, what your goals are and whether or not a particular course will be of benefit to you at this stage in your education or career.
    2. Your King’s Apply application
      Upon passing your initial consultation call, your Enrolment Advisor will invite you to apply to one of our courses through King’s Apply - our official enrolment platform. Here, you’ll need to enter your personal details, your education to date and upload the required documentation, including degree certificates and language awards.

Pay your application fee


    Every application made through King’s Apply requires a non-refundable processing fee of £60 for 19/20 academic year and £70 for the 20/21 academic year.  Once you’ve paid your application fee, you are able to submit your application to us.
  1. Accept your offer
    If everything goes well with your application, King’s College London will submit an official enrolment offer through the King’s Apply platform. You will be notified of any offers by email and your enrolment advisor will likely give you a call to confirm that you’ve received it. Once you have accepted your offer you will be invited to enrol on to the next intake of your chosen course.
  2. Pay your deposit
    Paying your deposit is your first official commitment to your course. Once it has been paid, we’ll send you all the details you need to access the course learning environment and get ready for your first day of study. We’ll introduce you to your Student Success Advisor and send you your Welcome Pack. Please note that your course deposit also serves as payment for your first module.

On-Campus Programmes

The School of Security Studies also offers a number of quality on-campus programmes. If you're interested in studying with us here in London on courses like our International Peace & Security MA, please click here.

Fees and funding

Your fees will be charged per module as you progress through the course.  From now until September 2021, you will be charged £1,400 per module.  

The number of modules you take will be determined by your chosen award as outlined below:   

PG Cert: 4 modules (£5,600)

PG Dip: 8 modules (£11,200)

MA: 12 modules (£16,800)

Tuition fees may be subject to an annual increase (capped at 5%) each academic year in line with King's College London's terms and conditions. Each increase comes into effect in September of each year. From September 2021 onwards, modules will be charged at £1,435 per module. 

Additional Fees Information 

When you receive an offer for this course, you will be required to pay for your first module upfront, as a non-refundable deposit, to secure your place.  This payment will be credited towards your total fee payment. Please note that a standard 14 day cooling off period will apply from the point of initial payment for your first module.  Any subsequent payments are not subject to additional cooling off periods. 

The deposit cost for this course is the cost of one module (£1,400) plus a non-refundable application fee of £70. From September 2021, the deposit cost will be £1,435 plus a non-refundable application fee of £70. 

Student fees for the programme will be billed on a modular basis. Students are billed three weeks prior to the first day of teaching, with the due date being two weeks later (one week before teaching). If you no longer wish to study a module, you can take a break from your studies up until one week prior to the module starting. If payment has been made, the money will remain on your account as credit until you return.  

If you have registered for a PG Dip or PG Cert qualification but decide you wish to upgrade to a higher award, you will need to speak to your enrolment advisor. If you choose to upgrade your programme, you will enter a new cooling off period from the date of payment for your next module on the upgraded award.  Any subsequent payments following this next module payment are not subject to additional cooling off periods.   

Additional Requirements & Costs 

Students will need access to a computer or tablet in order to complete the programme. Although KEATS is optimised for mobile, a desktop computer may be necessary for some parts of the course. 

We recommend using the latest version of Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari or Microsoft Edge; full functionality cannot be guaranteed in older or less commonly used browsers. 

Students will require access to a high-speed internet connection (4Mbps minimum). 

We will endeavour to make as much study material as possible available online, but you may also need to purchase some books during your studies. 

This is an online course and you are not expected to go to campus, should you wish to do so, there are some additional fees to pay for: 

  • Books, ebooks or articles (if you choose to buy your own copies)  

  • King’s campus Library fees and fines  

  • Travel costs for travel around London and between campuses 

  • Graduation costs 

Career prospects

The course is ideal for anyone seeking to pursue a career in any industries addressing concerns over international affairs. This may include roles in Civil Service, NGOs, local or national government, armed forces, the Home Office, policy think tanks, or private intelligence and security companies. It may also be suitable for journalists or parliamentary advisers reporting on international issues.

The course presents students with advanced knowledge in international diplomatic and security strategies with the goal of advancing them to leadership-level positions in these fields. This makes it ideal for professionals hoping to advance their existing careers or change careers into a profession within international or conflict politics.


Blue box with King's College London rankings. Starting with, 7th in the UK for research quality. Followed by, 6th in the UK for research power. Concluding with, 4th among multi-faculty universities for research Impact. The source is research excellence framework 2014

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