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Masters in Terrorism and Political Violence

The Handa Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence (CSTPV) at the University of St Andrews is pleased to offer an MLitt in Terrorism and Political Violence. Our ground-breaking programme seeks to develop in its students an understanding on the latest thinking on terrorism. The MLitt offers students the opportunity to take research-led taught Modules and also to develop a piece of systematic research in a Dissertation focusing on a selected area of Terrorism and Political Violence.



The MLitt in Terrorism and Political Violence offers students the opportunity to learn from acknowledged experts in the field. This postgraduate programme is available for both full and part-time study. Online learning technologies mean that students can take the online programme on a distance-learning basis in 2 – 5 years. 



Applications for online study starting September 2024 will open soon. 

Full time students must complete four taught modules of the programme in 9 months with the MLitt dissertation taking a further 3 months.  The programme starts in September and is delivered via mixed mode teaching. This innovative method of teaching allows flexibility for students and access to a wider range of teaching facilities.

Distance-Learning students will complete the programme between two and five years of study. Students must complete four modules and an MLitt dissertation to receive the MLitt in Terrorism and Political Violence. Modules are delivered via Online Learning, allowing students to balance their studies with other aspects of their lives. The MLitt in Terrorism and Political Violence is delivered through the Moodle eLearning platform, where materials for study are made available, along with pre-recorded lectures. A key part of your studies are regular online tutorials provided through the Teams video-conferencing system, with a module tutor and other distance learning students, where you will discuss the material, debate important topics and have a chance to ask questions. 

Additional support includes regular web conferencing, direct email contact with tutors, podcasts of interviews with area experts and access to most course materials, including electronic journals, through the University’s e-learning platform. Most online tutorials for part-timers are conducted out of office hours. CSTPV uses the Teams conferencing system for conducting tutorials. This allows the tutorial to be conducted with audio and/or video communication.

The course content of modules for distance-learning students will be available in PDF & electronic form. This will be provided as an alternative to the material found on the Moodle platform.

You can now apply for the CSSS for our MLitt in Terrorism and Political Violence.

The Commonwealth Shared Scholarships are a joint initiative between the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission (with funding from FCDO) and UK universities, to support scholarships for students from least developed and lower middle income Commonwealth countries who would not otherwise be able to study in the UK. The Commonwealth Shared Scholarships are offered on an annual basis for postgraduate Masters study only. 

The scheme includes tuition fees, inward and homeward airfares, monthly stipend, arrival allowance, thesis grant and a study travel grant.

Find out more here.

The programme will seek to develop in its students:

a critical understanding of the concept of terrorism and political violence within the context of a multidisciplinary approach to security studies
knowledge and understanding of the principal social and psychological factors that influence the emergence, development, and abandonment of terrorism as a method of waging conflict
an understanding and critical evaluation of the political context to contemporary terrorism
a capacity to critically assess terrorist incidents around the world, examine selected approaches to counter-terrorism, and the development of new responses
skills of literature search, the use of open source material, and an introduction to basic and principal elements of intelligence analysis
skills in research design and analysis using qualitative and quantitative techniques

The MLitt in Terrorism and Political Violence is postgraduate in character. That means that as well as dealing with complex conceptual issues, students are expected to engage in individual reading and research outside and beyond the course material, using the library and other resources available. The dissertation element of the programme undertaken for the MLitt is “a substantial paper that is typically based on original research and that gives evidence of the candidate’s mastery both of her own subject and of scholarly method.” The dissertation will show that the writer knows the subject, the key facts and different points of view in it and also advances a point of view resulting from original research.

In contrast the Certificate in Terrorism Studies is a highly structured and largely self contained introductory course, which whilst it does address complex conceptual issues, does not require the level of analysis and understanding, nor the degree of independent work, expected in a post graduate programme. More details of this programme are available here

Although CSTPV does not offer a PhD programme it may be possible for you to apply to undertake a research degree with a supervisor from CSTPV. 

Full information on a PhD in International Relations can be found here.