MLitt 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. E-learning technologies mean that students can take the part-time Course on a distance-learning basis. For further information regarding modules, assessments, applications and fees please view the information on the University’s Digital Prospectus:


Full-Time (Residential)Part-Time (Distance Learning)

Full-Time (Residential)

Full time students must complete four taught modules of the programme in 9 months with the MLitt dissertation taking a further 3 months. The next intake for this residential program will commence in October 2018 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.


Part-Time (Distance Learning)

Part-time 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. Each module is equivalent to one quarter of the workload of a full time 1 year course. Modules are delivered via eLearning, 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 whilst online tutorials will be provided through the WebEx conferencing system.

Central to this are our online tutorials, held regularly for each of their modules. 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 WebEx 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 & iBook form. This will be provided as an alternative to the material found on the Moodle platform.

Learning Outcomes

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
MLitt/PGDip versus Certificate Programme

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

Continued Study After MLitt

Although CSTPV does not offer either an M.Phil or PhD it may be possible for you to apply to undertake a research degree with a supervisor from CSTPV. Full information is available here.