Programme Structure

Over the course of two years, IMSISS students will undertake teaching each semester in a different institution amongst our consortium partners before undertaking their independent study period to complete their masters’ dissertation.

All Students will start the programme at the University of Glasgow, where they will be taught the core theoretical concepts of Security, Intelligence and Strategic Studies. The modules taught at Glasgow will ensure all students are provided with the key critical thinking skills and understanding needed to succeed in the course.

Core modules include:

All IMSISS students at Glasgow get the opportunity to undertake one language module during the semester. Languages are subject to availability but in the past language options have included, Arabic, Chinese, Russian, German, French, Spanish and Italian.

The DCU pathway’s core strengths are centered around Intelligence, Terrorism and Peace Building though DCU encourages an increased amount of choice to further broaden and develop students’ knowledge in the Security field.


Students attending DCU will be required to take the Intelligence & security analysis: theory & practice module within Semester 2 alongside two modules of their choosing. Optional modules may include:

    • International security: Critical Approaches
    • Political Terrorism
    • Conflict, Security and Peace-building
    • Contemporary Issues in Security
    • Gender and Security
    • Environmental Change and World Politics
    • EU Foreign and Security Policy
    • Politics of the United Nations
    • Politics and Development in Africa
    • Politics of the Middle East and North Africa
    • Russia and the Former Soviet Space
    • India: The Politics of an Emerging Power
    • Policing and Society

The individual optional modules advertised are not always guaranteed, as they are subject to the availability and commitments of the DCU lecturing staff.

There is no guarantee of language classes at DCU. They are only available for audit at the discretion of the DCU language professors.

“Studying at DCU was an incredible experience. I’m a mature student slightly older than the university and studying at such a vibrant place helped to rejuvenate me. DCU has brand new installations and a very welcoming staff. I learned a lot during my time there. At DCU they strongly encouraged you to travel around Ireland and visit different places, and so I did. Ireland is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. It’s quite easy to combine our studies with some weekend travels. My best advice for those who are heading Dublin is: Try to secure your accommodation as soon as possible. Dublin is really facing accommodation shortage, so it’s better to be safe than sorry… secure your place now and enjoy your time at The Emerald Isle”

Rodrigo Alves Duton: 22-24 Cohort

The Trento Pathway provides students with the opportunity to focus on the causes of conflict, providing students with more a critical approach towards Security.

This pathway is an excellent opportunity for students hoping to:

    • Undertake highly structured and extensive teaching of conflict
    • Attend a three-day workshop with CoESPU
    • Develop their soft digital skills through the use of map and text analysis tools
    • Learn the Italian language and absorb the Italian culture in a vibrant city

Students attending Trento will be required to undertake four mandatory modules designed to deepen their understanding of conflict, alongside one additional module of choice.

Core Modules

    • Geographies of Security
    • Conflict, Human Rights and Natural Resources
    • Civil Societies and Contentious Politics
    • History and Politics of the Middle East: Conflicts, Ideologies and democratisation

Individual Options (availability varies, the following is indicative only):

    • Global Economic Policy
    • Labour Rights in the Global Economy
    • Party Politics and Democracy in Europe
    • Science, Technology, and Global Affairs
    • People, Politics, and the Planet
    • Peace and Conflict Studies: Theory and Methods
    • China and the World from the Cold War Years to the Present
    • History of the Idea of Europe
    • Advanced European Studies

Additional Teaching Includes:

    • Statistics Laboratory
    • Academic and Practitioner Writing Skills
    • Italian Language Courses (mandatory for non-Italian speakers)

Applicants to the Trento Pathway must show competence in the English language and one additional language excluding Italian at the point of application.

                                          Why Trento?

Perhaps one of the most rewarding activities for students at Trento is the field trip to the Center of Excellence for Stability Police Units (CoESPU) in Vicenza, Italy. CoESPU is a training centre which was set up by the Italian military police (Carabinieri) in 2005. Its central task is to train peacekeepers and develop stability policing doctrine within the UN framework. During the two-day field trip, students attend a series of seminars on police capacity-building and development, including standard operating procedures for crisis management and law enforcement in conflict-affected areas.

Students are also involved in a simulation exercise where they have to negotiate, plan, and coordinate a fictional peacekeeping mission. This allows them to put their previously acquired theoretical knowledge into practice and experience some of the operational, administrative, and policy-related challenges that peacekeepers deal with in the field

In Year 2 all students will reunite at Charles University for the semester. Charles University provides students with the opportunity to specialize in a specific field of security through the concentrations that Charles University offers. This is a unique chance for students to really enhance their knowledge and develop their expertise in a particular field of study.

The Concentrations at Charles University include:

Concentration A – Strategic and War Studies

  • Strategic Studies (core)
  • Arms Control & Disarmament
  • Economic Warfare
  • War Studies
  • Insurgency and Counterinsurgency
  • Technology and Warfare
  • Armed Forces and Society
  • Hybrid Warfare
  • Health and Security

Concentration B – Global and Regional Security

  • Security in Euroatlantic Area and Global Regions (core)
  • Asia Security
  • Middle East Security
  • Russian and Post-Soviet Security
  • Latin American Security
  • NATO and EU in Crisis Management

Concentration C – Security, Technology and Society

  • Security and Technology (core)
  • The Far-Right Today
  • Cyber Security
  • Intelligence
  • Space Security
  • Artificial Intelligence and Security
  • Human-Artificial Intelligence Nexus
  • Sociology of Technology
  • Technoscientific Imaginaries and Futures

Concentration D – Peace and Conflict Studies

  • Approaches to Conflict and Violence (core)
  • Ethics and Violence
  • Human Security
  • Peacekeeping and Peacebuilding
  • Terrorism and Counterterrorism
  • Radicalisation and Deradicalisation
  • Territorial Violent Non-State Actors
  • Gender and Security

Students complete their studies by writing their dissertation during the 4th mobility. The fourth mobility period must be undertaken at a location formally connected with the Programme or approved by the Programme Director. Locations formally connected with the Programme include Glasgow, Dublin, Trento, and Prague as well as locations of placement providers if students are undertaking a placement. Students wishing to take up an independent placement must also contact the Consortium beforehand for formal approval. Scholarship holders should note the requirements of their agreement. Mobility periods cannot be conducted remotely or virtually

There are two dissertation routes available:

  • Research Track Dissertation:
    • Word count – 22000 words
    • 80% of overall dissertation grade
    • Accompanying assessments include research design methods and dissertation proposal – 10% each of overall grade
  • Professional Track Dissertation:
    • Applicable if one has conducted an internship or work placement. Applicable even if the internship is independently sourced
    • Word count – 20000 words
    • 70% of overall dissertation
    • Accompanying assessments include research design methods
    • Dissertation proposal and Capstone Report – 10% each of overall grade
  • What is a Capstone Report?
    • A non-academic piece – 1000-1500 words
    • Reflexive in nature
    • Focused on your experiences, expectations and what you got out of the placement.
    • Focused on how you developed from the experience.
    • Completely Private- No Capstone report goes back to the internship provider.

IMSISS partners will work together to ensure that they deliver a joint master degree that:

  • utilises mobility opportunities to promote an innovative, interdisciplinary, and integrated team-delivered programme that recognises security as one of the top public issues of the modern world
  • provides students with comprehensive training across theoretical, empirical and applied approaches to three interrelated core themes – security, intelligence and strategy
  • engages its students with the reasons underpinning contemporary insecurity and threat; the strategic directions, policy responses and active solutions to security challenges; and the means to plan and horizon scan for future threats
  • draws upon the expertise of consortium partners in specialist areas including: conceptual issues such as security theory, the politics of threat assessment, modern strategic thought, ethical dilemmas of just war; contemporary security challenges such as terrorism, radicalisation, migration, cyber-crime and cyber-warfare, regional security dilemmas, conflict and the use of modern technology (drones, weapons of mass destruction, social media), energy security; and practical skills development such as open source intelligence production, linguistic and data analytics

Intended Learning Objectives

The programme provides opportunities for students to develop and demonstrate knowledge and understanding, skills, qualities and other attributes designed to prepare them for future academic and/or professional careers.

By completing this degree students will be able to:  

  • describe and apply a range of theoretical approaches and debates in security, intelligence and strategic studies in a critical manner
  • recognise and critically assess a variety of traditional and non-traditional security threats and the interconnected nature of these threats
  • conceptually locate contemporary security matters within global, national and regional contexts
  • critically evaluate the role played by intelligence and information in addressing security concerns in specific domains of interest
  • articulate the ethical implications of key policy approaches and strategic tactics in dealing with security threats, with particular emphasis on affects at a societal/human level

Subject-specific/practical skills

  • produce, present, and critically assess intelligence products with respect to a client’s needs and requirements through structured policy briefs/papers
  • define and develop concepts and analytical approaches for the evaluation of big data and other forms of information
  • apply a range of key skills for acquiring and analysis of intelligence related data, specifically that available via open source means

Intellectual skills

  • express originality and creativity in the application of knowledge and understanding
  • design and undertake a significant research project using a range of materials and relevant methodological approaches and theoretical frameworks
  • demonstrate awareness of and respond to ethical consideration and concerns relevant to undertaking research on security matters

Transferable/key skills

  • communicate effectively with audiences at different levels (peer group, academic staff, professionals)
  • use a range of information technology resources and demonstrate the ability to use and evaluate internet sites perceptively and responsibly
  • undertake leadership roles and work effectively within team environments

Early on in mobility one, you will be given information about the programmes Work-based Learning (WBL) Scheme. This scheme is directly linked to the independent study portfolio element of the programme.

Students will competitively apply for research projects provided by our associate partners during Mobility 1 and those who are successfully matched will work with the partner remotely on the research project throughout Mobility 2 and 3. After submission of the dissertation, the student will complete a 6-8 week in house placement at the partner organisation where they will work on turning the dissertation into an of-value output and undertaking other related tasks for the partner. The placement MUST be carried out during June/July/August as agreed with the partner organisation. Please note that the project partners are likely to be international organisations with offices across the world. If a student chooses to take this option and is successfully placed with a partner he/she will need to secure their own visa, travel and accommodation for the duration of the placement. Students will not receive payment for this work.

Students can choose to source their own project with an associated placement, but they must work with the programme convenor to ensure the project meets all necessary criteria and complete any necessary paperwork. Students on this scheme will be supervised by two members of staff from at least two of the programme partners. Each student will also have a mentor from the partner organisation to which they are placed. Students on the WBL placement scheme will receive support throughout the process from our dedicated Work-Related Learning Opportunities Co-ordinator.

Degree Awarded

Joint International Masters Degree in Security, Intelligence, and Strategic Studies 

Programme Regulations

Information on the programme regulations can be found at the following link. Please note that these programme regulations are updated on an annual basis.

IMSISS Programme Regulations [2023-2024]

IMSISS Programme Regulations [2022-2023]

IMSISS Programme Regulations [2021-2022]

IMSISS Programme Regulations [2020-2021]