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MA in Violence, Terrorism and Security

Pathway diagram for MA Violence, Terrorism and Security

The Convenor for this degree is Professor Beverley Milton-Edwards who can be contacted for further information.

Further details on the MA VTS degree programme, along with information on other MA courses related to the theme of Conflict and Conflict Transformation are available here.

September 11th attacks

This programme provides dynamic and critical study in Violence, Terrorism and International Security. Its aim is to help students develop a critical and analytical approach to problems in history and the contemporary world of these three areas.

It challenges accepted wisdom and opens up the debate about the role of violence in relation to political power in the late 20th and early 21st centuries.

Abu Ubaydah Battalion Rafah

Programme Content 
Six taught modules, plus a dissertation of no more than 15,000 words.

Students will take:
Violence, Terrorism and Security
Approaches to Research Design
International Security
Conflict Intervention
Global Terrorism


Plus one module from the following:
International Political Economy
International Political Philosophy
Ireland and Europe
Issues in European Governance
Politics of the Republic of Ireland

Islamist Car Bomb

Some recent MA VTS dissertation topics have included:

  • Paramilitary recruitment
  • Security and Development
  • US Counter-terrorism strategies
  • Religious Diplomacy and Paramilitary movements
  • Taliban, counter-insurgency and narco-terrorism
  • Security Sector Reform
  • Policing
  • Counter-insurgency and targeted assassinations
  • Private Military Companies and Africa
  • Cultures of Youth Violence
  • UK Government PREVENT policy
  • Covert Intelligence and Collusion
  • Transitions from terrorism: ETA and the IRA compared
  • Bioterrorism and arms control
  • Cyberterrorism
  • Child soldiers and international law

Assessment method on the modules: Continuous assessment and examination

Normally these degrees are self-funded. Any School bursaries and other scholarship competitions are advertised on the School website.
Special Features
It is also possible to study for a PG Diploma in each of the areas covered by the MA and the PG Diploma is constructed around the coursework elements of the MA.On successful completion of the coursework,it is possible to complete the dissertation for an award of MA
Opportunities for Careers
This programme provides an opportunity to develop in-depth knowledge of current violence, security and terrorism related issues for those at any stage of their career.
Our graduates now serve in the most Senior ranks of a number of National Police Services, and Law Enforcement Agencies, Border and Immigration Control, National Armed Forces including the US Army, US Air Force, British Army and Irish Defence Forces. Our graduates also now serve in as senior government policy advisors, work in international NGOs in diverse parts of the globe including major conflict zones and the media. 
Successfully completing the MA can enhance students’ opportunities for career advancement by developing their knowledge and skills, including the independent research skills required for the dissertation which can be professionally related if necessary. 
The MA also provides the research skills and knowledge to carry out a PhD to pursue, as a number of our graduates have done, an academic career.

  • Brian C. Mueller, MA VTS 2011, Marshall Scholar, US Air Force: Completing the MA in Violence, Terrorism, and Security at Queen’s University Belfast has proven to be one of my most educationally thought-provoking and rewarding life experiences to date.
  • Eric Gardiner, Ensign, United States Navy, 2009 VTS graduate: “My experience at Queen’s University Belfast in the MA in Violence, Terrorism, and Security degree was the best academic and life experience that I have ever had.”  “The course is well designed and broad enough to give you a solid theoretical understanding of the nexus between violence, terrorism, and security, while also giving you adequate opportunity to specialize in a certain area with the multitude of elective modules the course pathway offers.
  • Tanya Mc Camphill VTS Student, LLB Parliamentary Assistant in Northern Ireland Assembly: I would recommend VTS to anyone with a keen interest in politics and security studies. It is a real experience and it was an honour to be taught by numerous tutors whom are leads in the field.
  • David Noble, Second Lieutenant, Royal Marines, 2011 VTS Graduate: I can wholly endorse the VTS programme as one that is challenging and truly interesting. The content of the course provides a wide-scope of the field as a whole but also allows you to focus on specific areas of interest. This was specifically true for myself as I was able to complete my Dissertation on the counterinsurgency practices of the UK and US, past and present. This study was very much geared towards my future career path and provided me with an example of my diligence when I attended The Admiralty Interview Board in a bid to gain my commission into the Royal Marines.

Entrance Requirements
The School of Politics, International Studies and Philosophy requires applicants for MA programme to have a 2:1 (or equivalent) honours degree at undergraduate level in, as appropriate, Politics, European Studies, International Studies, Philosophy or a relevant subject area. 
Those applicants with a high 2:2 honours degree (or equivalent recognised qualification, including professional) may be admitted if they have evidence of relevant professional experience. Entry to the Postgraduate Diploma normally requires a high 2:2 (58%) honours degree at undergraduate level. Diploma applicants who do not hold a high 2:2 at undergraduate level, may - at the discretion of the relevant Programme Convenor - be considered for admission on the basis of relevant post-graduation work experience and/or an assessed piece of written work.
For further information on how to apply for any of our postgraduate taught courses please read the Prospective Student Information at the following link:

Additional Information for International Students

  • Applicants who are non-EEA nationals must satisfy the UK Border Agency (UKBA) immigration requirements for English language for visa purposes, by providing evidence of an IELTS* score of 6.5, with not less than 5.5 in any component, or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University.
  • *Taken within the last 2 yrs.
  • Please see for more information and p.51 for details on English Language requirements for EEA and non-EEA nationals. 

Duration 1 year full-time or 2 years part-time 

  • Places Maximum 25
  • Teaching
  • Times
  • Afternoon
  • Evening Combination

Contact Professor Beverley Milton-Edwards
School of Politics, International Studies and Philosophy
T: +44(0)28 90973743

For student endorsements of this MA programme click here