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Global Futures: Geopolitics and Security

Global Futures: Geopolitics and Security

MSc
  • Option 1 year full time or 2 years part time
  • Year of entry 2021
  • Campus Egham

The course

The upheaval of global politics in recent years has brought with it unique and unforeseen challenges, from the threat of environmental catastrophe and resource shortages, to the rise of populist political parties, infrastructural and economic failure and global terror. An MSc in Global Futures: Geopolitics and Security at Royal Holloway, University of London equips students with the knowledge and skills needed to tackle these era-defining issues, to mitigate the impact of potential crises, and to reflect critically and creatively on the strategies and techniques which seek to keep us secure.

Whether you are still an undergraduate or someone already in a professional career, graduates of this course will gain a Masters of Science in a discipline offering excellent employability prospects, while professionals seeking further academic training will learn transferable risk management skills ideal for further career development. Study an MSc Global Futures: Geopolitics and Security at Royal Holloway and you’ll graduate with a range of transferable skills to take with you into the workplace or further postgraduate study.

In the Department of Geography you’ll join a vibrant research community (ranked 2nd in the UK for research excellence in the most recent REF2014 assessment) and contribute to our renowned research culture with your own independent dissertation project. You’ll benefit from networking and placement opportunities with leading organisations and institutions, and enjoy exciting field working opportunities. In particular, you will work with the leading researchers based in our Geopolitics, Development, Security and Justice (GDSJ) research group, and benefit from their links to scholars in Politics and International Relations and Information Security, including the EPSRC Doctoral Training Centre in Cyber Security for the Everyday.

Engage with some of the most profound challenges of our times in this exciting Masters degree.

Core Modules

Term 1
  • In this module you will develop an understanding of the theoretical concepts and thinkers at the heart of the study of geopolitics and security. You will look at the key objects, sites and agents of geopolitics and security, looking at the historical evolution and contemporary theorisation of these. You will explore the coeval development of geopolitics and security studies, considering post-structuralist theory in the early 1990s and the development of critical and popular geopolitics and securitisation theory. You will examine the conversations between geopolitics and security studies, and analyse the deepening and widening of these debates through object-centred philosophy, material relations and limits of representation.

  • In this module you will develop an understanding of research methods used for exploring the social sciences. You will look at the key methods used by social scientists, with teaching delivered by those who have practical experience in their field. You will look at the research process and explore research beyond the field, becoming familiar with the practical considerations of a range of methods, their benefits and challenges, their epistemological basis, and their ethics.

  • In this module you will develop an understanding of how your cultural geography learning is relevant beyond the academy. You will critically reflect on the role of impact and knowledge exchange in the contemporary academy, examining how you may put your cultural geographic ideas into practice. 

Term 2
  • This module aims to address some of the potential issues this world faces from a cutting edge geographical perspective. These topics include climate change, political division, and technological revolutions. The module is split into sessions, titled Earth Futures, Secure Futures, Just Futures, and Creative Futures. 

  • This module explores several methods that reflect upon the rest of the program. These methods include creative methods, archiving and interpretation, and participatory methods.

  • You will undertake an independent volunteer project which will give you practical experience in gaining sustainability related work experience. The project will enhance your employability and provide an opportunity to gain practical experience of organisational objectives, cultures and practices.

Term 3
  • The dissertation gives you the opportunity to study an aspect of geopolitics and security, in-depth, by managing and carrying out your own piece of research and analysis. You will be assigned a dissertation supervisor who will help you develop your research aims and objectives, identify bodies of relevant literature, establish a particular strang of conceptual thought, and select appropriate research methods for the collection and analysis of data. You will produce an extended written report of 15,000 words, and will be encouraged to work with an external organisation to build a network of contacts and relationships to facilitate your future career.

Optional Modules

There are a number of optional course modules available during your degree studies. The following is a selection of optional course modules that are likely to be available. Please note that although the College will keep changes to a minimum, new modules may be offered or existing modules may be withdrawn, for example, in response to a change in staff. Applicants will be informed if any significant changes need to be made.

Year 1
  • In this module you will develop an understanding of the key ideas in cultural geography. You will look at themes such as place, space, body, landscape, time, mobilities, economy, nature, mapping and exploration. You will consider the history of key ideas within culutral geography and their current state, examining the intersections between substantive themes and their future development. You will be supported by an advisor who will help you to criticically reflect on your intellectual interests.

  • In this module you will develop an understanding of the theoretical concepts and thinkers at the heart of the study of geopolitics and security. You will look at the key objects, sites and agents of geopolitics and security, looking at the historical evolution and contemporary theorisation of these. You will explore the coeval development of geopolitics and security studies, considering post-structuralist theory in the early 1990s and the development of critical and popular geopolitics and securitisation theory. You will examine the conversations between geopolitics and security studies, and analyse the deepening and widening of these debates through object-centred philosophy, material relations and limits of representation.

  • In this module you will develop an understanding of the key social and environmental relationships, incorporating contemporary issues in the geographies of sustainability. You will look at the concept of 'risk society', sustainable cities, and the impacts of corporate sector activities on the environment. You will consider the challenges to sustainable development at household and community levels, with a focus on community-based approaches to sustainable development.

  • This module aims to introduce students to how their cultural geography learning is relevant beyond the academy. It does so through a series of practical seminars that lay the ground work for a series of social media engagement activities the student will develop with other students in the group and led by staff members and external creative professionals.

     

  • Politics of Protest
  • This module will introduce you to new conceptualisations of identity, difference, power, and politics that are associated most notably with what has been termed 'Post-Marxist' or the 'New Left'. You will see how recent changes in both political theory and practice – some of which are associated with changes linked to globalization and the emergence of new social movements – present compelling a paradigm shift in the way politics is understood. You will focus on four concepts – identity, power, resistance, and otherness – that have become salient in contemporary political philosophy and international relations theory and on four theorists – Althusser, Gramsci, Laclau and Mouffe, and Foucault – whose thought on these issues has underpinned a great deal of New Left political theory and practice. You will look at how these issues have become prominent in the theory and politics around feminism and lesbian politics, and at new problematics for thinking about political thought and practice, with a particular focus on what has been called the 'micropolitical' realm.

  • In this module you will examine the theories, concepts and issues surrounding the role of media in war and conflict in the early twenty-first century. The post-9/11 global security situation and the 2003 Iraq war have prompted a marked increase in interest in questions concerning media, war and conflict, and you look at the relationships between media, governments, military, and audiences/publics, in light of old, new, and potential future security events. You will develop an understanding of the theories of media effects in conflict situations, covering a number of important themes, including embedding, sanitisation, legitimacy, and terrorism and publicity. You will explore the role of ethics, technology, and professional norms that inform war reporting, analysing a range of media with consideration for conceptual, theoretical and methodological issues in light of ongoing conflicts around the world.

  • Political theory has renewed and nourished itself in recent years. It has engaged with important new topics on issues that had hitherto been neglected such as global justice and immigration. It has become more inclusive of traditions beyond analytical liberalism. And it has become more methodologically aware, questioning its very foundations. This course introduces you to a selection of recent work by key political thinkers from a variety of intellectual approaches: liberalism, communitarianism, feminism and critical theory.

  • Democracy and Citizenship in Europe
  • Contemporary Anglo-American Political Theory
  • In this module you will examine why people vote for different political parties, and how their behavior is shaped by the mobilization strategies of political parties and institutional arrangements. You will learn how social divisions are translated into political visions, and how the mechanisms of accountability and representation operate in different political and economic contexts. You will develop an understanding of how campaigns shape voting behavior and influence the criteria citizens use in deciding how to vote, see how these patterns have changed over time, and be able to identify the main factors that shape electoral behavior and election outcomes across western democracies.

  • This module introduces you to international public policy as a field of contested policy authority in a globalized world. You will develop an understanding of how, at its core, international public policy is about addressing global collective action problems in policy areas as different as trade, migration, financial regulation, economic development and environment. You will discuss key aspects of contemporary international public policy making, including global public goods and the problem of global commons; the theories and empirics of global public management; the role of international agencies, global networks and global public-private partnerships in producing policy outcomes; and dynamics of policy transfer, diffusion and global best practice. You will look at a number of practical examples from various policy fields and levels, from both Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and non-OECD contexts.

  • In this module you will develop an understanding of the contested nature of the concept of development and how it is measured. You will look at the key concepts and debates surrounding political, economic, and social development, and critically analyse major development issues, considering the theories of development and the benefits and drawbacks of potential policy solutions. You will also examine the role of power relations, politics, and institutions in development outcomes.

  • In this module you will develop an understanding of the methodological and substantive debates and issues that shape the study of conflict. You look at the conceptual and practical issues and problems involved in conflict studies, and consider the central political issues and conflicts within and among the countries of the Middle East, and how these have historically developed. You will also examine the main international, transnational and domestic forces that affect the conduct of their internal and external affairs.

  • This module introduces you to the inter-relationship between politics and socio-economic development in sub-Saharan Africa. It examines both how political factors influence  poverty, inequality, and economic growth, and how socio-economic factors--in turn--shape the political trajectories of sub-Saharan African nations. It explores the following 'big' questions: What does development mean? Why are some countries poor, repressive, and violent? How does globalisation influence development in sub-Saharan Africa? How do historical institutions influence development in sub-Saharan Africa? To what extent does gender equality, urbanisation, and corruption influence development in sub-Saharan African, and vice versa? To what extent does foreign aid and humanitarianism promote development in sub-Saharan Africa, and what role should it play in the future?
  • The Global Politics of Food Security
  • In this module you will develop an understanding of the modern history of West Asia, looking at countries such as Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. You will look at how the politics of these countries can be interpreted, considering events such as the Cold War, the War on Terror, Pan-Arabism, the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict, the Islamic Revolution in Iran, the Arab Spring, and the rise of the Islamic State. You will also explore the specific constellation of national, societal, and individual-level factors that shape the politics of West Asian countries and sub-regions, such as the Persian Gulf Monarchies and the Levant.

  • This module looks into how political communication strategies play an important role in shaping and monitoring government actions. The course examines the relationship between media, campaigns, government and citizens’ ad different stages of the political cycle. From the formulation of coherent campaigns to be elected for office and the definition of public problems and agenda setting, to the implementation and evaluation of policies and during crisis.

     

Assessment is by coursework only. Formative feedback and detailed ongoing discussion of work before final submission is a central part of the teaching ethos of the course. Students also have significant autonomy in the selection of topics for coursework and dissertation allowing them to develop particular interests and specialisms.

Each module has a specific assessment as follows:

  • Key Concepts in Geopolitics and Security – 5000 word essay (20 credits)
  • Research Methods for Social Science – group presentation and 2000 word dissertation proposal (20 credits)
  • Social Media & Audiencing – blog posts and a podcast or video (20 credits)
  • Global Futures – 5000 word manifesto (20 credits)
  • Advanced Research Methods for Global Futures – 5000 word workshop report (20 credits)
  • Placements, Volunteering and Scenarios – 3000 word diarised report (20 credits)
  • Dissertation – 15000 word dissertation (60 credits)

Please note, these modules are currently provisional and are subject to module validation.

2:1

Geography, Politics, International Relations, English, History and Classics, Sociology and Philosophy. Other disciplines may be considered.

Normally we require a UK 2:1 (Honours) or equivalent in relevant subjects but we will consider high 2:2 or relevant work experience. Candidates with professional qualifications in an associated area may be considered. Where a ‘good 2:2’ is considered, we would normally define this as reflecting a profile of 57% or above.

International & EU requirements

English language requirements

All teaching at Royal Holloway is in English. You will therefore need to have good enough written and spoken English to cope with your studies right from the start.

The scores we require
  • IELTS: 6.5 overall. Writing 7.0. No subscore lower than 5.5.
  • Pearson Test of English: 61 overall. Writing 69. No subscore lower than 51.
  • Trinity College London Integrated Skills in English (ISE): ISE III.

Country-specific requirements

For more information about country-specific entry requirements please see here.

Gradates of this course will possess in-depth social scientific research skills and critical knowledge of contemporary geographic issues. Also, there is the opportunity to develop important public engagement skills, as well as to undertake placements and volunteer work in external institutions. The department has excellent links with a range of national and international charities business and political institutions such as the Big Data Institute, government departments and Google. These are actively used during the teaching of the course (via external speakers and field visits), and so students gain first hand experience and invaluable networks with this broad range of specialist institutions.

As such this is ideal preparation for careers in a wide-range of sectors including consultancy, government research, charities, intelligence, think tanks and private businesses. 

Home (UK) students tuition fee per year*: £8,100

EU and International students tuition fee per year**: £17,200

Other essential costs***: You should allow for up to £150 for travel and subsistence from campus to London for fieldwork and trips to organisations and societies.

How do I pay for it? Find out more about funding options, including loans, grants, scholarships and bursaries.

* and ** These tuition fees apply to students enrolled on a full-time basis. Students studying on the standard part-time course structure over two years are charged 50% of the full-time applicable fee for each study year.

All postgraduate fees are subject to inflationary increases. This means that the overall cost of studying the programme via part-time mode is slightly higher than studying it full-time in one year. Royal Holloway's policy is that any increases in fees will not exceed 5% for continuing students. For further information see tuition fees see our terms and conditions. Please note that for research programmes, we adopt the minimum fee level recommended by the UK Research Councils for the Home tuition fee. Each year, the fee level is adjusted in line with inflation (currently, the measure used is the Treasury GDP deflator). Fees displayed here are therefore subject to change and are usually confirmed in the spring of the year of entry. For more information on the Research Council Indicative Fee please see the RCUK website.

** For EU nationals starting a degree in 2021/22, the UK Government has recently confirmed that you will not be eligible to pay the same fees as UK students. This means you will be classified as an international student. At Royal Holloway, we wish to support those students affected by this change in status through this transition. For eligible EU students starting their course with us in September 2021, we will award an automatic fee reduction which brings your fee into line with the fee paid by UK students. This will apply for the duration of your course.

*** These estimated costs relate to studying this particular degree programme at Royal Holloway. Costs, such as accommodation, food, books and other learning materials and printing, have not been included.

 

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