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Violence Terrorism & Security

This programme provides dynamic and critical study in Violence, Terrorism and International Security. Its aims 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. 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.

Why Queen's?
• Queen’s University, located in Belfast, Northern Ireland offers a unique opportunity for our students to access and engage with a community previously context challenged by violence, terrorism and security. Our students have the opportunity to live and study in a post-conflict environment as well as meet people involved in Northern Irish conflict and the peace process, from researchers and policy makers to ex-combatants.
• It is anticipated that internship opportunities in Belfast will be made available to students.
• 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.
• Study with like-minded student from various backgrounds in VTS. Some of our students have previous experience in the United Nations, national police forces, military, among many others, before coming to study with us.
• Queens has an excellent academic record: It is a Russell group university, in the top ten for research intensity (REF 2014). In the 2016 Sunday Times Good University Guide 2016, Queen’s moved up seven places. It is now number 31 in the UK.
• Queen's has been placed 15th overall for Student Experience and 14th for Research and 28th for Graduate Employment.
• World class research: Students will have the opportunity to study under world-class academics in the areas of Violence, Terrorism and Security. The Research Excellent Framework 2014, a UK-wide research assessment of higher education institutions, has placed Queen’s in the top 20 for research quality and impact.
• Queen’s University Belfast, as well as our MA programmes, has excellent student satisfaction according to the Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey (PTES) 2016 conducted by the Higher Education Academy.
• Outstanding campus facilities and student support and guidance.

For more information, please see

Learning and Teaching
• Teaching hours take place in morning/afternoon/night.
• Each module usually consists of 2-4 contact teaching hours per week, depending on the module. Most study, however, consists of independent research and reading. Each student is also allocated a personal tutor/academic advisor who, alongside teaching in each module, aids in the learning process.
• Modules involve a variety of teaching approaches designed to inspire critical and transferable skills.
• Learn with award winning teachers. Teachers in the MA VTS programme are leading experts in their field. Many have been granted teaching awards for their innovative and engaging pedagogical approaches.
• There are multiple talks, events, and extra-curricular activities and training courses on campus each year, outside of the formal VTS programme, that are related to Violence, Terrorism and Security.
• It is anticipated that internship opportunities in Belfast will be made available to students.

Entry requirements

MA: normally a 2.1 Honours degree or above, or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University in a Social Sciences, Humanities or Arts subject, or a 2.1 Honours degree or above, or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University in any subject with relevant professional experience.

PGDip: normally a 2.2 Honours degree (minimum 57%) or above, or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University in a Social Sciences, Humanities or Arts subject, or a 2.2 Honours degree (minimum 57%) or above, or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University in any subject with relevant professional experience. Applicants who do not meet this entry requirement may, at the discretion of the relevant programme convenor, be considered for admission on the basis of relevant work experience. Please note that a piece of written work may be requested in this instance.

Admission under the Recognition of Prior Experiential Learning (RPEL) may be considered for this course. Please visit for the University's Recognition of Prior Learning Policy and information on application procedures.

International Qualifications
For information on international qualification equivalents please select Your Country from the list on our International Students website.

Additional Information for International Students
International students wishing to apply to Queen's University Belfast (and for whom English is not their first language), must be able to demonstrate their proficiency in English in order to benefit fully from their course of study or research. Non-EEA nationals must also satisfy UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) immigration requirements for English language for visa purposes. 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 is required. *Taken within the last 2 years.

For more information on English Language requirements for EEA and non-EEA nationals see:

If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this programme, our partner INTO Queen's University Belfast offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability to entry to this programme.

For additional information, please visit our website.
• English for University Study - an intensive English language and study skills course for successful university study at degree level.
• Pre-sessional English - a short intensive academic English course for students starting a degree programme at Queen's University Belfast and who need to improve their English
• See Also The Into Graduate Diploma In Finance Which Combines Academic Study, Intensive English Language Teaching And Study Skills To Prepare You For Entry Into A University Masters Degree.


1 year full-time or 2 years part-time.
Teaching hours take place in morning/afternoon/night.

Careers or further progression

Career Prospects
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 work as senior government policy advisers, in international NGOs in diverse parts of the globe including major conflict zones and the media. 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.

Queen's postgraduates reap exceptional benefits. Unique initiatives, such as Degree Plus and Researcher Plus bolster our commitment to employability, while innovative leadership and executive programmes alongside sterling integration with business experts helps our students gain key leadership positions both nationally and internationally.

Further enquiries

Dr Andrew Thomson
School of History, Anthropology, Politics and Philosophy
Tel: (+44) 028 9097 2526

Subjects taught

Six taught modules, plus a dissertation of no more than 15,000 words.
Students will take:
• Approaches to Research Design
• Conflict Intervention
• Contemporary Security
• Global Terrorism
• Violence, Terrorism and Security

Plus one module from the following:
• Ethnic Conflict
• International Political Economy
• Philosophy of Conflict and War

Some recent MA VTS dissertation topics have included:
• Bioterrorism and arms control
• Child soldiers and international law
• Counter-insurgency and targeted assassinations
• Covert Intelligence and Collusion
• Cultures of Youth Violence
• Cyber-terrorism
• Gender and Counter-terrorism
• Light arms proliferations
• NATO expansion and Ukraine
• New Terrorism and ISIS
• Paramilitary recruitment
• Policing Private Military Companies and Africa
• Radicalisation and Recruitment
• Religious Diplomacy and Paramilitary movements
• Security and Development
• Security Sector Reform
• State power and the intelligence community
• Taliban, counter-insurgency and narco-terrorism
• Transitions from terrorism: ETA and the IRA compared
• UK Government PREVENT policy
• US Counter-terrorism strategies
• US Domestic Terrorism

Assessment method

Assessment and Feedback are continuous throughout the course of study.

Students are provided a range of assessment approaches, both formal and informal as well as formative and summative, in order to enhance the student learning experience and improve student attainment. Each module typically consists of two or three main pieces of assessment and can include essays, policy reports, simulations, presentations, among other forms of assessment.

Feedback is provided throughout the VTS programme for continuous student reflection and growth. Teachers provide thorough and systematic feedback on assessed work. Feedback is also available from your personal tutor as well as via various support mechanisms and training courses in the university, such as via the Student Guidance Centre.

Application date

Postgraduate Taught
In general, there are no closing dates for the majority of courses (those with closing dates will be highlighted in the Course Finder). However we advise you to apply as early as possible, particularly for those courses where there is a high demand for places. Early application is also important for international applicants to allow sufficient time to obtain a student entry visa.

Postgraduate Research
There is no standard closing date. You should however check both the University’s website and refer to the relevant School/Institute webpage for information on deadline dates for postgraduate funding applications, as these will also determine when your application for admission should be submitted.

Enrolment and start dates

Year of entry: 2017

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