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MA-PgDip in Intelligence and Security Studies (MAISS)

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  • Entry requirements
    Applications are invited from graduates holding a good honours degree in the humanities or social sciences, preferably in history, politics or international relations. A minimum of a 2:1 is expected of a candidate for the MA; a minimum of a 2:2 is required of a candidate for the Postgraduate Diploma. Applicants with other academic backgrounds, professional qualifications or with suitable work experience will be considered. The programme has a record of attracting students from a wide range of backgrounds.
  • Academic Title
    MA/PgDip in Intelligence and Security Studies (MAISS)
  • Course description
    About the programme

    Now in its 16 th year this is the longest-running, non-governmental postgraduate programme in Britain dedicated largely to a scholarly examination of intelligence, espionage and other clandestine activity. This challenging and intriguing programme provides students with an opportunity to deepen their knowledge of stimulating and important subjects such as intelligence processes and new security threats that are highly pertinent to today’s international evironment.

    The University of Salford has established itself as one of the leading international centres for the study of intelligence and its impact on contemporary international relations.  The Politics and Contemporary History Subject Group has six members of staff with considerable expertise in the fields of intelligence studies and international security. They are also complemented by another half dozen staff specialising in closely related fields such as military history and international politics.  Few university programmes in this specialised field can equal this experience or concentration of staff.

    This programme aims to provide students with a well-founded understanding of intelligence and its impact on contemporary politics and international relations, as well as an appreciation of national and international security affairs more generally. Not only is the programme intended to give students a better understanding of intelligence and security studies, it is also designed to equip them with the necessary analytical skills with which to study the contemporary world. The degree provides students with a unique combination to study both important historical and policy-related matters relevant to current global affairs.

    Course of study

    Modules are offered in the fields of intelligence studies, military and diplomatic history and defence/ security studies. They are structured for students from a wide range of backgrounds. They also provide academic training for those seeking or are currently engaged in military, government and media careers. These modules also provide a basis of knowledge for students who wish to pursue further research at the doctoral level.

    Students take four modules, two of which are compulsory. One of these compulsory modules is taken in the first semester, the other in the second semester. The compulsory intelligence module in the first semester is titled Contemporary Intelligence Studies. This core module introduces students to the theory, practice and history of intelligence. Particular emphasis is placed on the role of intelligence and clandestine activity in 20 th century international relations. The aim of this module is to give students a solid appreciation of intelligence studies and prepare them for more advanced study in this field.

    The other core module offered in the second semester is titled ‘Force, Diplomacy and International Security 1900-Present’ and it examines the means in which various nation-states have sought to achieve security over the long 20 th century. The aim of this module is to provide students with a historical perspective of how international security has been maintained, and as a result, a clearer understanding of the possible ways in which diplomacy and force can be used to cope with the problems which currently face the world community.

    Students choose a further two modules from the options available each year. Options can be selected from the following modules:

    -Anglo-French Relations 1904-1945
    -British Defence Policy since 1945
    -Security Studies
    -Strategic Studies
    -Terrorism: Threat and Response
    -Length of programme

    Entrance to the programme is in September. Full-time students must complete four modules in two semesters and complete a dissertation by the end of the following September (12 months in total). Part-time students have four semesters to complete four modules and must complete their dissertation by the end of the September of their third and final year (36 months in total). Postgraduate diploma students follow corresponding patterns for full-time and part-time completion of their modules but are not required to submit a dissertation. Postgraduate diploma students who reach MA standard in their modules may be upgraded to the MA and invited to proceed with a dissertation.

    MA dissertations

    The following is a partial list of successful dissertations written recently by students on the MA course. These titles reflect the great diversity of student interests and some of the expertise our academic staff can provide for supervision:

    ‘Assessing the Role of the Chemical and Biological Weapons Conventions in the Prevention of Mass Casualty Terrorism’

    ‘Brilliant Success or Disappointing Victory? A Case Study of the Military Effectiveness of XIV Corps at the Battle of Asiago, 15-16 June 1918’

    ‘George F. Taylor and the SOE-OSS Liaison Relationship during the Second World War’

    ‘The Impact of Terrorism on Kenya’s Tourism Industry’

    ‘The Legality of the US-led Invasion of Iraq and its Implications for the International Order’

    ‘The Legitimacy of Assassination in the War Against Terrorism’

    ‘The Missing Agency: The Case for a Canadian Foreign Intelligence Service’

    ‘The Practicability of Cyber-terrorist Attacks upon Critical Infrastructures’

    ‘Private Military Companies: Looking for a Role in the Post-Cold War Security Environment’

    ‘The Risk of the Proliferation of Chemical and Biological Weapons in Iraq, Syria and the Sudan’

    ‘The Sum of the Parts: Military Intelligence and Operation HUSKY’

    ‘The Unsteady Sword: The RAF’s Strategic Nuclear Deterrent and its Role in the Cold War World, 1947-1969’

    Other activities

    Students are invited to attend regularly scheduled research seminars provided by a range of outside speakers addressing topics on intelligence and security issues and military history topics. Students can also participate in optional field trips to Bletchley Park, NATO Headquarters and Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) in Belgium. Each year students have the additional option of participating in a simulation exercise which serves to complement their coursework.

    Teaching methods

    Modules are taught in the evenings between 6 and 9 pm. Teaching is generally conducted by lectures and seminars. Personal supervision is provided in support of the writing of a dissertation. Module performance is assessed by a combination of coursework and formal examination. Standards are very high.

    Research and teaching quality

    All staff of the Politics and Contemporary History Subject Group are members of the European Studies Research Institute at the University of Salford. The European Studies Research Institute was awarded a top-flight 5A in the 2001 Research Assessment Exercise and was the largest unit returned to the European Studies assessment panel. The Politics and Contemporary History Subject Group is highly ranked nationally. In the 2003 Guardian Politics league table the Politics and Contemporary History Subject Group was ranked 5 th out of 74 departments and in The Times it was the 13 th best in Britain. In 2001 a Quality Assurance Agency assessment of politics teaching achieved the highest possible score of 24. History teaching was also awarded full marks in a 2003 Quality Assurance Agency audit.

    Principal teaching staff

    Dr Jonathan Colman (PhD, University of Liverpool) Anglo-American defence relations and intelligence co-operation during the Cold War

    Dr Douglas Ford (PhD, London School of Economics) International history 1900-1945, the Second World War in Asia and the Pacific, intelligence and warfare

    Dr Eric Grove (PhD, University of Hull) Maritime strategy and forces, British defence and security policy, international security

    Dr Gaynor Johnson (PhD, University of Wales, Bangor) International History; British foreign policy

    Dr Sarah Leonard (PhD, University of Wales, Aberystwyth) European security issues

    Dr Alaric Searle (PhD, Free University of Berlin) Western European, Russian and American military history, international relations, the history of intelligence services

    Dr Thomas Wilkins (PhD, University of Birmingham) – on sabbatical, 2006-2007, Strategic and security studies, international relations theory, alliances and coalition warfare

    In addition, the following members of staff will be available for the supervision of MA dissertations:

    Dr Christine Agius (PhD, University of Manchester) International relations theory, the ‘war on terror’, EU defence and security

    Dr Cristina Chiva (PhD, University of Manchester) The Politics of European integratio

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