Intelligence and Security Studies MA
- Special Features
- Course Content
- Teaching & Assessment
- Entry Criteria
About the Course
Intelligence and security policy issues are now one of the fastest growing areas of academic and public concern, especially since '9/11' and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Today more than ever before national governments, international agencies and most major international corporations have an identified need for staff with a strong grasp of intelligence and security issues who can also demonstrate first-rate skills of research and assessment.
Taught by the internationally respected scholars of the Brunel Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies, backed up where required by practitioner expertise, the MA in Intelligence and Security Studies offers a unique opportunity for practical, policy-oriented graduate study of intelligence issues applicable across the private and public sectors around the world.
This course will be of value to individuals seeking to go into security-oriented careers in both the private sectors, as well as to individuals engaged in the security professions who seek further qualifications and professional enhancement.
A distinctive feature of the course lies in its combining the rigorous study of intelligence and security policy studies with practical opportunities to develop intelligence skills through case studies and simulation exercises dealing with intelligence analysis.
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The Brunel Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies is Britain's first academic centre dedicated to intelligence scholarship and policy-analysis. It includes one of Britain's most innovative scholars in the field, Dr Philip H J Davies, as well as former CIA officer and noted scholar Dr Stephen Marrin.
Dr Kristian Gustafson, an expert on covert action and military intelligence doctrine, is the current director of the programme.
The former senior military imagery analyst, Geoff Oxlee, OBE, joined BCISS as an Honorary Fellow and completes the core team.
Together, these scholars not only produce important original research, published worldwide, but actively contribute to the success of government and business in the UK.
The Centre, though, is an inter-disciplinary endeavour, and includes participation from some of the leading Brunel University academics in the fields of cryptography, computer networking, imagery, economics and even law. Many of these experts already assist our teaching. As well, the centre benefits from the assistance, from time to time, of various officials of Her Majesty’s Government. MA/ISS, therefore, benefits from practitioner input and insight as well as instruction by leading international academics.
The professionally-oriented course is offered on either a full-time basis, taught over two terms and a dissertation during the summer, or part-time basis taught over four terms with the dissertation completed during the summer of the second academic year. The dissertation consists of a directed research project supervised by a member of the Brunel Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies – link to BCISS website http://www.brunel.ac.uk/sss/research/research-centres/bciss
Typical Modules (all core, all 30 credits)
Intelligence Concepts: Issues and Institutions
This module covers the core theoretical concepts in intelligence and principal intelligence production methods and processes in the first term. In the second term it examines how those processes are put into practice through the organisational structure of national intelligence agencies and communities.
Intelligence History: Failure and Success
This modules takes students through the history of the practice of intelligence from “Plato to NATO”, or ancient times to the modern days, linking political, social and technological factors into a greater understanding of the profession. The second term is largely student-led, individual students presenting case studies, improving their own historical understanding while developing their skills at formal presentations in front of critical audiences.
Intelligence Analysis and Decision
Examines the methods, processes, context, existing challenges and recommendations for improvement of intelligence analysis. It also takes a close look at the intersection of intelligence producers and consumers to understand and explain how intelligence analysis is—and is not—used in national security decision-making and what can be done to improve its positive influence on policy.
Contemporary Threats and Analytical Methodology
Student in this course will survey the contemporary threats faced by the UK and other states. With the socio-political changes of “Globalisation” as a point of departure, it seeks to analyse modern organised crime, drug trafficking, terrorism, and insurgency as complex and integrated threats to our security. In the second term of this course students undertake the Brunel Analytical Simulation Exercise (BASE), the jewel in the MA/ISS crown. It provides students with an opportunity to undertake a simulated intelligence analysis on a real-world subject. BASE is designed to emulate the interdepartmental assessment methods of the British Joint Intelligence Committee, and gives students a chance to apply hands-on analytical principles and methods they have learned abstractly in the other MA/ISS taught courses.
Dissertation (60 credits)
All students produce a supervised research dissertation of 15,000 - 20,000 words. Students may pick their own topics subject to approval. Students generally undertake topics which might assist them in their intended field of employment, or as suggested by their home agencies or governments.
All modules are taught on the basis of lectures, seminars and directed reading. Additionally, the second term Case Studies course is a student-led seminar programme in which participants present detailed case studies and are peer reviewed on their presentation skills. The second term Analytical Simulation Exercise will involve students working in groups in a simulated joint, all-source intelligence assessment modelled on the actual joint assessment processes in the US and UK governments. Students are assessed on a mixture of individual and group work.
The MA in Intelligence and Security Studies (MAISS) provides solid transferable skills in analysis and drafting, skills whose applicability cuts across a wide range of public and private pursuits. Our students have had great success in seeking employment once they have completed their course. Many have come from, and then continue to work for, government agencies in the UK and abroad — we have taught police, military, and other government officials from the United States, Canada, Switzerland, Finland, Norway, Belgium, Turkey, Japan, Jordan, the Philippines, Brunei, Thailand, Indonesia, Korea, Botswana and several other nations beside.
Within the UK, students with no service experience have gone on to work for the British Security Service, the Metropolitan Police Counter-Terrorism Centres, the Serious Organised Crime Agency, and other departments of government. Many students have noted to us that the innovative studies they undertook on our programme were important topics of discussion in their interviews. Those already in Government employment have successfully used their MAs to leverage promotion or commissioning.
Students who have sought work in the private sector have likewise had success. Former MAISS students have gone to work for large banks conducting market analysis, to large oil-industry firms, to large consultancies such as McKinsey & Co, to specialist private analysis firms such as Olton. Indeed, Olton have had such success with our graduates that they have offered to fund a prize for the MAISS student who writes the best dissertation, annually.
Overall, MAISS students have had a strong record of success in the years after their degrees.
UK/EU students: £7,000 full-time; £3,500 part-time
International students: £15,000 full-time; £7,500 part-time
Fees quoted are per annum and are subject to an annual increase.
Entry RequirementsYou should normally have a good honours degree (2.1 or above) or an equivalent professional qualification. Applicants with substantial work experience in a relevant area will also be considered, purely on a case by case basis. All applicants to the course will be interviewed (by phone for overseas applicants if required).
English Language Requirements
- IELTS: 6.5 (min 6 in all areas)
- TOEFL Paper test: 580 (TWE 4.5)
- TOEFL Internet test: 92 (R20, L20, S20, W20)
- Pearson: 59 (51 in all subscores)
- BrunELT 65% (min 60% in all areas)
Brunel also offers our own BrunELT English Test and accept a range of other language courses. We also have a range of Pre-sessional English language courses, for students who do not meet these requirements, or who wish to improve their English.