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Intelligence and Security Studies (Distance Learning) MA

Course code


Start date


Subject area

Politics and International Relations

Mode of study

2 years part-time (distance learning)



UK / EU £7,775 (part-time)

International £13,255 (part-time)

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Brunel’s part-time, distance learning course in intelligence and security studies is a solution for busy professionals. Brunel offers the only MA in intelligence to emphasise preparation and higher education for your career in the field. You will study how intelligence works and how to do it, not just what it is, or what it was.

The Distance Learning MA in Intelligence and Security Studies (MAISS) at Brunel University London is a policy-orientated degree, taught to the highest academic standards, which provides a unique opportunity to gain practical experience of the intelligence and global security environment. The programme offers immersive simulations and exercises, certification in industry tools, and practical skills taught by industry experts and research scholars. You will learn about intelligence issues across the private and public sectors through a wide range of modules and have an opportunity to network with others in the industry. Our programme also offers an extensive speaker series, with invited experts from the government and private sector, and access to intelligence seminars in the UK. You will forge important connections with your peers throughout your study and connect with our extensive alumni network.

Practical skills—not just a history degree

Throughout the course, you will learn to use the tools that are sought after by employers, and engage in a series of practical sessions leading up to the Brunel Simulated Intelligence Analysis Exercise (BASE) where you will brief a panel of experts on a real-world subject. You will also be trained in Open-Source Intelligence (OSINT) collection methods, for which you will receive a separate certificate. This is currently provided by Prevail Partners, now proudly sanctioned by the Russian government.

Online Learning – How it works

To accommodate those with busy schedules, the MAISS Distance Learning programme allows you to learn at your own pace with videos and reading schedules from late September through March or April. In your first year, you will take two compulsory modules. In the second year, you will take one compulsory and one optional module (see below). You will also work closely with a supervisor to submit a dissertation that is due in late summer. Assessment deadlines are provided at the start of the year, and module leaders are available for one-to-one personal appointments, and hold regular office hours.

Each year in spring, you will gather at Brunel’s campus for a “residential week” which will include live lectures, groupwork, and live assessments. BASE is normally held during Residential Week so that distance learners and residential students can mingle and learn from each other.

Any questions, email our dedicated team at: 

You can explore our campus and facilities for yourself by taking our virtual tour.

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Course content

Intelligence and Securities Studies MA is structured around a core of compulsory modules and one optional choice, plus a dissertation in a subject of your choice.

This course can be studied 2 years part-time distance learning, starting in September.

Year 1

Please note that all modules are subject to change. Our exciting range of modules are currently under review and may be updated for 2024.

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Careers and your future

Eighty percent of our graduates secure highly-skilled jobs in the private and public sector within 18 months of graduation. Most of our students pursue careers in the private intelligence and security sector or careers in analytical functions for banking, resources and risk industries.  Those already in government employment find the course supports their promotion, commissions or provides new employment opportunities post-retirement. Many of our graduates find employment in successful firms founded by our alumni through our networking opportunities. We also work with industry organisations to provide a range of internship opportunities that students can apply for throughout the course.  

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UK entry requirements

  • A 2:2 (or above) UK Honours degree or equivalent internationally recognised qualification with an understanding of the realities of academic intelligence and security study and the frameworks within which intelligence and security operations work.

Applicants with other qualifications, or with relevant work-related experience, will be considered on an individual basis.

Applicants will be interviewed.

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EU and International entry requirements

English language requirements

  • IELTS: 6.5 (min 6 in all areas)
  • Pearson: 59 (59 in all subscores)
  • BrunELT: 63% (min 58% in all areas)
  • TOEFL: 90 (min 20 in all) 

You can find out more about the qualifications we accept on our English Language Requirements page.

Should you wish to take a pre-sessional English course to improve your English prior to starting your degree course, you must sit the test at an approved SELT provider for the same reason. We offer our own BrunELT English test and have pre-sessional English language courses for students who do not meet requirements or who wish to improve their English. You can find out more information on English courses and test options through our Brunel Language Centre.

Please check our Admissions pages for more information on other factors we use to assess applicants. This information is for guidance only and each application is assessed on a case-by-case basis. Entry requirements are subject to review, and may change.

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Fees and funding

2024/25 entry


£7,775 part-time


£13,255 part-time

More information on any additional course-related costs.

Fees quoted are per year and are subject to an annual increase. 

See our fees and funding page for full details of postgraduate scholarships available to Brunel applicants.

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Teaching and Learning

How the course will be delivered

How you'll learn on your course

Who are the staff?

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Assessment and feedback

Modules assessments are tailored to hone not only to academic skills, but also skills needed for gainful employment in the industry. Assessments include: research essays, oral presentations, written and verbal briefings, and a wargame modelled on a historic crisis scenario.

The capstone assessment of the programme is BASE, Brunel’s annual exercise modelled on the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC). After studying structured analytic techniques, you will be broken into small teams and presented with a question about an emerging real-world problem. Past questions have covered Russia and Ukraine, China and Taiwan, Election Interference, illicit trade, etc. As a team, you will research and analyse the problem for several weeks and present your findings to a guest panel of current and former intelligence professionals, playing the role of the Joint Intelligence Committee. You are assessed on your contribution to the process, the quality of your briefing paper, and your after-action report.

Read our guide on how to avoid plagiarism in your assessments at Brunel.

Read our guide on how to avoid plagiarism in your assessments at Brunel.