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Programme: MA Security Studies (Coursework)

Code Faculty Department
01250408 Faculty of Humanities Department: Political Sciences
Credits Duration NQF level
Minimum duration of study: 2 years Total credits: 180 NQF level:  09

Admission requirements

  1. Honours degree in Political Sciences or relevant honours degree
  2. Sufficient relevant work experience in the security field
  3. A cumulative weighted average of at least 65% for the honours degree
  4. An admissions essay may be required
  5. An entrance examination may be required

Note: Additional work/modules may be required in order to reach the desired level of competency

Additional requirements

  • Prospective students may be required to submit an admissions essay or to sit for an examination or to do additional work/modules to enable them to reach the desired level of study.
  • An acceptable level of proficiency in English is required.

Other programme-specific information

  • At least two modules must be taken during the first year of study. 
  • Students may, with the approval of the programme manager, replace at the most one module with another suitable module with equal credits from another discipline. 
  • This program is not presented telematically or via distance education. 

Minimum credits: 120

Core modules

  • Module content:

    The module aims to develop an advanced understanding of the key academic and policy debates regarding international mediation; to explore both the theory and the practice of mediation; and to develop strategising skills for peacemaking. The focus is on mediation undertaken by the United Nations, the African Union and sub-regional bodies in major conflicts in Africa.

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  • Module content:

    This study of national security focuses on decisions, activities and institutions related to national security and national security policy. These underpin the strategic choices made at international, regional and national levels in response to security challenges, be they by individual countries or in the multilateral context of regional or global security cooperation.  competing theoretical approaches to national security are also explored and assessed, as well as the policy and strategic contexts that influence the decisions, institutions and processes of national security policy-making and security sector governance.

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  • Module content:

    A critical analysis of the development of security theory and competing perspectives of security, in response to changing power configurations and security threats in the contemporary international system.  This includes alternative frameworks for security cooperation at a regional and global level. Against this background, the evolution of strategic thought, the nature and role of principles of strategy and the concept of strategic doctrine are analysed. The contemporary application of the principles of strategy is discussed, and post-cold war thinking on strategy, security and war is addressed including the use of non-military coercion such as economic sanctions.

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  • Module content:

    By using appropriate methodological approaches and research methods, selected aspects of related modules in security studies are applied to specific security and strategic case studies and issues of importance. In addition to the emphasis on methodological aspects and selected research methods, attention is also paid to the development, structure and writing of research reports in the field of security studies. This module has an approved research proposal on a security or strategic theme for the mini-dissertation that also complies with ethical guidelines, as an outcome.

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  • Module content:

    National security is closely related to threat perception, and threat analysis is in turn largely dependent on sound strategic intelligence.  Attention is given to contemporary theory and practice as far as strategic intelligence is concerned; questions of policy on, agencies for an control over the intelligence process; and the current processes, focus, value and utilisation of strategic intelligence in a changing world.  Strategic forecasting (with the inclusion of risk analysis and scenario construction) is linked to threat perception and national security to the extent that it forms an important part of planning for the future - hence the study of the nature, methodology and use of forecasting in the security environment.

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Minimum credits: 60

Core modules


The information published here is subject to change and may be amended after the publication of this information. The General Regulations (G Regulations) apply to all faculties of the University of Pretoria. It is expected of students to familiarise themselves well with these regulations as well as with the information contained in the General Rules section. Ignorance concerning these regulations and rules will not be accepted as an excuse for any transgression.

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