Global Cooperation and Security MSc

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Course details: Details | Modules | Fees and funding | Entry requirements | How to apply.

Specialist Teaching. Professional Training. Practical Experience

We live in an age where there is an urgent need for cooperative responses to address major global security challenges, as well as to transform intractable inter-state and intrastate conflicts. This programme responds to that need by providing students with an advanced interdisciplinary training in the theory and practice of global cooperation and conflict transformation, and includes a unique mix of:

Specialist Teaching

The programme is taught in conjunction with the Department of Political Science and International Studies (POLSIS) and contains three core modules exclusive to the programme, to immerse students in the politics of cooperation and conflict transformation:

The first two modules are taught by leading experts in the field of international security: Professor Nicholas J Wheeler and Professor Mark Webber. The third module involves a number of high profile academics, practitioners and trainers from around the UK.

Professional Training

The third module is a unique five day training programme in Trust, Diplomacy and Conflict Transformation that offers students the chance to gain a practical insight into the field of conflict transformation, including two days of intensive training in conjunction with Responding to Conflict,a professional organisation in conflict resolution.

Practical Work Placements

The ICCS aims to enhance the student experience through dedicated competitive work experience placements with a number of security related organisations including:

The ICCS also runs its own work experience programme where students can actively participate in the Institute's research projects and events.

Course details: Modules | Fees and funding | Entry requirements | How to apply.

This exciting degree is offered exclusively through the Institute for Conflict, Cooperation and Security (ICCS), comprised of a number of leading scholars in the field of security who regularly produce cutting edge, internationally renowned research. The degree is principally taught through three core modules involving an important mix of academic and practitioner input to immerse students in the politics of cooperation and conflict transformation.

Who is the programme for?

Our programme is specifically designed to equip students with the necessary training and tools to work in academic or policy-related contexts in the broad field of international cooperation and conflict transformation.

Students on this programme will be well-placed to take advantage of career opportunities with a range of organisations including government agencies, international organisations, the armed forces, non-governmental organisations, think-tanks, the media, and multinational corporations.

Furthermore we will be enhancing the student experience with dedicated competitive internships which will be geared, where possible, to the research interests of students.

Core modules:

Fear, Cooperation and Trust in World Politics

Fear, Cooperation and Trust in World Politics taught by Professor Nicholas Wheeler introduces students to a range of theoretical approaches drawing on International Relations scholarship and other cognate disciplines, to investigate both the obstacles to, and possibilities for, ameliorating intractable conflicts. These insights are then applied to an analysis of cooperation in multilateral security regimes to assess the potential for meeting today’s urgent global security challenges.

Global Cooperation in Practice

Global Cooperation in Practice examines the practical application of the theories discussed in the first module through the prism of practitioner experience. This new module will be coordinated by Professor Mark Webber and will take the form of a series of guest lectures and breakout sessions delivered by practitioners with extensive experience of global cooperation.

Trust, Diplomacy and Conflict Transformation

Trust, Diplomacy and Conflict Transformation is a unique five day training programme included as a core module for the MSc in Global Cooperation and Security. It provides students with the opportunity to learn about different approaches to the developing field of trust-building in International Relations and to better understand how practitioners wrestle with the dilemmas of trust/mistrust in practical negotiating settings. This programme involves lectures delivered by internationally renowned academics and practitioners who have a wealth of experience of mediation and negotiation in deeply adversarial settings. We also equip participants with core mediation and communication skills through two days of intensive training in conjunction with the Birmingham-based NGO Responding to Conflict, a professional organisation actively engaged in conflict resolution efforts.

Pre-Masters in International Development and Relations

The aim of the two-year full-time pre-Masters programme is to provide an entry route into our MA/MSc courses in International Development and Relations for students who do not have the traditional requirements for direct entry to the programme. Find out more about our Pre-Masters in International Development and Relations.


This degree comprises the following modules:

Compulsory core modules:


  • 60 credits - Dissertation MSc students to submit a 13,500 word dissertation (not applicable to Diploma Students)

60 credits from the following:

For the remaining 60 credits, students will be directed toward specialist pathways derived from existing Masters provision in the International Development Department (IDD) and the Department of Political Science and International Studies (POLSIS). The following pathways will be offered:

Development and Security

International Relations

Political Economy

Social Science Research Training

The optional modules listed on the website for this programme may unfortunately occasionally be subject to change. As you will appreciate key members of staff may leave the University and this necessitates a review of the modules that are offered. Where the module is no longer available we will let you know as soon as we can and help you make other choices.

Fees and funding

Masters degree fees 2016-17
   Full time  Part time
Home/EU students  £6,570  £3,285
Overseas students  £14,850  -

Please check with the Institute for the latest fees information.
Learn more about fees and funding.

Postgraduate Loans for Masters students

The new postgraduate loans system for Masters degrees in the UK will be introduced for students commencing in the 2016-17 academic year. As part of the UK's Chancellor's 2014 Autumn Statement, the government has reconfirmed its commitment to loans for postgraduate Masters degrees as part of the 2015 Spending Review.

The government-backed student loans will provide up to £10,000 for taught and research Masters courses in all subject areas. Detailed criteria and information regarding the application process is expected in early 2016. For more detailed information view our Postgraduate funding page.

Scholarships and studentships
Scholarships may be available. International students can often gain funding through overseas research scholarships, Commonwealth scholarships or their home government.

For further information contact the School directly or visit

Scholarships and bursaries in the Department of Political Science and International Studies (POLSIS).

Entry requirements

For the MSc programme you require a good Honours degree or its equivalent. For those whose first language is not English, an IELTS Certificate is required. Entry at Graduate Diploma level is possible for those with a reasonable first degree. Graduate Diploma students can upgrade to the Msc on satisfactory examination performance.

Learn more about entry requirements.

International students:

Academic requirements

We accept a range of qualifications, our country pages show you what qualifications we accept from your country.

English language requirements

You can satisfy our English language requirements in two ways:

How to apply

When clicking on the Apply Now button you will be directed to an application specifically designed for the programme you wish to apply for where you will create an account with the University application system and submit your application and supporting documents online. Further information regarding how to apply online can be found on the How to apply pages

Apply now

We advocate an enquiry-based approach to learning, which means that we encourage you to become an independent and self-motivated learner. Through the programme of study we offer, we will develop the qualities that employers value in today's university graduates - qualities that will set you apart in your future career.

To help you develop the above-mentioned skills, we adopt a range of teaching methods. They may include:

  • Lectures - listening to experts sharing their knowledge and discoveries in challenging and provocative ways. Students are expected to 'read-around' the subject matter of their lectures, adding to their understanding and developing their critical faculties and analytical skills.
  • Seminars - where you present and discuss your ideas and knowledge in smaller groups and debate interpretations and opinions with other students.
  • Tutorials - are your opportunity to discuss your work with your tutor, usually in small groups.
  • Workshops - are problem solving sessions facilitated by a member of academic staff; these sessions usually involve students working in groups.

Our lecturers and tutors will ensure you have all the resources you need to make the transition from A levels to the more rigorous demands of a degree.

More about teaching and learning at the University of Birmingham.


Departments from across the School of Government and Society are all based within the recently refurbished Muirhead Tower. Following a £50million refurbishment, Muirhead Tower offers state-of-the-art teaching and research study facilities including free wifi throughout the building and dedicated study areas for postgraduate research students.

Muirhead Tower comprises 12,000sq.m of floor space between two towers. The tower includes a number of sustainable features including solar shading (known in the trade as brise soliel) to control temperatures, as well as low energy fans; timed lighting to reduce energy waste; natural ventilation systems and a heat source taken from the University’s combined heat and power generator.

The space has been designed to create modern, attractive spaces for teaching and research accommodating 150 academic offices, 230 "hubs" for post graduate research students, teaching rooms for up to 100 people and a 200 seat lecture theatre.

The ICCS is pleased to announce that for the 2015/16 intake we can offer the possibility of undertaking voluntary work experience with a number of organisations. Placements will be offered on a competitive basis, over the summer term for a maximum 20 days in order to allow sufficient time for the completion of the dissertation.

Alongside these organisations, the ICCS has its own work experience programme that all MSc candidates will have the opportunity to be involved with.

2015/16 opportunities:

European Leadership Network

The European Leadership Network (ELN) was originally formed to help create the conditions for a world without nuclear weapons. Over the last 30 months it has been working on that agenda through its research, events programme and active network of former European political, military, and diplomatic leaders.

The ELN carries out its work by producing and disseminating independent research and analysis, and by providing an independent platform for international dialogue and debate with a strong focus on workable and credible policy solutions. Its activities are currently structured around three areas: Global Security, Euro-Atlantic Security and the Middle East.

British American Security Information Council (BASIC)

BASIC's vision is a world free from the threat of nuclear weapons, established by a cooperative global security agenda and formalized in negotiated treaties. BASIC seeks to engage diverse perspectives and broaden the scope of the discussion to find ways past existing frustrations. The organisation has 27 years of experience building an extensive and diverse network across Europe, the US and the Middle East. BASIC has a reputation for non-partisan, non-judgmental engagement and for seeking common ground, in the interests of nuclear disarmament.

Responding to Conflict (RTC)

RTC is an independent conflict transformation organisation and a registered charity that has worked since 1991 to support people and organisations in transforming violent conflict and building lasting peace. The organisation works in partnership with others to design and coordinate long-term programmes that support local peace building initiatives and provide on-going support to our partners in the midst of conflict. RTC also provides training and skills development and a variety of consultancy services in the fields of conflict assessment, conflict transformation strategies and methodologies, facilitation and mediation, and organisational development.

More information about careers and employability.