Since the end of the Cold War there has been a growing awareness of the changing nature of security threats facing individuals, communities and states worldwide. With intensifying economic, political, cultural and military globalisation, there is now a heightened awareness of terrorism and international crime.
This interdisciplinary course identifies the challenges these threats pose to national and global governance, human rights and ethics, criminality and regionalism. It builds on our established expertise in the fields of politics, international relations, global and human security, peace and reconciliation studies.
Guest speakers and field trips are an integral part of the course, which include visits to the counter-crime, counter terrorism and counter modern slavery organisations*. Previous students have been able to work on placements with the local police forces, as well as non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and international organisations within Europe, including the antimafia organisation AddioPizzo in Sicily, Ethicando in Paris, the UN NGO Women’s Federation for World Peace in Geneva, the Institute of Cultural Diplomacy in Berlin, CISS (International Cooperation South-South) in Italy, and Chatham House in London.
*Please note that field trips may be subject to additional costs, application processes, and availability and/or meeting applicable visa requirements.
Why Coventry University?
An award-winning university, we are committed to providing our students with the best possible experience. We continue to invest in both our facilities and our innovative approach to education. Our students benefit from industry-relevant teaching, and resources and support designed to help them succeed. These range from our modern library and computing facilities to dedicated careers advice and our impressive Students’ Union activities.
Our experienced faculty includes active researchers who also work or consult for governments, international organisations and prominent think tanks.
In the most recent national research assessment, the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), 69% of Coventry University’s research in Politics and International Studies was recognised internationally, of which 32% was considered ‘internationally excellent’.
This course is one of the first in the UK to offer an integrated study of terrorism, organised crime and global security. It will provide you with an informed understanding of key threats that are posed to world politics, how they have evolved and the differing – occasionally controversial – national responses.
Throughout taught sessions, we will draw on case studies and practical illustrations. For instance, during ‘The Ticking Time Bomb Debate’, we consider whether it is justified to use torture on a captured individual, credibly identified as a terrorist leader with knowledge of the whereabouts of a ‘dirty bomb’ capable of killing thousands planted in the centre of London and timed to go off within 24 hours. In another exercise, we undertake a ‘mafia vs antimafia simulation’ on the challenges mafia/organised criminal groups pose to civil society and law enforcement agencies. Previous simulations have included case studies in Mexico, West Africa, the Balkans, Southern Italy and Japan.
Our innovative teaching includes opportunities to enhance your digital skills. For example, during the international security field trip to Sicily (subject to availability, application, additional costs and meeting any applicable visa costs), you will be introduced to a variety of topics analysing both the role of Cosa Nostra and the antimafia experiences in Sicily and state and non-state responses to the trafficking and smuggling of human beings. Then, working in teams, you will have the opportunity to develop an area you are particularly interested in and produce a 10-minute (maximum) information video-podcast on the topic. The podcast must contain at least one of the following, as appropriate to the chosen topic: secondary footage (respecting issues of copyright); primary interviews; and observation (respecting ethical considerations, particularly consent for filming others).
Why choose this course?
The course has been designed to reflect the changing perceptions of international relations in the 21st century. It puts the twin threats of the ‘war on terror’ and transnational organised crime into context with modern societies facing broader challenges, including economic inequality, environmental pollution, disease, natural disasters, state collapse and racial or religious tensions.
Research-informed teaching will be delivered by our many experts on peacekeeping, foreign policy, criminal mafias, security and policing, which includes a current Director of the Royal Institute of International Affairs, a senior security adviser to the British government’s stabilisation unit and the academic responsible for pioneering the study of mafias within UK universities.
Our academic expertise is complemented by the input of international security practitioners. You can benefit from interaction with professionals such as counter-crime and counter-terrorism experts, police officers, judicial prosecutors, diplomats and NGO workers. You will also have opportunities to attend workshops at the foreign affairs think tank Chatham House, travel to Sicily to study the mafia and anti-mafia organisations in situ or study organised crime in Costa Rica. Overseas fieldtrips are optional and subject, a student top-up fee, and meeting any applicable visa requirements.
The interdisciplinary approach of this course provides transferrable skills valued by employers and has helped former students secure a broad range of employment worldwide, as civil servants, diplomats, journalists, military and police offers, NGO leaders and security professionals, for example. It also includes the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) accredited module, Global Professional Development. Students who successfully complete the CMI module will also gain a Level 7 Certificate in Strategic Leadership and Management and a Level 7 Award in Professional Consulting.