Terrorism and Political Violence – Distance Learning (MLitt) 2016 entry

The Distance Learning MLitt in Terrorism and Political Violence is a part-time online course that seeks to develop in students a critical understanding of the concept of terrorism and political violence within the context of a multidisciplinary approach to security studies.

Course type

Postgraduate; leading to a Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) or a Master of Letters (MLitt)

Course duration

Two to four years part time (PGDip); three to five years part time (MLitt)

Entry requirements

Students are required to have at least one of the following qualifications for entry to the programme:

  • A 2.1 Honours degree in political science, international relations, social sciences or other relevant discipline
  • A 2.1 Honours degree in any other discipline; successful applicants from other disciplines will likely receive a conditional offer should they be unable to provide evidence of relevant professional experience and/or prior knowledge.
  • Significant professional or other relevant experience alongside evidence of prior alternative learning such as professional qualifications or certifications.

If you studied your first degree outside the UK, see the international entry requirements. Students will also need English language proficiency; see English language tests and qualifications.

Tuition fees

UK and EU: £1,570 by module and £3,120 MLitt dissertation
Overseas: £3,240 by module and £6,440 MLitt dissertation

Application deadline

Application requirements

  • CV
  • personal statement explaining how this programme will enhance your professional development (1,000 words)
  • sample of previous academic written work or a piece on "Terrorism is a written term" (2,000 words).
  • a note confirming you have read the system requirements
  • two original signed academic or professional references
  • academic transcripts and degree certificates
  • English language requirements certificate.

For more guidance, see supporting documents and references for postgraduate taught programmes.

If you are looking to start this programme in 2017, you can find information about 2017 entry on the 2017 Terrorism and Political Violence - Distance Learning page. Information about all programmes from previous years of entry can be found in our archive.

Course information

Course highlights

  • Study in Terrorism and Political Violence examines selected approaches to knowledge generation around terrorism and counterterrorism and considers the development of new responses to terrorism and political violence.
  • The programme utilises both e-learning technologies as well as traditional teaching methods.

Teaching format

The Distance Learning MLitt in Terrorism and Political Violence is a part-time taught postgraduate programme run by the School of International Relations. The programme is delivered via mixed mode teaching involving online tutorials alongside e-lectures.

Students will take four taught modules for the award of PGDip followed by a year-long research period culminating in the submission of a 15,000-word dissertation for the award of MLitt. Assessment comprises coursework including essays and projects.

Online tutorial support includes regular web conferencing, direct email contact with tutors, podcasts of interviews with area experts and access to course materials, including electronic journals.

Every MLitt student is assigned a dissertation supervisor who will advise on the choice of subject and provide guidance throughout the research process. 

Further particulars regarding curriculum development.


Each module typically comprises:

  • two one-hour tutorials per month plus advertised office hours
  • a minimum of 8 hours coursework per week
  • 100% coursework assessment.

For more details of each module, including weekly contact hours, teaching methods and assessment, please see the latest module catalogue.

Distance learning students are required to take four compulsory modules over two to four years. Students are encouraged to only take one module per year; under certain circumstances, they may be permitted to take two. Each modules is completed between September and May.

  • Fundamental Issues and Structures of Terrorism: introduces the core conceptual issues of Terrorism and Political Violence.
  • Research Methods: presents appropriate research methods to enable students to critically understand the professional literature, and to lay the foundations to enable students to engage in further research.
  • Terrorism: How to Respond?: encourages and facilitates a critical engagement with the complex relationship between counter-terrorism and terrorism, and maintains a prime focus on this relationship from a US and UK perspective.
  • Distance Learning Electives: offers students the opportunity to apply the conceptual and theoretical knowledge gained in other modules to selected areas of application, reflecting when possible the student's own interests and needs.

The modules listed ran in the academic year 2015-2016 and are indicative of this course. There is no guarantee that these modules will run for 2016 entry.

Take a look at the most up-to-date modules in the module catalogue.


The final element of the MLitt is a 15,000 word dissertation. The dissertation should focus on an area of terrorism and political violence in which you are interested. Each student is supported by a relevant supervisor from the School who will advise on the choice of subject and provide guidance throughout the research process. The completed dissertation must be submitted by 8 May.

If students choose not to complete the dissertation requirement for the MLitt, there are exit awards available that allow suitably qualified candidates to receive a Postgraduate Diploma. By choosing an exit award, you will finish your degree at the end of the course of study and receive a PGDip instead of an MLitt.

Conferences and events

The School of International Relations hosts a variety of research seminars throughout the academic session to promote the work of the faculty, students and visiting speakers.

The Centre for Study of Terrorism and Political Violence is dedicated to the study of the causes, dynamics, characteristics and consequences of terrorism and related forms of political violence. Each February, the centre hosts a non-compulsory PGWorkshop in which both full-time and distance-learning students are invited to attend to hear from experts in the field, network and meet one-to-one with lecturers and supervisors.

A number of student-led associations and organisations contribute to development and profile of International Relations throughout the University and the community.



St Andrews graduates who have graduated during the last three years are eligible for a Recent Graduate Discount, which offers a 10% discount on tuition fees.

Find out more about postgraduate scholarships.

After the MLitt

Research degrees

In addition to the MLitt, the School offers a two-year residential Master of Philosophy (MPhil) degree option in International Relations.

Many of our graduates continue their education by enrolling in a PhD programme at St Andrews. 

The Economic and Social Research Council provides PhD studentship funding for UK students which covers university and college fees and contributes towards living costs.

PhD in International Relations


Students who graduate from the MLitt in Terrorism and Political Violence go on to work in various professional fields including law, policy research and consultancy, NGOs, charities, international organisations, civil service and publishing.

The Careers Centre offers one-to-one advice to all students on a taught postgraduate course and offers a programme of events to assist students to build their employability skills. 


School of International Relations
University of St Andrews
Arts Building
The Scores
St Andrews
KY16 9AX

Phone: +44 (0)1334 46 1944
Email: irpgt@st-andrews.ac.uk

International Relations website

Admission to the University of St Andrews is governed by our Admissions policy.

Curriculum development

As a research intensive institution, the University ensures that its teaching references the research interests of its staff, which may change from time to time. As a result, programmes are regularly reviewed with the aim of enhancing students' learning experience. Our approach to course revision is described online. (PDF, 72 KB).

Tuition fees

The University will clarify compulsory fees and charges it requires any student to pay at the time of offer. The offer will also clarify conditions for any variation of fees. The University’s approach to fee setting is described online. (PDF, 84 KB)