Security studies already have several decades of history behind them, in the course of which their shape and area of concern have changed markedly. Throughout the Cold War, it was a field closely wedded to war studies and military science, and it concentrated on questions dealing with nuclear weapons, disarmament, and potential confrontations between the superpowers. After the end of the Cold War, security studies underwent a significant transformation, which, along with the ever-widening understanding of the notions of security, began to move beyond military questions to include themes such as the environment, human security, ethnic conflicts, and the debate about natural resources and energy. The current shape of the field is the result of this dynamic process.
Master in International Security Studies (MISS) is a two-year English-language Master's degree programme, which offers students a complex guide through security, conflict and strategic studies in the context of international relations. It is taught by members of the Institute of Political Studies (IPS). Moreover, dual degrees are being offered in cooperation with University of Konstanz (Germany) and newly also with University of Glasgow (United Kingdom).
The programme reflects the multidisciplinary dimension of contemporary security studies but is firmly rooted in the international political aspects of the field. In the programme's core module, students will be acquainted with traditional and critical concepts of security, theories of international relations and standard quantitative and qualitative methodologies. They will then take five thematic core courses in strategic studies, regional security studies, security and technology, European and transatlantic security and conflict studies. From each thematic pool, they will also be able to take additional elective courses to deepen their knowledge and skills in chosen areas of interest.
MISS graduates will have learned to analyse security problems in their specificity and complexity on the basis of general concepts of security studies, conflict studies, strategic studies and international relations. They will be able to place them in the proper political, social and historical context; to judge their relevance; to identify key actors and evaluate their motivations; and to propose practically oriented solutions to these problems. They will be able to apply their knowledge on specific regionally- or functionally-defined cases with the emphasis on European and Euroatlantic contexts. They will therefore have undergone the necessary training for employment in the public sector, private sector and in the academia.
Programme Duration: 2 years
Language of Instruction: English
Director of Studies: doc. PhDr. Běla Plechanovová, CSc. ( )
Programme Coordinator: PhDr. Vít Střítecký, M.Phil., Ph.D. ( )
MISS promotes a progressive approach to teaching which, among other things, includes reducing class sizes and an emphasis on seminars. The instructors aim to conduct their classes through presentations, discussions or simulations incorporating students, rather than through a one-sided delivery of facts which can be acquired by other means. This logically requires thorough preparation on the part of the student outside the class through extensive reading of the course texts. The main goal of this is to streamline the teaching process through actively involving the students in class and making it possible for them to present their opinions on and understandings of the material.
MISS curriculum is formed by a core module and five thematic modules: Strategic Studies, Regional Security Studies, Security and Technology, European and Transatlantic Security and Conflict Studies. The students will pass four core courses in traditional and critical concepts of security, theories of international relations, and quantitative and qualitative methodology, as well as all five thematic courses in each module.
From the modules, they will be able to choose additional elective courses based on their interest. The choice of elective courses spans war studies, arms control, security in diverse regions, grand strategies, intelligence, cyber security, space security, sociology of security, human security, (counter)terrorism, peacekeeeping or ethics and violence. In their choice of elective courses, students may moreover benefit from the broad interdisciplinary pool of courses offered by the rest of the Faculty of Social Sciences.
The final component of the studies is the writing of the diploma thesis which is thoroughly consulted with a selected supervisor and subsequently defended as part of the final state exam. Apart from the defence of the thesis, the exam consists of three parts which will test the graduate’s knowledge in the theory of security; regional security; and conflict and strategic studies and security and technology.
MISS is currently offered in two double degree combinations in partnership with University of Konstanz and University of Glasgow. Having been first admitted to MISS, students may apply for the former option at the end of the first semester, i.e. in February 2017. The application will be considered in the joint procedure with the University of Konstanz on the basis of the study record. If accepted, they they will spend their second year of studies at the University of Konstanz, will write a diploma thesis supervised jointly by professors from Charles and Konstanz and receive diploma from both universities. For more information and admission procedure for the joint double degree MISS / MSc. International Security, Intelligence and Security Studies (SECINTEL) administered by the University of Glasgow see here.
Deadline for applications: 30 April 2016
Minimum requirements. Like other Master's degree programmes at the Faculty of Social Sciences, the Master in International Security Studies is open only to students who have already completed (or are about to complete) a Bachelor's degree. It is not necessary for students to have obtained their Bachelor's degree from Charles University, or any university in the Czech Republic. However, students who have earned their Bachelor's degree abroad should note that, under current rules on the recognition of foreign diplomas, it will be necessary for them to obtain an official document stating that their Bachelor's degree is recognised in the Czech Republic (so-called "nostrifikace"). These rules are currently under revision aiming at simplifying the procedures.
English-language ability. It is assumed that applicants will have a sufficient knowledge of English to attend classes and write papers in English. Applicants who are not native speakers may be asked to demonstrate their ability to study in English, e.g. by presenting the results of any language tests they have taken. Although we welcome TOEFL and IELTS, particular scores in those tests are not prerequisites for entry of the course. A real ability to study in English is more important.
Choice of classes. The choice of classes available to students will be governed by the general outline of their programme of study.
Tuition fees.Tuition fees for the Master in International Security Studies programme in 2016/17 are set at 3,000 Euro per semester, payable at the start of each semester. Please note that these fees cover only the cost of instruction and examinations, and that students are responsible for paying their own living expenses (food, lodging, etc.). Although we have no immediate plans to increase our fees, we reserve the right to do so should circumstances warrant it. Students will be given advance notice of any changes. Students following the double-degree option track will pay reduced tuition fee while in Konstanz.
Housing. Housing at Charles University dormitories can be arranged on request, but at extra cost. Students who prefer to live in private accommodation are free to do so, but the Faculty of Social Sciences cannot arrange this. We can, however, provide a list of housing agencies in Prague to help students make their arrangements.
Scholarships for students from developing and transition countries. Thanks to a generous contribution from the Czech Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, the Faculty of Social Sciences is able to offer a limited number of partial scholarships for students of the English-taught programmes. The scholarships are earmarked for students from developing countries and/or countries going through a process of political and economic transition. For further information please contact the International Office. Other options may include support provided by the International Visegrad Fund or Open Society Foundation.
Access for visiting students. Students who have received a government scholarship under the terms of one of the Czech Republic's international cultural agreements, and visiting students who are attending Charles University under the terms of SOCRATES, CEEPUS or a bilateral university exchange agreement are welcome to attend individual classes from this programme. However, they cannot enroll as degree students without paying the course fees.
Students attending a fee-paying programme at another faculty or another university in Prague who wish to take additional classes at the Faculty of Social Sciences may arrange to do so. However, they will be charged a fee for the classes they take. Pro rata fees for individual classes are available upon request.
Visa and residence permit. Fortunately, student visas are now a thing of the past for EU and EFTA nationals. If you are citizen of an EU or an EFTA country you do not need to apply for a visa. It is enough if you apply for a Residence Permit within thirty days of your arrival in the Czech Republic at the local branch of the Czech Immigration Police. Students from non-EU or non-EFTA countries who wish to stay in the Czech Republic for more than ninety days will need a student visa, however. This includes students from EU candidate countries. In some cases it may also include foreign nationals who are currently residents in another EU country.