Terrorism and Security Management (Distance Learning) MSc

Explore different aspects of terrorism and security management from a holistic perspective on this part-time Master's degree, which you can study over two years by distance learning.

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Explore different aspects of terrorism and security management from a holistic perspective on this part-time Master's degree, which you can study over two years by distance learning.

You'll gain subject specific knowledge, including a theoretical understanding of what leads to acts of terror within national and international contexts. You'll also develop an understanding of the intersection between research and practice and take an evidence-based approach as you delve into terrorism, security management, the global landscape of cybersecurity, and the managing of serious crime investigations.

When you graduate, you'll be equipped to contribute to this important and emerging field of study crucial for global security, ready to enter criminal justice practice anywhere in the world.


This course accepts UK, EU, and International students.

Course highlights

  • Increase your level of specialism in terrorism and security management by exploring these subjects in depth, and choose between optional modules in cybersecurity or serious crime investigation management
  • Be taught by expert academics from our School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, many with previous experience as police officers, crime scene officers, probation officers and intelligence analysts
  • Get involved with our criminology research groups, such as the Cybercrime and Cybersecurity group, the Economic Crime group, and the Centre for Cybercrime and Economic Crime
  • Complete a major project based on your chosen area of research, with the support of qualified and enthusiastic experts in the field

Benefits of distance learning

  • Work from anywhere, at your own pace, in your own time – with interactive online learning materials hosted on our virtual learning environment, Moodle, and available 24/7 on any device – find out how distance learning works
  • Access to over 600,000 ebooks, 55,000 online journals, digital newspapers and a postal loan service from our University Library – see all library support for distance learners
  • Invitations to online forums where you can discuss your studies with other students and your lecturers
  • Access to all student support services via email, phone, online chat or video call

Contact information


+44 (0) 23 9284 5566

Contact Admissions


Each module on this course is worth a certain number of credits.

You need to study modules worth a total of 180 credits. For example, 4 modules worth 30 credits and 1 module worth 60 credits.


Core modules

You’ll critically evaluate risk theories and models underpinning counterterror operations - from pre-emption to conflict resolution.

Analysing case studies spanning ideologies, you’ll assess surveillance, community partnership and online counter-radicalisation initiatives through an ethical lens.

You’ll also appraise state responses balancing rights, costs and outcomes across diverse political contexts.

Drawing on multidisciplinary research, you'll critically assess theories and models to understand why security fails and how to enhance systems.

Evaluating case studies from port security to insider threats, you'll analyse specific risks organisations face. You'll apply security principles to critique and formulate organisational security plans.

By the end of the module, you'll be ready to present your ideas on legal issues, prevention and global security challenges.

You’ll then design and write up a research proposal for a project of your choice.

You’ll start by thinking about any research skills you might need to improve on and develop ways to strengthen your skillset, through core training, chosen focus areas and applied learning.

Then, you’ll work on your own postgraduate research proposal planning out the specific research methods you’ll use and taking ethical issues into account. You’ll include clear objectives and document your literature and data sources.

Core modules

With academic guidance, you'll choose your own literature or empirical topic within a field of criminology that fits the parameters of your intended Master’s exit award.

You'll bring together everything you’ve learned to design and evaluate ethical methodologies, conduct systematic research, and communicate your ideas professionally in your dissertation or report.

Optional modules

You'll analyse UK-based and international models of investigation, framing complex enquiries involving specialist services.

You’ll consider ethical dimensions around objective evidence gathering and managing teams under high pressure scenarios.

Through case studies of miscarriages of justice, you'll also learn how to identify examples of unethical major crime investigation, such as tunnel vision confirmation bias or unreliable evidence.

You'll analyse globalisation, risk and security concepts in cyberspace, assessing diverse organisational and state threats alongside national challenge appraisals.

By weighing up the impact of global governance and developing interdisciplinary risk management perspectives, you'll build informed, questioning awareness of this pivotal area.

Changes to course content

We use the best and most current research and professional practice alongside feedback from our students to make sure course content is relevant to your future career or further studies.

Therefore, course content is revised and regularly reviewed.  This may result in changes being made in order to reflect developments in research, learning from practice and changes in policy at both national and local levels.

Criminal Justice Master's courses

Discover the Master's courses offered by the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice.

Dr Helen Earwaker: Here within the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Portsmouth, we run a diverse range of Master's level provision with content aligned to a host of different areas that link to the pursuit of justice. Students can choose to study on campus or through distance learning. Our distance learning courses enable students to learn as part of a diverse online community, balancing their other commitments with their learning.

Dr Helen Earwaker: On campus, we bring learning to life through interactive workshops, immersive learning and through using simulated environments.

Gary [Podcast]: "Hello, everyone, and welcome back. Today we are looking at the case of Simon Flint, who is reported missing by his wife. A missing persons case has been opened and there is an active investigation into his disappearance. There is some intelligence to suggest that Mr. Flint has been involved in fraudulent activity. Four days later, a body believed to be that of Mr. Flint is discovered in an abandoned warehouse.

So now that we've discussed the case, we're going to look at the different theoretical and practical aspects that spanned the disciplines connected with this case. For example, we're going to consider the economic crime and fraud investigation, forensic science and crime science, the application of victimology and psychology, the potential connectivity with cybercrime, and then we're going to see how all of these fit together within the criminal justice system. This is important because these are all the areas that are considered within our MSc provision."

Dr Helen Earwaker: Our MSc provision connects to the research centres that we have within our school and our students benefit from the world-leading research that goes on within these. Research is at the very heart of our MSc teaching with evidence-based practice a core theme throughout our courses. Our students learn in a multidisciplinary and cross-border environment, benefiting from a wide range of perspectives across criminal justice and beyond.

Dr Helen Earwaker: We work closely with partner organisations across the justice sector, enabling our students to combine theory and practice throughout their studies. An MSc within the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice will equip you to be evidence informed, forward thinking and to go on to challenge the status quo in the pursuit of justice.

Careers and opportunities

Careers this Master's prepares you for

Maintaining international security is an increasingly complex challenge in the face of threats that include terrorism, espionage, cybercrime, hostile activity and sabotage. This Master's in Terrorism and Security Management will prepare you for a career taking positive steps against these threats, across a range of roles spanning the criminal justice arena.

You’ll graduate with knowledge of practice and theory in the fields of terrorism and security, as well as the research and analytical skills needed for private or public sector careers in the UK or abroad.

If you already work in the field of criminal justice, you'll be ready to pursue higher-level roles, or to break into a different area of the discipline. If you're preparing to start your career in criminal justice, you'll gain the knowledge and advanced research problem-solving skills you need to stand out to employers and contribute positively to justice system reform.

You could also go on to a graduate scheme such as PoliceNow or the Civil Service Fast Track Apprenticeship Scheme.

Graduates of this course can go on to roles such as:

  • counterterrorism analyst
  • policing (as an officer or civilian staff)
  • crime, security and intelligence analysis
  • cybersecurity
  • private security
  • data analyst

Graduates of this course can go on to work for organisations such as:

  • the Civil Service
  • national and international Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs)
  • international government agencies and departments
  • probation and prison service
  • the Courts
  • local administration / authorities
  • charities

Career planning

During your course you'll have expert career support from your tutors and from our Careers and Employability Centre, which you can access for 5 years after you graduate.

Female student standing at careers and employability help desk

You'll benefit from:

  • Networking events
  • 1-to-1 appointments  
  • CV and cover letter advice
  • Interview preparation and practice
  • Workshops to enhance your employability skills
  • Recruitment events including the Student and Graduate Opportunities Fair
  • Support starting your own business

Learn more about your career support

How you'll spend your time

We recognise that you'll probably be juggling more demands when you do your Master's degree, as you may be working or you may have family responsibilities.

We'll give you as much indication here as we can of how much time you'll need to spend in online lectures and seminars and how many hours you can expect to spend in self-directed study, but please note that these indications are always subject to change.

Course structure

This Master's degree will take 2 years (part-time study).

You can expect:

  • 6 hours of live online lectures and/or seminars for each module you study, recorded for those who cannot attend. All core material is available online at all times so you can create your own study schedule around work or other commitments.
  • 9 hours of independent study each week.


Master's study is deeper and more specialised than an undergraduate degree. This means you'll focus on something that really matters to you and your career as you work closely with academics committed to the subject.

You'll spend more time in independent study and research than you did for your undergraduate degree.

Teaching methods on this course include:

  • online lectures
  • online seminars
  • online tutorials
  • online group discussions

This Master's in Terrorism and Security Management is delivered by supported distance learning. You will receive high-quality course materials via Moodle, our online learning environment.

You'll learn through interactive workbooks, discussion boards and live online seminars and lectures. All live sessions are recorded so you can access them whenever suits you. 

You'll get to chat with fellow students, discuss and present your work and keep in touch with tutors. You'll get plenty of support throughout your studies, including help on writing and structuring essays, and how to undertake research.

You'll need access to a computer and a web connection. You may be able to access some of the resources through a tablet or smartphone, with limited functionality. You don't need to be especially computer literate, although typing skills are useful.


You'll be assessed through:

  • essays
  • reports
  • oral presentations
  • projects and portfolios
  • seminar participation and engagement
  • dissertation / major report

You'll be able to test your skills and knowledge informally before you do assessments that count towards your final mark.

You can get feedback on practice and formal assessments so you can improve in the future.

Teaching staff

These are some of the expert staff who'll teach you on this course:

Simona Ciobotaru Portrait

Ms Simona Ciobotaru

Senior Lecturer



School of Criminology and Criminal Justice

Faculty of Science and Health

Read more
Mark Button Portrait

Media ready expert

Professor Mark Button

Professor of Criminology


School of Criminology and Criminal Justice

Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

PhD Supervisor

Read more

Term dates

September start

The Master's academic year runs from September to the following September. There are breaks at Christmas and Easter. Over the summer you'll be writing your project/dissertation.

See key dates

Supporting you

Master's study is more focused on independent learning than undergraduate study, but you'll get lots of support via video and phone from teaching and support staff to enhance your learning experience and help you succeed. You can build your personalised network of support from the following people and services:

Types of support

Your personal tutor helps you make the transition to postgraduate study and gives you academic and personal support throughout your Master's.

As well as regular scheduled meetings with your personal tutor, they're also available at set times during the week if you want to chat with them about anything that can't wait until your next meeting.

You'll have help from a team of faculty learning development tutors. They can help you improve and develop your academic skills and support you in any area of your study.

They can help with:

  • Improving your academic writing (for example, essays, reports, dissertations)
  • Delivering presentations (including observing and filming presentations)
  • Understanding and using assignment feedback
  • Managing your time and workload
  • Revision and exam techniques

As well as support from faculty staff and your personal tutor, you can use the University's Academic Skills Unit (ASK).

ASK provides one-to-one support in areas such as:

  • Academic writing
  • Note taking
  • Time management
  • Critical thinking
  • Presentation skills
  • Referencing
  • Working in groups
  • Revision, memory and exam techniques

If you have a disability or need extra support, the Additional Support and Disability Centre (ASDAC) will give you help, support and advice.

Our online Learning Well mini-course will help you plan for managing the challenges of learning and student life, so you can fulfil your potential and have a great student experience.

You can get personal, emotional and mental health support from our Student Wellbeing Service, in person and online. This includes 1–2–1 support as well as courses and workshops that help you better manage stress, anxiety or depression.

If you require extra support because of a disability or additional learning need our specialist team can help you.

They'll help you to

  • discuss and agree on reasonable adjustments
  • liaise with other University services and facilities, such as the library
  • access specialist study skills and strategies tutors, and assistive technology tutors, on a 1-to-1 basis or in groups
  • liaise with external services

Library staff are available in person or by email, phone, or online chat to help you make the most of the University’s library resources. You can also request one-to-one appointments and get support from a librarian who specialises in your subject area.

The library is open 24 hours a day, every day, in term time.

The Maths Café offers advice and assistance with mathematical skills in a friendly, informal environment. You can come to our daily drop-in sessions, develop your maths skills at a workshop or use our online resources.

If English isn't your first language, you can do one of our English language courses to improve your written and spoken English language skills before starting your degree. Once you're here, you can take part in our free In-Sessional English (ISE) programme to improve your English further.

Course costs and funding

Tuition fees (September 2024 start)

  • Part-time: £4,450

Including the Transition Scholarship for EU students.

  • Part-time: £4,450

Part-time: £4,450

University of Portsmouth graduates may receive a 20% alumni tuition fee discount

Fees are subject to annual increase. Read our tuition fees terms and conditions.

You'll be able to pay your fees in instalments. Find out how to pay your tuition fees.

Funding your studies

Explore how to fund your studies, including available scholarships and bursaries.

If you're a UK student, you may be eligible for a Government Postgraduate Master's Loan, which you can use to help with course fees and living costs.

Loans, scholarships and bursaries

Browse funding such as the Government Postgraduate Loan, our scholarships for new and returning students, and subject specific loans.

Female Master's student
Explore funding

Funding for international students

Learn more about sponsorships, scholarships and loans for students applying from outside of the UK.

international business students
Discover your options

Fees and funding for Master's courses

Explore Master's funding options, including loans, scholarships, bursaries and more.

Postgrad students on campus
Explore funding

Additional costs

These course-related costs aren't included in the tuition fees so you'll need to budget for them when you plan your spending. Additional costs could include:

  • Recommended reading: You can borrow key texts from the library and if you choose to purchase these texts they may cost up to £60 each.
  • General costs: such photocopying, memory sticks, printing charges, binding and specialist printing. We suggest budgeting £75 per year.
  • Final project transport or accommodation: where necessary, which relate to your research activities. The amount will depend on the project you choose.

Read more about tuition fees, including what your tuition fees cover.

Entry requirements


This course accepts UK, EU, and International students.

September 2024 start

Qualifications or experience

  • A minimum of a second-class honours degree in a relevant subject (Social Science, Humanities, Law, Psychology, or Management subject). Information Technology or science related subjects will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
  • Applicants with equivalent professional experience in a relevant organisation will also be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Please get in touch if you're not sure if your undergraduate subject is relevant to this degree.

Equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications will also be considered, such as previous study, employment, voluntary work and training courses, including courses and qualifications you didn't complete. Learn more about our Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL).

If you're applying as an international student with a non-UK degree, you’ll need to show you meet the UK entry requirements listed above.

To find out if your non-UK degree or other qualification is accepted, please visit our page for your country and view the UK equivalent of your qualification. 

  • English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.

You do not need an IELTS or equivalent certification if:

  • you have a UK degree
  • you have a degree from a majority English speaking country (not taught by Distance Learning)
  • you are a national of a majority English speaking country

Degrees taught solely in English from non-majority English speaking countries will be considered on a case by case basis. Find out more about our English language requirements.

If you do not meet the English language requirements yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.

How to apply

Unlike undergraduate applications, which go through UCAS, applications for this Master's course are made directly to us. 

There's no deadline for applications to this course. We accept applications right up until the start date in September, as long as there are places available. If you wait until September to apply, you may find that the course is full. 

You can find more advice about applying in our Master's application checklist. Current students and recent graduates of the University of Portsmouth and international students also have some different application options, which are detailed below.

Extra information for international students

If you're an international student, you can apply directly to us using the same application form as UK students.

You could also get an agent to help with your application. Check your country page for details of agents in your region. To find out what to include in your application, head to the how to apply page of our international students section.

If you don’t meet the English language requirements for this course yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.

Ready to apply?

Start this course in September 2024

Apply now (Part-time, 2 years)

I'm a current Portsmouth student, or a recent Portsmouth graduate

If you're currently in your final year of study at Portsmouth, or you graduated since July 2023, you're eligible to make a fast track application. You'll have:

  • a shorter application form to complete
  • access to the 20% Alumni fee discount
  • a guaranteed conditional offer, for most Master's courses 

Learn more about fast track

After you apply

Once we receive your application, we may ask you for further information. We will then either make you an offer or suggest alternatives if your application is unsuccessful.

You'll usually get a decision within 10 working days, so you shouldn't have to wait too long. Some courses have an interview stage – we'll let you know if you need to prepare for one.

Learn more about how we assess your application.

Admissions terms and conditions

When you accept an offer to study at the University of Portsmouth, you also agree to abide by our Student Contract (which includes the University's relevant policies, rules and regulations). You should read and consider these before you apply.