MA Strategic Studies
Explore how various means – including military force – can be used to achieve political goals with our MA Strategic Studies programme.
At the University of Reading, you’ll acquire a strong grounding in the strategic studies tradition, as well as the ability to critically question and evaluate it in light of recent developments in warfare.
This programme strikes a balance between a core focus on strategic studies, – including analysis of canonical works such as Carl von Clausewitz’s On War, and their contemporary relevance – and pursuit of your own personal interests.
You will have the opportunity to choose from a range of other graduate-level modules in the Department, for example on security or international relations.
Benefit from a long-standing partnership with the UK’s armed forces
Reading’s Department of Politics and International Relations is internationally renowned for its expertise in strategy, and has a close, long-standing relationship with the UK's armed forces.
Together with Henley Business School, the Department provides the British Army's Higher Education Pathway (AHEP), which offers distance-learning BSc and MSc degrees in Leadership and Strategic Studies to officers while they serve.
Our Visiting Fellows include selected academic faculty from the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, and serving officers and civil servants from the UK armed forces and the broader UK defence and security sector. Regular visiting lecturers and 'witness seminars' are provided through the Ways of War Centre to both students on the MA Strategic Studies programme and officers on AHEP. Recently, they have featured a number of senior UK military officers.
Through our expertise and connections with the armed forces, we aim to provide students with a first-class education to enable them achieve their goals.
Develop key employability skills
If you’re interested in pursuing or advancing a career in the armed forces, defence community or broader civil service – either in the UK or across the world – this programme offers ideal preparation.
You’ll gain skills and knowledge to prepare you for a range of careers. You will:
- achieve an understanding of warfare in its changing forms, both historical and contemporary
- understand and being able to critically evaluate the strategic studies tradition
- be able to put strategic studies into the context of a wider knowledge of politics and international relations
- deepen your skills of critical thinking, textual analysis, oral presentation and research.
Conduct independent research
You will complete the programme by undertaking a 13,000-15,000-word research dissertation, allowing you to deepen your knowledge of strategic studies in a particular area of interest.
Past students have pursued dissertations on topics from major works of strategic theory, to the history of US military interventions, to defence diplomacy, to gender and peacekeeping, to hybrid and cyber warfare.
You dissertation will be supervised by an expert in your area.
Learn more about our experts.
Department of Politics and International Relations at University of Reading
- Recognised for research quality: 97% of our research outputs are rated ‘world leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’, meaning that the University of Reading is 6th highest in the UK for research outputs (Times Higher Education analysis of the latest REF 2021 – Politics and International Studies, when scoring by GPA Output)
- Wide-ranging expertise: Our areas of strength include Applied Political Theory, Comparative Politics, Public Policy Analysis, Conflict, Security, Strategy and International Relations.
- Research-led, relevant teaching: Our academics regularly feature in academic literature and the media, offering their expertise on current issues. Learn more about how we engage in real-world politics.
- Exciting optional modules: Across all of our master's degrees, you’ll have the flexibility to study the subjects you're most passionate about.Wide variety of teaching and assessment methods: Teaching primarily occurs through small discussion-based seminars, supplemented by lectures and other activities. Assessments range from traditional essays and oral presentations to various ‘real-world’ assignments.