Research course

Critical Security Studies

Open University · Department of Politics and International Studies

Entry requirements

Minimum 2:1 (or equivalent).

Months of entry


Course content

Security is a key feature of debates in The Department of Politics & International Studies (POLIS) research. From human security to climate change and terrorism – questions of security inevitably involve citizens, be it as resilient, responsible, vigilant, resisting or vulnerable. We have a specific interest in securitisation, particularly as it relates to the Economic and Social Research Council’s (ESRC) strategic priority ‘Security, Conflict and Justice’. Our research aims to integrate critical methods in security studies with theoretical and methodological advances in citizenship, international relations, migration and environmental issues, such as climate change.

The OU Centre for Citizenship, Identities and Governance (CCIG) includes ‘Securities’ as a key programme of research activity. Research also focuses on the transnational diffusion of security governance, security doctrines and the material production of insecurities. In addition, we are interested in applications that link security to questions of governance, environment, development, vulnerability, resilience, risk studies, mobilities, energy politics, justice, accountability and global movements for gender, race and sexual citizenship rights.

Potential supervisors:

Department specialisms

The OU is currently leading on an ESRC-funded project, ‘International Collaboratory on Critical Methods in Security Studies’, that leads the international response to an increasing demand for innovative methodologies to analyse a multifaceted security environment. It focuses on methods like actor-networks, study of sociological fields, ethnomethodological approaches, visual analysis and discourse analysis that allow mapping connections across various security areas. The core training uses and develops the project’s internationally unique Virtual Research and Learning Environment designed to facilitate collaborative work by doctoral students and early career scholars in security studies to enable the novel delivery of both face-to-face and distance learning teaching.

Fees and funding

For detailed information on current fees visit: Fees and funding.

Qualification and course duration


full time
48 months
part time
72 months


full time
15 months
part time
24 months

Course contact details

Postgraduate Coordinator
+44 (0)1908 654534/654435