Taught course

Strategic Studies

University of Reading · School of Politics, Economics and International Relations

Entry requirements

Normally a good undergraduate honours degree (high 2.2 level or above), or equivalent from a university outside the UK. All of our programmes are appropriate for students from any disciplinary background, although an arts, business, humanities or social science subject is preferred. Relevant work experience may also be taken into account.

Months of entry


Course content

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.

Information for international students

IELTS: 6.5 overall with no element less than 5.5 (or equivalent).

Fees and funding

UK students
£10,500 per year (full-time)
International students
£21,350 per year (full-time)
Tuition fee information

The fees listed are for full-time study, unless otherwise stated. Fee information will be confirmed in offer letters sent out to successful applicants. You can find further information, including information for part-time study, through our dedicated fees and funding page.

EU student fees

With effect from 1 August 2021, new EU students will pay international tuition fees. For exceptions, please read the UK government’s guidance for EU students.

Additional costs

Some courses will require additional payments for field trips and extra resources. You will also need to budget for your accommodation and living costs. See our information on living costs for more details.

Financial support for your studies

You may be eligible for a scholarship or bursary to help pay for your study. Students from the UK may also be eligible for a student loan to help cover these costs. See our fees and funding information for more information on what's available.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • MA
    part time
    24 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
    full time
    12 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

Global Recruitment Team