Taught course

Geopolitics and Grand Strategy

University of Sussex · School of Law, Politics and Sociology

Entry requirements

A first- or upper second-class undergraduate honours degree (or equivalent), preferably in a humanities or social sciences subject. Relevant degrees include political science, economics, geography, history, law, philosophy, sociology, and area studies. A degree in the social sciences or humanities does not constitute a strict requirement and applicants with degrees in other disciplines will be given due consideration. Relevant work and voluntary experience will also be considered, particularly in cases where candidates fall short of the academic requirement

Months of entry


Course content

At the outset of the 21st century the world is undergoing a significant process of strategic and geopolitical redefinition. Several major powers have been developing comprehensive doctrines aligning a range of national economic, political and social policies with their wider strategic objectives in the 21st century: grand strategies. This MA investigates the geopolitical relationships and strategies of the major states within the international system. It focuses on:

  • the historical evolution and current revival of the concept of geopolitics, including global economic rivalries, energy security, competition over resources, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, the war on terrorism, and democracy promotion
  • the grand strategies developed by the major powers including the foreign and security policy of the US, the debate over American grand strategy, the re-emergence of Russia and its foreign/security policy, and the rise of China with its grand strategy
  • the key regional dynamics of contemporary geopolitics including the international security of the Middle East, NATO and the future of transatlantic security, European security, international security in south and east Asia, and geopolitical rivalries in Africa.

This MA draws on Sussex’s established reputation for excellence in research and teaching in international security, international relations, global political economy, and area studies. Sussex’s interdisciplinary perspective on questions of world politics provides a distinctive take on the new global geopolitics and grand strategic doctrines.

This course offers an optional field trip to Brussels, Belgium or Geneva, Switzerland.


Geopolitics and Grand Strategy is assessed by a 5,000-word term paper. New Security Challenges is assessed by an unseen paper. Assessment of the spring-term options is by 5,000-word term papers. You also write a 10,000-word dissertation.

Research placements

A research placement allows you to gain experience in an area of work relating to your subject of study and to acquire practical skills in preparation for a professional career. Research placements run over a 12-week period in the summer term and vacation. If you take a research placement, you have the opportunity to write a dissertation based on your experience.

Course Structure

We continue to develop and update our modules for 2017 entry to ensure you have the best student experience. In addition to the course structure below, you may find it helpful to refer to the Modules list. Modules are subject to change.

Autumn term: Geopolitics and Grand Strategy • New Security Challenges.

Spring term: you choose two from East Asia in the International System • Foreign Policy Analysis • Governing Global Capitalism • Human Rights in International Relations • Irregular Warfare • Peace Processes and Post-Conflict Reconstruction • Queer International Relations • Reading Foucault in IR • Religions, Cultures and Civilisations in International Relations • Rethinking Imperialism • Russian Foreign and Security Policy • Science, Technology and War • Terror, Security and the State • The Global Politics of Disease and Biosecurity • The Middle East in Global Order • The Political Economy of Development • The Political Economy of Global Finance • The Political Economy of the Environment.). You also take a Research Methods and Professional Skills module, which provides training to prepare you for further research and a professional career. This module is delivered as a series of workshops, including one that prepares you for your dissertation.

Summer term: you carry out work on your MA dissertation under the supervision of a member of faculty. There is also a dissertation with placement option.

Information for international students

Please visit: International qualifications for Masters courses or Fees and Scholarships.

Fees and funding

UK students
Please see our website
International students
Please see our website

Please visit our website for latest fees information: http://www.sussex.ac.uk/study/masters/2017/global-studies/geopolitics-and-grand-strategy-ma

The University of Sussex aims to attract the most talented students to postgraduate study. For full details of our scholarships please visit: Masters Scholarships

Qualification and course duration


full time
12 months
part time
24 months

Course contact details

Student Recruitment Services
+44 (0)1273 877686