Global Security Challenges

The details
Sociology and Criminology
Colchester Campus
Postgraduate: Level 7
Monday 15 January 2024
Friday 22 March 2024
26 May 2023


Requisites for this module



Key module for

MSC MF9012 Organised Crime, Terrorism and Security

Module description

What is security? Why should we pursue it? At what cost and for whom? How do phenomena get elevated to a matter of 'security', who decides, and what are the consequences? How do states and other agencies deal with contemporary security challenges, including migration, pandemics, cybersecurity and cybercrime? And how do we sacrifice our privacy online in the name of security?

This interdisciplinary module will critically assess current research, policies and practices in global security and explore the contributions made to our understanding of security by social sciences, law and philosophy.

The course is organised around key questions in contemporary thinking and debate about security, considering theoretical and conceptual debates in the context of real-world phenomena and events. The first part of the course focuses on getting students to grips with fundamental questions and developments in security studies. We then move on to consider dilemmas of securitisation in the context of global migration and pandemics. The final weeks of the course focus in on the challenges posed by the Internet, cyberspace, and the advent of surveillance and mass online data gathering.

Module aims

The module aims to familiarise and engage students critically with complex issues of contemporary and enduring importance. The module is an opportunity to open up new thinking and to expand career opportunities within government, policy analysis, non-governmental institutions and the security sector, both nationally and internationally.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of the course, students should:

a) Be able to show a sophisticated understanding of the contemporary debates in global security.

b) Be able to distinguish and appreciate different aspects of the debates around security, including, conceptual, epistemological, and normative discussions.

c) Have developed a critical awareness of the broad social, legal, conceptual and political aspects of global security.

d) Be able to assess the distinctive contributions as well as the intersections of different fields in researching global security challenges.

e) Be able to demonstrate a good understanding of some key topics in contemporary security, including migration, health, and cybersecurity.

f) Be able to make sound judgements in the complexity of data related to global security challenges and communicate these ideas clearly.

Module information

Module topic list

Spring Term

Week Session
16 What is security?
17 Securitization: making something a matter of security
18 Security and human rights
19 Human security
20 Reading week
21 Global migration
22 Militarization and pandemics
23 Cybersecurity and cybercrime
24 The Dark Net
25 Privacy, security and surveillance

Learning and teaching methods

Most modules at postgraduate level in Sociology are taught as a 2hr seminar. Most classes, labs and seminars will be taught face-to-face (assuming social distancing allows this). There may also be some online activities – either timetabled as a live online session or available on Moodle in the form of pre-recorded videos. You will be expected to watch this material and engage with any suggested activities before your seminar/class each week. Please note that you should be spending up to ten hours per week undertaking your own private study (reading, preparing for classes or assignments, etc.) on each of your modules (e.g., 30 hours in total for three 20--credit modules). This module SC561 will include a range of activities to help you and your teachers to check your understanding and progress. These are: a policy brief, literature review and term essay. You are strongly encouraged to attend the classes/seminars as they provide an opportunity to talk with your class teacher and other students. The classes/seminars will be captured and available via Listen Again. However, if you want to gain the most you can from these seminars/classes it is very important that you attend and engage. Please note that the recording of seminars/classes is at the discretion of the teacher.


The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course.
The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students.
Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting
Coursework   Policy Brief (1,000 words)    30% 
Coursework   Term Essay (4,000 words)    70% 

Additional coursework information

1 x 5,000 word essay

Exam format definitions

  • Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
  • In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary, for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.

Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Prof Peter Fussey, email:
Dr Carlos Solar, email:
Dr Carlos Solar, Prof Pete Fussey



External examiner

Prof Benjamin Bradford
University College London
Available via Moodle
Of 18 hours, 18 (100%) hours available to students:
0 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s), module, or event type.


Further information
Sociology and Criminology

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