Global Security Challenges

The details
Sociology and Criminology
Colchester Campus
Postgraduate: Level 7
Monday 13 January 2025
Friday 21 March 2025
07 February 2024


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.

This module 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 on the challenges posed by the Internet, cyberspace, and the advent of surveillance and mass online data gathering.

Module aims

The aims of this module are:

  • To familiarise and engage students critically with complex issues of contemporary and enduring importance.

  • 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 this module, students will be expected to be able to:

  1. Show a sophisticated understanding of the contemporary debates in global security.

  2. Distinguish and appreciate different aspects of the debates around security, including, conceptual, epistemological, and normative discussions.

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

  4. Assess the distinctive contributions as well as the intersections of different fields in researching global security challenges.

  5. Demonstrate a good understanding of some key topics in contemporary security, including migration, health, and cybersecurity.

  6. 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

  • What is security?

  • Securitization: making something a matter of security.

  • Security and human rights.

  • Human security.

  • Reading week

  • Global migration

  • Militarization and pandemics.

  • Cybersecurity and cybercrime.

  • The Dark Net.

  • Privacy, security and surveillance.

Learning and teaching methods

This module will be delivered via:

  • One 2-hour seminar each week.

Attendance in person is expected.


This module does not appear to have a published bibliography for this year.

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

Assessment details can be found on Moodle.

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).


Further information
Sociology and Criminology

* Please note: due to differing publication schedules, items marked with an asterisk (*) base their information upon the previous academic year.

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