Security Sector Management MSc/PgCert/PgDip


Security Sector Management

The objectives of this programme are for participants to be able to develop and implement strategic security sector plans and analyse, communicate and evaluate the broader implications for related areas within state and regional frameworks.

Cranfield University believes that our academic provision should remain current and relevant and to achieve this we periodically review and update our courses. The MSc Security Sector Management course is currently undergoing such a review and this may mean some changes are made before the next academic year. Applicants will be kept informed of these exciting new developments before an offer of admission to the course is made.

Course overview

By the end of the MSc, students should be able to:

  • Display knowledge of the players, processes and structures across a state’s wider security sector
  • Understand the skill sets required to implement and manage the effective governance of national security policy and resources
  • Fully comprehend the way in which national security requirements and development priorities are managed in a mutually supportive way
  • Develop transferable skills in areas such as strategic management, project, and leadership challenges
  • Critically analyse and evaluate strategic national security policy, donor policy and the development agenda
  • Produce workable sector strategies, programme plans, change management schemes and performance assessment criteria
  • Implement national security plans within identified constraints
  • Plan, manage, monitor and evaluate projects and programmes in the security and development sector

Programme options:

  • Postgraduate certificate: Requires the completion of Module 1 and 2, plus 4 other modules
  • Postgraduate diploma: Requires the completion of all modules
  • Masters of Science: Requires the completion of all modules as well as a 20,000-word research dissertation.

This course is offered as an executive part-time residential course and it is also the intention to launch a blended learning variant of this course in September 2016, combining residential sessions at either end of the taught phase of the Course with distance learning for the remaining 8 modules. The awards of MSc, PgDip and PgCert would all apply to the blended learning option.

Individual Project

A 20,000 word researched based dissertation will take the student approximately 6 months to complete.  The dissertation phase of the MSc programme provides an excellent opportunity to further explore cutting edge issues in the broader security sector debate, and the way in which these issues impact on both theory and practice.



  • Issues in International Security, Conflict and Development
    Module LeaderDr Thomas O'Brien - Lec Pol Science, Int Dev And Pub Policy
    • Defining security
    • International relations theory
    • Global, national and human security trends
    • Assessing the risks to security
    • The concept of state-building and state formation
    • Challenges of state-building in the 'non-Weberian' state, and the need for local political legitimacy
    • Post-conflict security and international interventions
    • The impact of the securitisation of the human security agenda
    • Geopolitical trends and implications for state security sectors and sub-regional efforts to promote peace and security
    • The relationship between security and development
    • Macro-government security policy and implementation frameworks
    • Key actors, roles and responsibilities across the international, regional and subregional security communities.
    Intended learning outcomes

    On successful completion of the module students will be able to:

    • Apply relevant theories to the analysis of security, conflict and development
    • Critically analyse trends with the human security domain
    • Identify threats to security
    • Appraise the role of state and non-state security actors within difference transitional societies
    • Recognise the contribution of both political and management science to the analysis of international security
    • Critically analyse the role played by international, regional and sub-regional security organisations
    • Demonstrate how international security management issues go beyond national boundaries and impact regional and sub-regional structures
    • Critically evaluate a country's overall security sector and assess the challenges it poses to the wider development agenda
    • Communicate effectively to a specialised and non-specialised audience the concepts and findings associated with international security.
  • Building State Capacity
    • Definitions, Theories and Concepts of state building and state formation including legitimacy and accountability
    • The potential contribution and relevance of the development community to capacity building theories and approaches: people-centred development, sustainability. local ownership, participatory approaches, power, empowerment
    • Dilemmas and contradictions in capacity building
    • Typologies of capacity building: institutional, civil society, political, advocacy
    • Stabilisation as the ‘new state building’
    • Tools for Knowledge and skills transfer: Capacities and vulnerabilities analysis, Participatory self assessment, gap analysis
    • Case Study of OSCE Capacity-Building in Police Reform in Kosovo
    • Case Study of support to the Office of the National Security Council in Afghanistan
    • The module will provide a ‘chapeau’ for, and link into, the Modules on Project and Programme Management and Managing and Measuring Security Sector Resources, to support capacity strengthening, development and building
    • An understanding of the theories of legitimacy and constitutional engineering pertaining to institutional capacity building.
    Intended learning outcomes

    On successful completion of the module the student will be able to:

    • Describe the main theoretical underpinnings and the relevant supporting international policy frameworks
    • Demonstrate an understanding of, and appreciate the approaches and sensitivities to capacity building
    • Understand the main literature regarding legitimacy and its relationship with governance
    • Critically analyse the theory and practice of capacity building
    • Based on real life case studies, trial the normative frameworks and methodologies for building state capacity.
  • Change Management and Leadership

    The module will comprise a combination of plenary lectures, case studies, practical exercises and, where possible, visiting speakers. The overarching approach to learning will have a strong practitioner element and key curriculum topics will include:

    • Security sector relationship between Leadership, Management, and Command and the link to the business space through the New Public Management (NPM) movement
    • Theories of leadership – including the fields of sociology, behavioural psychology, and military history. Leadership failure and toxic leadership and its impact in the security sector will be examined
    • Theories and models for leading and managing change including resistance to change and the sustainability of change
    • The role of culture in leadership and change
    • Role of innovation in the security sector.
    Intended learning outcomes

    On successful completion of the module the student will be able to:

    • Recognise the impact of New Public Management in the Security Sector
    • Distinguish between leadership theories and evaluate their relevance to the business space in the security sector
    • Distinguish between change theories and evaluate their relevance to the business space in the security sector
    • Recognise the difference between Command, Leadership, and Management
    • Identify the key models used in planned organisational change and critically evaluate their relevance and risk
    • Identify the role of culture in leadership and change
    • Identify the potential role of innovation in the Security Sector.
  • Governance and Oversight
    • Rationale for sound approaches and mechanisms supporting oversight in transitional societies
    • Relationship between transparency, accountability and good governance
    • What is meant by accountability and the degree to which it is achievable
    • The relationship between transparency and accountability in facilitating oversight
    • Legislative processes necessary for democratic governance and oversight of the security sector
    • The role of civil society in strengthening accountability and oversight
    • Corruption and anti-corruption mechanisms.
    Intended learning outcomes

    On successful completion of the module students will be able to:

    • Understand the importance of accountability, transparency and oversight in managing national security
    • Describe a range of different oversight measures that can be implemented in order to strengthen security sector accountability and transparency
    • Understand the role of Parliament in providing security sector oversight
    • Recommend ways in which civil society may be used in the management of national security
    • Understand the roots of corruption and ways in which corruption impacts on democratic management of the security sector.
  • Managing Intelligence Reform
    SyllabusThe module will explore the intelligence function and the main dimensions of managing intelligence reform. It is divided into three sections. The first focuses on the nature and purpose of intelligence, covering the intelligence cycle and the intelligence mandate. The second covers the art and science of intelligence analysis and prediction. The third examines the external and internal components of governance and oversight, including the role of parliament, executive control and responsibility, and the institutional culture of the intelligence services.
    Intended learning outcomes

    On successful completion of the module students will be able to:


    • Conduct a strategic analysis of conflict
    • Distinguish between the causes and symptoms of conflict
    • Apply a critical approach to the need for secrecy in the intelligence community.


    • Analyse the different phases of the intelligence cycle
    • Understand the significance and implications of the intelligence mandate
    • Identify the major goals of, and obstacles to, intelligence reform
    • Appreciate executive and parliamentary roles and challenges regarding intelligence reform
    • Understand the tension between intelligence accountability and effectiveness
    • Discern the risks to democracy of intrusive methods of intelligence investigation
    • Appreciate the distinction between rules and norms in shaping the conduct of the intelligence services.
  • Managing Public Security and Rule of Law
    • Introduction: different definitions, development and problems of the concept, relationship between law and power
    • National factors – constitution, laws, courts, public opinion, custom and practice, traditional mechanisms. Inadequacy of formal mechanisms
    • International factors, conventions, treaties, norms and standards, laws of armed conflict and human rights agreements. Influence and associated difficulties
    • RoL and the provision of security. Problems and difficulties, different traditions
    • The security sector and justice, military law, courts martial and civil courts, military and police use of force and the criminal law
    • RoL at the international level. Does it exist? How does the international system really work? Is international law really law?
    • International criminal justice, ad hoc tribunals, ICC transitional justice/TRCs etc. Supposed benefits vs. actual problems
    • Security sector management and the RoL.
    Intended learning outcomes

    On successful completion of the module the student will be able to:

    • Understand and critically discuss different concepts of the Rule of Law, their limitations and their political uses
    • Understand the use of law as an instrument of power and social management and control
    • Critically discuss competing ideas of the relationship between the individual and the state, especially in security questions, and the implications for the RoL
    • Understand the domestic and international influences on the RoL and of how these do – or don’t – operate in practice
    • Understand and critically discuss the question of the existence or otherwise of the RoL at the international level
    • Understand the history and the main provisions of international humanitarian law and the political and practical differences in implementing it
    • Understand the practical problems which arise in managing the security sector in a law-based state
    • Understand the need to supplement formal RoL mechanisms with informal social structures and processes.
  • Managing Risk
    • Basic concepts, definitions and tools of risk management
    • Conducting a political or strategic risk analysis
    • Cultural and psychological factors affecting risk perception
    • Case studies in risk communication
    • Constituents of security
    • Risk and the use of conditionalities
    • Key responsibilities, legislation and regulation
    • Protection, deterrence, detection and investigation
    • Understanding organisational aims and strategies.
    Intended learning outcomes

    On successful completion of the module students will be able to:

    • Distinguish risks and differentiate hazard and uncertainty
    • Understand risk as an evolving and contested concept
    • Recall and use basic risk management tools
    • Appreciate risk as an opportunity as well as a threat
    • Identify psychological, cultural and social factors shaping risk
    • Develop effective risk communication strategies
    • Contextualise security in a broader framework
    • Articulate the key drivers of security risk management
    • Identify, prioritise and evaluate security risks
    • Operationalise security risk management procedures
    • Appreciate the role of technology in security management
    • Communicate the security function in business terms.
  • Managing Security Sector Projects and Programmes

    The module will comprise a combination of plenary lectures and discussions, case studies and practical exercises. The overarching approach to learning will be problem based and experiential. Key curriculum topics will include:

    • Strategy and the Project Life Cycle
    • Business Case
    • Scope Management and Scheduling
    • Budget and Cash Flow
    • Estimating
    • Risk Management
    • Organisation Structures & Roles
    • Soft Skills (inc. teamwork, communication and leadership)
    • Multi-cultural management
    • Programme Management
    • Introduction to portfolio management.
    Intended learning outcomes

    Knowledge & Understanding:

    • Understand the basic theoretical concepts that underpin effective project management and its links to programme management
    • Describe published Bodies of Knowledge and distinguish between BoKs (APM, PMI) and a method (PRINCE2, MSP)
    • Explain the lifecycle approach, its principles, application and benefits
    • Understand the relationship between business strategies, portfolios, programmes and projects. 

    Skills and Other Attributes:

    • Critique project management tools and techniques, and be aware of their intelligent application and limitations
    • Assess appropriate use of a range of ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ skills to a variety of project scenarios
    • Recognise what is meant by appropriate governance in project and programme management and be able to define the responsibilities of key players.
  • Study Skills and Research Methodology
    • Effective learning and study skills
    • Assess the advantages and disadvantages of the main research methods
    • Acquire the skills for conducting and analysing academic research
    • Examine and apply a flexible and multiple methods’ approach to help deal with the broader needs of multi-disciplinary studies
    • Design, conduct and write-up research proposals
    • Acquire transferable new skills in presenting and communicating research to different audiences
    • Data collection and data analysis.
    Intended learning outcomes

    On successful completion of the module students should be able to:

    • Determine the correct tools and skills for effective study at the Masters level
    • Gain the technical expertise needed to complete the degree and to produce oral and written academic work
    • Conduct a book review
    • Prepare a research proposal for a Master’s level dissertation
    • Utilise primary and secondary research effectively
    • Demonstrate familiarity with the accepted system and conventions for referencing and presenting academic work
    • Demonstrate ability to use, interpret and present statistics
    • Organise material and communicate the methodology and conclusions effectively within academia and more widely.
  • Strategic Planning for Security and Development
    • The importance of strategic management in national security planning
    • Critical evaluation of strategic management philosophies and their evolution
    • Exploration of models of strategic management
    • Critical analysis of strategic management tools such as SWOT analysis, PEST, Porter 5 forces model, Value chains, Portfolio analysis, Stakeholder analysis
    • Understanding the strategy process including the following core elements: strategic analysis, strategy selection and strategy implementation
    • The application of conceptual knowledge to national security planning and implementation
    • Linkages between strategic management and change management in transitional societies
    • Drivers for and barriers to change, including issues such as strategic drift, process vs. content, causes of resistance (enablers and disablers).
    Intended learning outcomes

    On successful completion of the module students will be able to:

    • Demonstrate an understanding and knowledge of the drivers behind the evolution of strategy models
    • Understanding the utility of strategic management in the development and implementation of national security policy
    • Critically evaluate the utility of a range of analytical tools
    • Apply a strategic analysis framework to a given security sector situation
    • Identify and understand the key issues associated with change management
    • Apply knowledge and understanding of the application of change management principles in order to deliver strategy
    • Demonstrate an ability to conduct independent learning through use of the study pack and peer debate
    • Critically evaluate academic papers and produce coherent arguments in written form for a specialist and non-specialist audience
    • Develop effective oral communication skills through the delivery of case analysis and presentations.
  • The Economics of Security

    The global post-war economy is characterised by both rapidly escalating research, technology and acquisition expenditure and taut, if not declining, national development and security budgets. These twin pressures have forced policy-makers to focus on achieving the goal of ‘affordability’ through value-for-money initiatives. However, efficient management of scarce national resources at the ‘Departmental’ level is not undertaken in isolation from broader economic influences. Thus, in the contemporary study of development economics, it is essential to examine the contributions made by Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), the trade-offs between security and defence expenditure and economic growth, the economic dimensions of civil integration into the broader defence and security sector, particularly focused on the role of offsets in economic development.


    • The role of economics in security.
    • Managing scarce resources.
    • Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and development strategies.
    • The impact of the “rich nations, strong armies” phenomenon.
    • International economic dynamics of security.
    • Nature of the development 'Eco-system'.
    • Evaluation of the trade-off between security expenditure and economic growth.
    • Exploring the economic dimensions of civil integration in the security sector.
    • Dynamics of industrialisation in both the advanced and developing countries.
    • The notion of globalisation and the changing nature of security organisation and production structures, including technology-sharing.
    • Security-related counter-trade, embracing detailed evaluation of offsets.
    • Unique characteristics of International markets.
    Intended learning outcomes

    On successful completion of the module the student will be able to:

    • Understand and have the skills to evaluate the dynamic changes impacting on the global development environmental map.
    • Analyse the industrial consolidation, commercialisation and collaborative policies and trends shaping global defence and security industrial practices.
    • Critically examine the policies and effectiveness of technology-development - sharing and -transfer in the global context.


Examinations, assignments, presentations, and project dissertation.

Start date, duration and location

Start date: January

Duration: Part-time MSc - up to three years, Part-time PgCert - two years, Part-time PgDip - two years

(For MOD status students the duration may vary, subject to annual review.)

Teaching location: Shrivenham


The Security Sector Management programme is suitable for those who work in any security or development related organisation – as a policy maker or practitioner. The programme is also relevant to those who may wish to enhance their knowledge and skills based on a related 1st degree or those seeking to pursue careers in the field of security sector management.

You will be taught by faculty from Cranfield University, many of whom are world leaders in their field. These experts will share knowledge on a wide range of current global security-related challenges (such as governance, the environment, information security and institution-building), as well as ideas and frameworks to respond to these challenges. Modules are taught in the UK at Cranfield Defence and Security, Shrivenham, which is co-located with the Defence Academy of the United Kingdom, as well as at the University’s central campus at Cranfield in Bedfordshire, UK.

Your teaching team

External Teaching Staff

  • Professor Trevor Taylor
  • Dr David Chuter
  • Dr Greg Wilson

Entry Requirements

Normally a 1st or 2nd class Honours degree in an appropriate discipline, or equivalent, plus relevant postgraduate professional experience.

English Language

If you are an international student you will need to provide evidence that you have achieved a satisfactory test result in an English qualification. The minimum standard expected from a number of accepted courses are as follows:

IELTS - 6.5

TOEFL - 92 

Pearson PTE Academic - 65

Cambridge English Scale - 180

Cambridge English: Advanced - C

Cambridge English: Proficiency - C

In addition to these minimum scores you are also expected to achieve a balanced score across all elements of the test. We reserve the right to reject any test score if any one element of the test score is too low.

We can only accept tests taken within two years of your registration date (with the exception of Cambridge English tests which have no expiry date).

Students requiring a Tier 4 (General) visa must ensure they can meet the English language requirements set out by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) and we recommend booking a

IELTS for UKVI test.


Home EU Student Fees

MSc Part-time - £16,250 *

PgDip Part-time - £13,900 *

PgCert Part-time - £6,950 *

Overseas Fees

MSc Part-time - £16,250 *

PgDip Part-time - £13,900 *

PgCert Part-time - £6,950 *


Students will be offered the option of paying the full fee up front, or to pay in four equal instalments at six month intervals (i.e. the full fee to be paid over the first two years of their registration). 

Fee notes:

  • The fees outlined apply to all students whose initial date of registration falls on or between 1 August 2016 and 31 July 2017.
  • All students pay the tuition fee set by the University for the full duration of their registration period agreed at their initial registration.
  • A deposit may be payable, depending on your course.
  • Additional fees for extensions to the agreed registration period may be charged and can be found below.
  • Fee eligibility at the Home/EU rate is determined with reference to UK Government regulations. As a guiding principle, EU nationals (including UK) who are ordinarily resident in the EU pay Home/EU tuition fees, all other students (including those from the Channel Islands and Isle of Man) pay Overseas fees.


For more information on funding please contact

Application Process

Career opportunities

This course gives students the skills and knowledge to be able to contribute to security sector management as a practitioner or policy maker in government, the private sector, or the not-for-profit sector. The course is set at the national and regional strategic level.

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