Security Studies

Course content

Today, security involves a wide range of policy areas and actors in society. Threats, such as international terrorism, climate change, financial crises and nuclear threats, have shaped and, in some cases, altered our view on what security is and how it should be managed. The armed forces, the police, the emergency management agency, private companies and citizens are all part of the management of today’s security threats. Thus, security and security knowledge are defined from a plethora of perspectives and this makes the recognising and reconciling of different perspectives a sought after competence. The aim of this course is to give the students theoretical tools which will help them analyse the contemporary complex security environment.

The course introduces students to state-of-the-art theories, concepts and methods within security studies. It gives students knowledge about core concepts and methods within security studies, including an introduction to the theoretical development of the academic field, as well as the subfields of security studies. It will especially focus on how recent developments have brought the fields of risk- and security studies closer together. This theoretical knowledge is to be specifically linked to the practices of relevant security actors – public as well as private.

In the context of the debates on security, the course reviews and discusses the challenges that intelligence services, armed forces, parliamentarians, international organizations and private companies face. This is done in cooperation with the course “Security Risk Management” that presents the students with a wide range of cases on the management of security risks. The aim is to create a setting for theoretically informed reflection on professional practices, which will equip the students with the best possible analytical tools for understanding future global and regional political issues.

Altogether, the course consists of two main components:

  1. Security studies: how should security be conceptualised, how should security be studied; and what is the relation between security- and risk studies?
  2. Exercise: based on a scenario that takes its starting context from a real-life situation, for example an armed intervention, a stock market crash or a terrorist attack, the students are tasked with a strategic analysis of foreign policy choices.


The course “Security Studies” constitutes 7,5 ECTS.


Security Risk Management
Only open for students from MSc in Security Risk Management

Learning outcome


Students will know the important theories, schools and methods within strategic studies and retain knowledge about the development of the field. They will have an understanding of the future development of individual theories and the field in general.



Students will be able to evaluate and discuss security theories, and use these theories to conduct empirical analysis. Students will be able to assess the scope and consequences of a wide range of threats and risks associated with the modern, globalised world and make theoretically informed analysis of complex security challenges.



By using knowledge about security theory and security political developments, students will be able to analyse, assess and formulate strategies that deal with complex security issues in highly risky and malleable environments.

The course is a combination of classroom lectures, guest lectures by practitioners and ongoing discussions with students. The course includes an exercise based on a real-life working situation where students are to develop specific criteria and conduct an assessment of Danish choices of policy in the form of a formal policy paper.

Course literature is a syllabus of 900 pages set by the lecturer and approved by the Board of Studies. If the syllabus includes literature that has been read previously during other courses, the student must list additional literature in a supplementary literature list so that, in total, 900 pages of new literature are specified. The student must sign a solemn declaration of compliance with the rule about supplementary literature. 

Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment
The exam is a written portfolio exam ending with a five-day written assignment based on 2 sets of questions from which the students can choose.
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
External censorship
Criteria for exam assessment

Criteria for achieving the goals:

  • Grade 12 is given for an outstanding performance: the student lives up to the course's goal description in an independent and convincing manner with no or few and minor shortcomings
  • Grade 7 is given for a good performance: the student is confidently able to live up to the goal description, albeit with several shortcomings
  • Grade 02 is given for an adequate performance: the minimum acceptable performance in which the student is only able to live up to the goal description in an insecure and incomplete manner
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 28
  • Preparation
  • 168
  • Exam
  • 79
  • English
  • 275