Maritime Security: Research at the Ocean Frontier

Course content

Maritime security is a thriving field of international activity. Issues such as piracy, extremist violence at sea, the smuggling of people and illicit goods via the sea, or environmental crimes such as illegal fishing have become major international political concerns, and in consequence are increasingly seen as priority issues on the international security agenda. While there is a growing level of activity to respond to maritime security challenges, the field of maritime security remains one of the least studied areas of international security and global governance.

In this seminar, we review the problems, institutions, actors, and responses of maritime security in the light of contemporary international relations theory. The course provides a concise introduction to security problems at sea, and how to situate and analyze them. It also discusses why we should pay more attention to the oceans as a field of international activity.

In the course you will practice how to analyze a maritime security issue and how to present your results to a wider public. The course draws on and is related to the work of the international research network SafeSeas (see, the research project Transnational Organized Crime at Sea (TOCAS) in partnership with the University of Bristol and the project Analyzing Maritime Insecurity in Ghana (AMARIS) in partnership with institutions in Ghana.


Security Risk Management

Political Science students: Limited intake

SRM students has priority

Learning outcome


You will gain an in-depth understanding of contemporary maritime security challenges, how different international actors respond to them, as well as gain knowledge about the core approaches for the analysis and interpretation of security practices.


You will learn and practice core analytical skills including summarizing, processing, interpreting and presenting information and dealing with a large number of data and texts as well as how to write integrative literature reviews and encyclopedic articles.


You will learn how to conduct small-scale research project on a contemporary security challenge in writing a literature review and a Wikipedia entry.


The course will be delivered in threeformats: 1) 16 hours of seminars on theories, concepts, actors and institutions of maritime security taught as a mixture of lectures and discussion, including a range of guest lectures; 2) two hours of practice sessions that focus on the skills required for the formative and summative assessments (how to write a literature review and how to create or update a Wikipedia page); and 3) a student research workshop, in which each course participant will present the results of their research a literature review and receive detailed feedback.

Bueger, Christian. 2015. What is Maritime Security?, Marine Policy 53: 159-164,


Urbina, Ian. 2015. The Outlaw Ocean, New York Times Series, available at

Bueger, Christian and Tim Edmunds. 2017. Beyond Seablindness: A New Agenda for Maritime Security Studies, International Affairs 93(6): 1293–1311,


Nye, Joseph S. 1975. “Ocean Rule Making from a World Politics Perspective.” Ocean Development & International Law 3(1): 29–52,


Havice, Elizabeth, and Anna Zalik. 2018. “Ocean Frontiers: Epistemologies, Jurisdictions, Commodifications.” International Social Science Journal 68(229–230): 219–35.


Voyer, Michelle et al. 2018. “Maritime Security and the Blue Economy: Intersections and Interdependencies in the Indian Ocean.” Journal of the Indian Ocean Region 14(1): 28–48.


Steinberg, Philip E. 2001. The Social Construction of the Ocean. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment
Free Written Assignement
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Criteria for exam assessment

Criteria for exam assesment

  • 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

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 28
  • English
  • 28


Course number
7,5 ECTS
Programme level
Full Degree Master

1 semester

Study Board for Security Risk Management
Contracting department
  • Department of Political Science
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Social Sciences
Course Coordinator
  • Christian Bueger   (16-6f747e757f80756d7a3a6e817173717e4c75727f3a77813a7077)
Saved on the 08-11-2021

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