MA in Global Peace, Security and Strategic Studies: Structure and Courses*

*Vesalius College is closely monitoring the ongoing Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. As the situation continues to change rapidly, our top priority remains the health, safety, and well-being of our community. Please note that due to the current situation in Belgium, the Fall 2020 lectures in Vesalius College’s MA programmes will take place in a blended format, being a combination of on-campus and online teaching. Students who are unable to travel to Belgium in time for the start of the academic year, will be able to follow classes via livestream, of which a recording will be available on the student platform. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us. (last updated 9 September 2020)


The 90 ECTS MA in Global Peace, Security and Strategic Studies runs across one intensive academic year and is divided into three trimesters. Hence, it will take a full-time student a total study time of 12 months. Students taking the 120 ECTS option will have a to complete a fourth semester and will therefore have a total study time of 16 months. The additional time needed by part-time students to complete the study will depend on the number of courses a student will take each semester, but students interested in the part-time option should note that the minimum course load per trimester is between 12 credits (2 courses) and 18 credits (3 courses) and are strongly advised to discuss in advance their intended study plan with the Programme Director.

The MA catalogue is available here.

The course descriptions and syllabi of the courses listed below are available here.



Students follow five compulsory courses

Core Foundations Trimester (Compulsory Courses) 30 ECTS
 • The Theory and Practice of International Relations 6 ECTS
 • Theories and Applied Issues of Global Peace, Security and Strategic Studies 6 ECTS
 • The Role of International and Regional Organizations 6 ECTS
 • Research Methods 6 ECTS
 • MA Thesis and Capstone Preparatory Seminar 6 ECTS


Students follow four compulsory courses and one elective. 

Compulsory Courses 24 ECTS
• Global Perspectives on the History and Ideas of Peace 6 ECTS
 • History of Global Conflicts and Global Security 6 ECTS
 • History and Theory of Strategy 6 ECTS
 • MA Thesis I 6 ECTS


Elective Course Modules (choose one) 6 ECTS
 • Mediation, Negotiation and Conflict Resolution in Theory and Practice 6 ECTS
 • Terrorism, Counterterrorism and (De-)Radicalisation 6 ECTS
 • Geopolitics 6 ECTS
 • Public Diplomacy 6 ECTS
 • Global Economic Governance: Trade and Finance 6 ECTS

One free elective can be taken to either DEEPEN tracks. i.e., either students take the elective course within the track OR WIDEN, i.e. students take an elective from the MADAGG coursesyou can find the full list HERE.



In addition to advancing their MA Thesis and working on a Capstone project, students take one elective which could be an internship (note that students taking the 120 ECTS option – see below).

 • MA Thesis II 12 ECTS
 • Capstone case study
(Students work on a real-life problem at the intersection of diplomacy and global governance by applying their knowledge to a concrete policy problem)
Elective (choose one)  
 • Internship 6 ECTS
 • Cases and Issues in Global Peace, Security & Diplomacy 6 ECTS

*Note that students taking the 120 ECTS option – see below – cannot take an internship in the third trimester as they take an extensive internship in the additional trimester


Additional content for the 120 ECTS track

Students have the option of following a 120 ECTS track for the MA Programme in order to widen their knowledge, deepen their practical skills with an extensive internship and take a concentration in Global Risk Analysis.

Since some national career-tracks in diplomacy or government service may require a 120 ECTS MA, the programme offers the additional flexibility of enrolling for 30 additional ECTS credits with an additional trimester. This additional content consists of:

Intensive internship 9 ECTS
The Theory and Practice of Diplomacy and Global Governance 6 ECTS
Global Risk Analysis and Crisis Management concentration (5 modules) 15 ECTS


Module 1: Understanding Risks, Grasping Uncertainty 3 ECTS
Module 2: Analysing Risks, Preparing for Uncertainty 3 ECTS
Module 3: Open Source Intelligence: Tools and Techniques 3 ECTS
Module 4: A New Information Environment: Media, Conflict and Crisis Communication 3 ECTS
Module 5: Global Crisis Monitoring, Conflict Analysis & Early Warning 3 ECTS

The programme takes 17 months for the full-time version and 33 months for the part-time version.

All our courses are taught in English.