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, Vesalius College lectures are currently taking place online. In case the currently implemented ‘social distancing protocol’ remains active in September 2020, Vesalius College will continue to organise its classes online for the start of the academic year 2020-2021 until in-person classes are allowed again. We recognise that teaching is one of Vesalius’s great strengths and that this decision will be inconvenient to many of you but we must recognise that COVID-19 presents a very serious threat to the health and well-being of all. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us.


The 90 ECTS MA in Global Peace, Security and Strategic Studies runs across one intensive academic year and is divided into three trimesters.

For students interested in following the degree as part-time students, the course load per trimester is between 15 and 18 ECTS. Thus, the total study time for a 90 ECTS degree part-time will take 24 months.

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 chosen from peace studies, security studies, or strategic studies track

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 (GPSSS) 6 ECTS
 • Mediation, Negotiation and Conflict Resolution in Theory and Practice 6 ECTS
 • Terrorism, Counterterrorism and (De-)Radicalisation 6 ECTS
 • Geopolitics 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.



Students advance in their MA thesis, participate in a capstone project, and follow two elective courses

Thesis, Capstone and two Free Electives 30 ECTS
 • MA Thesis II 12 ECTS
 • Capstone
(Students work on a real-life problem at the intersection of diplomacy and global governance by applying their knowledge to a concrete policy problem)
 • Two Free Elective (to choose one of the following options)
– Internship*
– Transatlantic Approaches to Global Peace, Security & Diplomacy
– An elective course from specialisation tracks (see Trimester 2)

*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 can 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
Course on Theory and Practice of Diplomacy and Global Governance 6 ECTS
Risk Analysis and Early Warning concentration of five weekend 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.